How one woman saved 2,500 lives

How one woman saved 2,500 lives

Nearly everyone knows that Oscar Schindler saved 1,200 people during the Holocaust, thanks to Steven Spielberg. But there were others who saved Jews, including Irena Sendler.  Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker who defied Nazi rule to organize an underground network that successfully rescued 2,500 Jewish children from certain death in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII.

For decades, her heroism remained hidden behind the iron curtain, until one day in 1999 when three Protestant high school students from rural Kansas stumbled upon a brief mention of her in an old magazine clipping. Eager to know more, the determined young Kansans, after exhaustive research, wrote and performed a play portraying her work for National History Day. Their award-winning project brought Irena Sendler to international attention. It propelled them across the ocean to her doorstep where they found a transformative friendship with the sparkling nonagenarian who teaches them first-hand how a single individual “answering the need of her heart” can change the course of the world.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida highlighted the role of rescuers during the Holocaust with a special performance centered on the life of Irena Sendler yesterday.

Libby Skala. Photo by Doug Miner
Libby Skala. Photo by Doug Miner

The moving one-woman show was performed by Libby Skala who brought to dramatic life the true story of Irena Sendler.

This performance was part of Arts for ALL Day sponsored by United Arts of Central Florida. Arts for ALL Day was a new, must-see event for all Central Floridians, with a focus of introducing new communities to local arts and cultural organizations throughout Central Florida. The free event was created by United Arts of Central Florida and was held yesterday, at Loch Haven Cultural Park in Orlando. The family-friendly, taste-of-the-arts style event, took place in Loch Haven’s multiple theaters and indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces, throughout the Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Science Center and Orlando Shakespeare Theater venues.


 

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