Happy Mother’s Day to Irena Sendler, a Catholic Pole, who smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto, from 1939-1943. She was assisted by about two dozen other members of Zegota, the Polish underground, but she alone knew the identities and locations of each child. When arrested and tortured by the Germans, she never revealed a single name. She barely escaped execution by firing squad, when members of Zegota bribed a German guard at the last minute. She passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98. Continue reading
Poles around the world celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the Polish Constitution on May 3, 2016. The Polish constitution became the first constitution in Europe, and only the second in the world, after the young United States ratified a constitution less than four years earlier. In many ways, the Polish constitution was patterned after, and inspired by, the U.S. Constitution. It’s the joint spirit of freedom that my friend Henry Zguda always told me “See, we Poles always come back.”
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began April 19, 1943. This noble ‘last stand’ by desperate Jews against the Germans became the first urban uprising in German-occupied Europe. Symbolically it stands as the most important Jewish uprising. It lasted less than a month and nearly all who participated lost their lives, but it inspired other uprisings at Sobibor and Treblinka and changed the story of millions walking in resignation to their death without a fight.