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November 5, 2009 / theoldsilly

Some Things Just Ain’t Right!

Irena SendlerThere recently was a death, one that went relatively unnoticed by the world, and shamefully so, of a 98 year-old lady named Irena Sandler. During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ‘ulterior motive’ … she knew, being a German, what the Nazi’s plans were for the Jews. Irena smuggled tiny infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she snuck larger kids out in a burlap sack she kept in the back of her truck. She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2,500 children!

She was caught.

The Nazi’s beat here severely, breaking both her legs and arms. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived the Holocaust and reunite the children with their families. Most had been murdered … gassed, beaten, worked and/or starved to death. Kids from those many families she helped to get placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected.

Irena's Arm

Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.


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  1. Enid Wilson / Nov 5 2009 6:08 am

    I haven’t trusted the Nobel Prize committee for many years. She’s an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing her story with us. I wish someone makes a movie about her.

    Bargain with the Devil

  2. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Nov 5 2009 6:38 am

    It’s amazing that she was able to rescue as many children as she did. Smart lady to train her dog the way she did (and smart dog.) That was forward thinking.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Ron Berry / Nov 5 2009 7:54 am

    I read this someplace. I think Joyce sent it to me. Al Gore needs to win the nobel just for chutzpah. But this lady needed to win for nerves of steel, doing what’s right and being in the right place at the right time. They should cut a smaller version of the medal and in place of money, make it dogfood for the dog also.

    How many Germans are on the Nobel committee???

    • theoldsilly / Nov 5 2009 8:11 am

      Interesting question, Ron – would be good to find that out.

  4. John Standish / Nov 5 2009 8:06 am

    Wow – what an incredible lady! Sad the way politics and popularity play so large in the NP orize these days.

  5. Rayna / Nov 5 2009 8:12 am

    What an incredible woman. Naturally, I have never heard of her (who really hears about genuine heros from another age and another continent?).
    I can’t believe someone like her was nominated for the Peace Prize and never won. But then she is in good company, Mahatma Gandhi never won it either.

    • theoldsilly / Nov 5 2009 8:47 am

      Sigh, Mahatma never won either? Sad – that is just wrong. 😦

  6. Crystal Clear Proofing / Nov 5 2009 8:34 am

    What a truly amazing, courageous woman. My first thought was that at least there is no doubt whatsoever that she is now in heaven, and that (at least THERE) she is being rewarded for the risks she took and the danger she placed herself in. This woman definitely had the LIGHT within her. How many people would go to such lengths to do what she did?

    • theoldsilly / Nov 5 2009 8:48 am

      Surely heaven rewards with much more fairness than humanity, I agree, Crystal.

  7. Cactus Annie / Nov 5 2009 8:44 am

    Amazing, that courageous woman! I’m with Crystal on this one. Mankind may be foolish enough to overlook such valor, but her rewards are many now in the afterlife. Great post, Marv.

  8. Tracy Haller / Nov 5 2009 9:15 am

    Thats unbelievable – just shows what is important in this world to many people-Irena is a role model for many people!!

  9. L. Diane Wolfe / Nov 5 2009 9:20 am

    That is so wrong!!! Al Gore did nothing. Except negate the validity of the prize in the first place.

  10. Linda Kay Jackson Parker / Nov 5 2009 9:22 am

    Wow! She did so much good for so many. I think I would have liked to know her. Her smile just warms you from the inside out! What a woman! This world’s values are so misplaced.

  11. Stanley Berber / Nov 5 2009 9:51 am

    Amazing woman – what a hero! Too bad the Nobel Peace prize committee these days is giving out awards to politicians who’ve accomplished basicaly nothing but big talk rhetoric (Obama come to mind) rather than real life heroes.

  12. quirkyloon / Nov 5 2009 10:12 am

    The power of one! One person who had the courage and moral ethic to do what was right for humanity!

    I love this example and applaud her for it!

  13. Karen Walker / Nov 5 2009 10:39 am

    The courage and inner strength it took to stand up to the Nazi regime blows my mind every time. I have seen many of the movies about people like this, and read extensively on the subject. I visited Aushwitz, one of the camps the Nazis used to extermine Jews. Standing in front of the glass cases which held eyeglasses, shoes, suitcases; standing on the spot where prisoners were executed; looking at the ovens, I still found it hard to believe such evil existed. And sadly, still does. Thanks for letting us know about this remarkable woman.

    • theoldsilly / Nov 5 2009 10:46 am

      Wow Karen – what a powerfully gripping and emotional experience you must have had visiting Aushwitz! Truly it does boggle the mind what evil mankind is capable of, eh?

