Polish woman who saved hundreds of Jewish children is commemorated

A statue of Irena Sendler has been unveiled in Nottinghamshire


(FILES) A file photo taken 01 February 2007 in Warsaw shows 97-year-old Polish social worker Irena Sendler, who saved the lives of some 2,500 Jewish children in Warsaw during World War II by smuggling them out of the ghetto set up by the Nazis. Poland paid tribute 14 March 2007 in Warsaw to Sendler in her absence due to her frail health. Polish President Lech Kaczynski said during the ceremony held at the Senate that Sendler was a heroine worthy of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. AFP PHOTO / STACH ANTKOWIAK (Photo credit should read Stach Antkowiak/AFP via Getty Images)

A statue of a Polish woman who saved hundreds of Jewish children from near certain death has been unveiled in Nottinghamshire. 

Irena Sendler, who died in 2008, used her job as a social worker to obtain a permit to enter into the Warsaw Ghetto and help bring Jewish children to safety.  

She was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo in October 1943 but managed to conceal her list of the addresses of children in hiding and the money owed to those who helped. 

Ms Sendler was sentenced to death but made a lucky escape after she was released by bribed officials. She continued her work but went into hiding. 

She was recognised as a righteous among the nations in 1965 and received a number of honours, including Poland’s Order of the White Eagle. 

Polish ambassador Arkady Rzegock, who joined communities minister Robert Jenrick at the unveiling ceremony in Newark on Saturday, praised the “fitting tribute to a WW2 hero”.

The statue - mostly funded by the Institute of Polish Remembrance - was created over a six month period.

Artist Andrew Lilly said the work’s prominent location will help reach many people in the area. 

“Knowing that the story of this little lady who stood up to the cruelty of the Nazi war machine will be on show for everyone to see, especially younger audiences, is really rewarding.

“Her actions during World War II should be remembered for generations and it’s great I can do my part to share her story,” she said.

The local council leader David Lloyd said Ms Sendler’s sacrifice “will be remembered for generations to come” and noted Newark’s “deep rooted connection” to the Polish community.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said she “saved an amazing number of young lives while still being a young woman herself."

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