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Yet Irena Sendler sees herself as anything but a heroine. But in 1999 the silence was broken by some unlikely candidates: four Protestant high-school girls in rural Kansas.

The girls were looking for a subject for the Kansas State National History Day competition. News & World Report story, "The Other Schindlers." Mr. After all, no one had ever heard of this woman; Schindler, who was so famous, had rescued 1,000 Jews. Conard encouraged the girls to investigate and unearth the true story.

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(Decades later, under Communist rule, she was considered a subversive; her son and daughter were refused entry into Warsaw University.) In fall of 1939, Germany invaded Poland and began its campaign of mass destruction. Although Jews had never been accepted by the Polish masses, many of them had fought alongside their Polish countrymen during the few days before the country was overrun. They distributed meals and gave financial assistance and other services to the poor, elderly, and orphans.

From 1939–1942, she was involved in acquiring forged documents, registering many Jews under Christian names so they could receive these services; she listed them all as typhus and tuberculosis victims, to avoid any investigations. Irena joined the Zegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, organized by the Polish underground resistance, operating out of London with the help of many British Jews.

One day, Irena went to sit on the Jewish side of the room.

When the teacher told her to move, she answered, "I'm Jewish today." She was expelled immediately. Sendler was a senior administrator in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, which was in charge of soup kitchens, located in every district of the city.

She would be forced to leave empty-handed, returning the next day to find that the entire family had been sent to Treblinka.

Many in the Ghetto thought that Treblinka was a relocation settlement.

She takes the crying baby into her arms, turns her back on the hysterical mother, and walks off into the night. Irena did all she could to ensure that "her children" would have a future as part of their own people. Sendler listed the name and new identity of every rescued child on thin cigarette papers or tissue paper.

Others were saving Jewish children, too, but many of those children were saved only in body; tragically, they disappeared from the Jewish people.

In the 1930s, at Warsaw University, she stood up for her Jewish friends.

Jews were forced to sit separately from "Aryan" students.

She and her team of twenty-five organized to smuggle out as many children as possible from the Ghetto.

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