Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1910, Irena Sendler was an idealist that wanted to change the world.
After German troops marked into the city of Warsaw, they began to relocate the Jewish population to the ghetto, a year later closing it and trapping 400,000 people in squalor within its walls.
More than a quarter of the population died from starvation or disease even before the deportation to concentration camps began.
It's Time To Act
Irena was a nurse that came to be employed as a social worker in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department. Even as a devout Catholic, she refused to let prejudice prevent her from helping people who were in need.
That's when Irena began to use her pass to smuggle in medicine and food for the desperate people.
After she joined one of the underground movements, she began to smuggle out children from the ghetto. She ended up leading a network of 10 people, 9 of which women, and 1 of which died during her resistance activities.
They hid children in coffins and body bags, led them through cellars and sewers, sedated babies and carried them out of the ghetto in boxes.
Once they were free, Irena placed infants with childless couples, and older children with temporary foster homes, where they learned Catholic rites and disappeared into church orphanages and schools. More than 2,500 children were saved this way.
Michal Glowinski, a childhood friend of Irena, was also saved by her when she hid him in an isolated convent. "She was an organizational genius. Though the youngest, she imposed her will on her colleagues, making quick decisions which no one questioned," he says.
It's a horrible situation to be faced with, so what do you do?