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House Commemorates Irena Sendler

On July 30, the House approved, by voice vote, H. Con. Res 361, a resolution commemorating Irena Sendler for saving the lives of thousands during the Holocaust and remembering her legacy of courage, selflessness, and hope. The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the measure on July 16 (see The Source, 7/18/08).

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) stated, “Irena Sendler lived her life by the standards of humanity that she learned from her parents. She once stated, ‘I was taught that if you see a person drowning, you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not.’ Utilizing her contacts with orphanages, Sendler organized the rescue of Jewish children, smuggling some out in boxes and suitcases, leading others through secret passages and sewers… After she was arrested in October of 1943, Sendler refused to provide the list of names or the identity of her collaborators, even when she was tortured and sentenced to death…It is estimated that she rescued over 2,500 children…She passed away in May of 2008 at the age of 98. I introduced this resolution with the hope that her legacy will inspire people to fight for human rights. Her heroic story reminds us that the actions of one person can make a real difference in this world.”

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) stated, “The Holocaust was filled with unconscionable inhumanity and horrors and revealed the tremendous cruelty some human beings are capable of imposing on others. But there were exceptions. Within the darkness of the Holocaust, the story of Irena Sendler, who repeatedly risked her own life to rescue thousands of Jewish children in Poland from being murdered by the Nazis serves as an inspirational example of human bravery and selflessness and compassion.”

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