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History of Kansas. Information that every Kansas Senator Candidate and candidate for Congress Should Know
Five young women - Gabrielle Bradbury, Elizabeth Cambers, Sabrina Coons, Megan Stewart, and Janice Underwood of Uniontown High School, Uniontown, Kansas, made an incredible discovery in their History Day class during the 2000-2001 year. This discovery would change their lives and that of a very special woman.
They discovered a magazine clipping with the headline, "Irena Sendler saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942-43." Their teacher, Milken educator Norman Conard, wondered if there was some mistake. He was unfamiliar with this woman's story. Conard, whose classroom motto is "he who changes one person, changes the world entire," encouraged the girls to pursue the topic searching for primary and secondary sources.
The students learned that Irena Sendler had been a non-Jewish social worker and was head of the children's section in the Polish underground movement known as Zegot during World War II. As a social worker, Sendler had access to the Warsaw Ghetto. Sendler risked her life to save the lives of thousands of Jewish children by coaxing Jewish parents and grandparents to relinquish their children to her. She knew that the Jewish children would, most likely, die in the Ghetto or in the death camps. She established a plan to smuggle the children past Nazi guards by putting them in body bags, saying they were dead or had typhus. Once outside the Ghetto, she found Polish families to adopt them.
Between 1942 and 1943, Sendler was able to rescue 2,500 children. She saved a list of the children's real names, stored them in jars for safe keeping, and buried the jars under a tree in her garden. She knew one day she would be able to dig up the jars and identify the children.
On October 20, 1943, Sendler was captured by the Nazi's and beated severely. The Polish underground eventually was able to bribe a guard for her release, and she went into hiding.
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