In the Name of Their Mothers: The Story of Irena Sendler
In the Name of Their Mothers tells the story of Irena Sendler and a group of young Polish women — some barely out of their teens – who outfoxed the Nazis for five years during WWII.
They smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto and kept them safe until the end of the war.
For decades Irena Sendler, kept silent about her wartime work. Now, in the last long interviews she gave before she died, she reveals the truth about a daring conspiracy of women in occupied Poland.
Irena Sendler was a 29-year-old social worker when the Nazis invaded Poland.
When the city’s Jews were imprisoned inside the Warsaw ghetto without food and medicine, Sendler and her friends smuggled in aid and began smuggling orphaned children out – hiding them in convents, orphanages and private homes. By 1943, they had managed to smuggle over 2,500 Jewish children to safety outside the ghetto.
Over the next two years, they would care for them, disguise their identities and move them constantly, to keep them from being discovered and killed by the Nazis.
They joined forces with the Polish and Jewish Underground to get money to fund and protect the children’s caretakers and they preserved the true identities of the children in the hopes that they would one day be re-united with their Jewish families.
In October of 1943, Irena Sendler was captured by the Gestapo, imprisoned and tortured for almost three months. When she refused to divulge anything about her co-workers or her organization, she was sentenced to death.
She escaped on the day she was to be executed, when the Polish Underground bribed a German guard. With a new false identity, she continued with her work until the end of the war.
All of the 2,500 children who had been rescued by Sendler’s network survived the war, and many were re-united with their families.
After the war, Soviet authorities who took over in Poland silenced Irena Sendler and her liaisons, because of their connection to the Polish Resistance.
Many of the women endured Soviet prisons or were forced into exile. Today their stories – long kept quiet by the Communist regime in Poland – can finally be told.