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Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500… (2016)

by Tilar J. Mazzeo

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3351658,380 (4.32)6
The "extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler--the "female Oskar Schindler"--who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II"--Dust jacket.
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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Irena's story is amazing and worth reading. I was amazed to learn about: the many acts of resistance during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw and the many brave Christians and Jews involved; the continued persecution of resisters during the subsequent Soviet occupation that prevented Irena's story from being shared sooner; the response of Jews when they learned their children had been "saved" by baptism.

I stumbled over the many Polish names that I didn't know how to pronounce and felt at times like I was reading one of Irena's lists. I'm sure there were many stories begging to be told and culling them must have been difficult, but more cutting would have improved the readability. ( )
  Linda_Louise | Jan 20, 2021 |
donated by Noel
  mercydallas | Sep 10, 2019 |
This was a harrowing true story of a young woman, who worked as a social worker, despite all heinous things she witnessed during the Nazi invasion of Poland managed to save 2,500 children from the Holocaust. This story wasn't only about Irena Sendler alone, it was also about the people who were by her side and helped her hide the children.

It absolutely amazes me how people endured such a horrible time in their lives. It goes to show the strength of the human spirit and what it truly means not to give up. ( )
  deesbooknook78 | Jun 18, 2019 |
Outstanding biography if Irena Sendler by a very good biographer who writes with clarity and suspense. This biography transcends history and even personality, to highlight morality and ethics.The author seamless intertwines these three themes perfectly.

Since the author interviewed Irena, she had the option of writing in the first person instead of the third person. That brings the book to life without downgrading it to a historical fiction.
There are abundant memorable statements by Irena throughout the book, many are standouts for quoting. Many were also life-changing for Irena.

Although most of the main story ends in 1945, parts of it extend to 2016. Several events occurred during those later decades so it is worth reading past 1945 because those events reflect on the morality and leadership of those earlier years. ( )
  billsearth | Jun 6, 2019 |
Tilar Mazzeo went to Poland and stumbled upon this story when she saw all the lights in the forest. She researched and what she found compelled her to write Irena's story. I read a children's version of Irena Sendler's story [b:Jars of Hope|25423991|Jars of Hope|Jennifer Roy|http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1429952254s/25423991.jpg|45182831] a little while ago. I had not heard of Irena or her heroic efforts to save the children before that. I was very impressed with this woman and when I saw this book I wanted to read it to find out more about this incredible woman. I actually had to put this book down a couple of times and read something lighter because the atrocities that happened in Poland, particularly Warsaw were horrific. When this young woman decides that she needs to do what she can to save the children from death, she set to the task without being deterred by the dangers to herself. The book can be dry in parts, but it is a mesmerizing story. The resistance in Poland had such strength of character and the moral right on their side.

Mazzeo does an amazing job of setting the scene for the reader, I could picture what was going on almost as it I was there, although I am glad I was not. She brings the characters to life in a way that makes the reader feel as if you really know them. You can feel what they feel from despair, pain, discouragement, fear and in some cases relief and excitement. Irena's cell of "saviors" were so important to her story. She constantly said she was not a hero, there were so many others that risked so much more than she did and many of them were mentioned in the book. I felt sick in my heart to know that anyone had to endure what these people lived through. The number of Polish people (both Jewish and non-Jewish) that perished during this time was unbelievable. The strength shown by so few to save as many as they could is empowering knowing that good will go up against evil to save even one. This is a must read for those who are interested in WWII, not for the fighting and war, but for the positive spirit shown by so many that had been counted down and out. As they were referred to in the book by the Germans, "Untermensch" or subhuman showed that they were the most human of all. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
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For Robert Miles: Ripeness is all.
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Preface: When I first visited Poland, sometimes around 2009, I thought it would be a vacation.
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The "extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler--the "female Oskar Schindler"--who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II"--Dust jacket.

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In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While there, she began smuggling Jewish children out of the walled district, convincing her friends and neighbors to hide them. Driven to extreme measures and with the help of a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and her star-crossed lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena's network ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis. She made dangerous trips through the city's sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them out under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through passages in abandoned buildings-all the while keeping a secret list of the children's names and true identities at immense personal risk. In Irena's Children, told through masterful prose and dozens of stunning historical black-and-white photos, Mazzeo shares the incredible story of this courageous woman who risked her life to save innocent children from the Holocaust-a truly heroic tale of survival, resilience, and redemption. ARC
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