  14. Helen Ginger / Nov 5 2009 11:33 am

    Well, the reason she didn’t win was not Al Gore. They give out more than one peace prize. She should definitely have won – long before her death. What courage and compassion she demonstrated.

    Straight From Hel

  15. kerrycharacters / Nov 5 2009 12:06 pm

    What a courageous woman. Is she still alive? Maybe we could all send her messages of appreciation if she is. We also mustn’t forget what is happening right now under our noses. As a human rights lawyer I have seen way too much of human cruelty but have been privileged to meet brave and selfless individuals.

  16. Carolyn Howard-Johnson / Nov 5 2009 12:34 pm

    That’s the trouble with awards. Often only one can win. I’ve often been saddened by the Nobel for Literature, too. That’s why I started my Noble (Not Nobel!) award for literature. There’s no fee required and it is for books that have a strong voice or explore the nature of humanity. I do not consider the press a book is published on or the design of its cover. And there is room for more than one winner. Marv, you’d be surprised at how few authors enter or nominate.

    Find information on it in the archives at I announce winners each January in my Back to Literature column.

    And yes, some of those who have been honored are stories similar to that of this women. But there are soooo many stories out there.

    Love for all you do, Marv.
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    • theoldsilly / Nov 5 2009 11:54 pm

      Thanks for sharing the info about the Noble Prize, Hojo – I’d like to help promote that!

  17. Elspeth Antonelli / Nov 5 2009 1:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing the story of this wonderful woman who didn’t hide her face and did what she could. Inspirational.


  18. Redhawk / Nov 5 2009 1:59 pm

    Stories like this make you start to wonder about the selection committee and the standards that are required for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nevertheless, her prize awaits her not on Earth but up above!!!!

  19. MadMadMargo / Nov 5 2009 3:15 pm

    After reading this wonderful story, I now know that my suspicions regarding the Nobel Peace committee are correct – I’ll never trust their decisions again! Thanks, Marvin, for bringing Irena story to us – she was a very courageous woman.

  20. Stephen Tremp / Nov 5 2009 3:53 pm

    I’ve heard this sotry before. What an awesome story that would make a pretty suspenseful movie. Makes me want to vomit to hear knuckleheads like Gore and Obama win these types of awards without accomplishing anything while countless unsung heroes get squat.

    Stephen Tremp

  21. yvonne lewis / Nov 5 2009 6:35 pm

    What a pity she didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize…… near to her passing, After all she went through tooo.
    Thanks for enlightening us with this item.


  22. Patricia Stoltey / Nov 5 2009 7:40 pm

    This is heartbreaking. So much like this year — I read somewhere that a woman who stood up to the Taliban to keep schools open for women and children in Afghanistan had been nominated but was passed over.

    • theoldsilly / Nov 5 2009 11:59 pm

      Sigh, yeah – like you and so many others commenting here today, I wish real valior and courage and standing up against all odds to promote good will and peace were higher on the list of what earns the Nobel Peace Prize these daya.

  23. Cinda Kinney Simmons / Nov 6 2009 12:11 am

    What a beautiful lady and heroic model for us. She and countless numbers, many who gave their lives in the actual action of saving others.

    Unfortunately, the Nobel Peace Prize has been so devalued in recent years that I wouldn’t count that as a loss. She’s receiving her Heavenly reward!!!

  24. Jeannine Gardella / Nov 6 2009 12:12 am

    Thanks for sharing this awesome story. Thank God for the heavenly reward we know she will receive. There are undoubtedly countless others we will never know about, but God knows. Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear from some of those children this lady rescued. They may not even know themselves who they are.

  25. ettarose / Nov 7 2009 5:51 am

    The real sad thing about this is…. I am not surprised. Our species has gone to hell in a hand basket in the last 25 years if not more. I mean really, look who just won, Baraukula!

  26. ettarose / Nov 7 2009 5:51 am

    Barakula is who I meant to spell. Hardy har har.

  27. E. Marie / Nov 8 2009 5:42 pm

    The good thing is what she did. We can’t lose sight of that, would you have written this post in her honor if she had won the Nobel Peace Prize? I thank you for posting her story for whatever reason.

    • theoldsilly / Nov 9 2009 8:12 am

      Kissie, I most certainly WOULD have posted about Irene had she won, along with lauditory comments about the merits of the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee’s decision.

      • E. Marie / Nov 10 2009 9:47 pm

        That’s good to know.

        I’m glad you posted it for whatever the reason, it’s noteworthy.

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