Mr. Baruch Tenembaum, Founder of The International Raoul Wallenberg (IRWF), wrote a letter to The Norwegian Nobel Institute and to the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland underlying his support, as well as that of IRWF of Ms. Irena Sendlerowa’s candidacy to the Nobel Peace Prize 2006.
”We believe that Irena Sendlerowa’s heroic deeds deserve to be recognized and sincerely hope that the Norwegian Nobel Institute shares our vision and bestows The Nobel Peace Prize to Irena Sendlerowa.” concluded Mr. Tenembaum’s letter.
5,000 people were dying a month from starvation and diseases in 1942 in Poland. Irena was so appalled by the conditions in which the Jews were living, that she joined the Council for Aid to Jews, Zegota, organized the Polish underground. Irena managed to get a pass to enter the ghetto legally and visited it daily with the aim of reestablishing contacts, bringing food, medicines and clothes. She wore a star armband as sign of her solidarity to Jews.
Irena started to smuggle children in an ambulance as victims of typhus, but also in gunnysacks, garbage cans, toolboxes, loads of goods, potato sacks, coffins… any element was transformed into a way of escape for Irena. With the collaboration of members of the Social Welfare Department, she issued hundreds of false documents with forged signatures, giving the Jewish children temporary identities.
In 1943, Irena was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo. Though she was the only one who knew the names and addresses of the families sheltering the Jewish children, she withstood the torture and she refused to betray any of her associates or the children in hiding.
At the end of the war, Irena dug up the jars where she had hidden the names of the 2,500 children she had given to adoptive families. She reunited them with their relatives scattered across Europe, but most of them had lost their families in Nazi concentration camps.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, with branches in New York, Buenos Aires, Berlin and Jerusalem, is a public non-profit non-governmental organization. Its mission is to develop educational programs and public awareness campaigns based on the values of solidarity and civic courage, ethical cornerstones of the Saviors of the Holocaust such as Irena Sendlerowa.