Updated: 05/06/2014 1:41 PM KSTP.com By: Phil Malat
KSTP.com columnist Phil Malat
In 2007 Irena Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was 97. The award was given to former Vice President Al Gore for his slideshow on Global Warming. The affect of Sendler’s nomination was to alert the world of her presence and impact, some 65 years after she demonstrated unheralded compassion and courage.
During WWII she smuggled 2500 Jewish kids/infants out of the Warsaw ghetto in Poland. She devised a very creative and elaborate plan using a typhoid scare and the sewer system as a means to secure their freedom and survival.
The Nazis caught her. She was tortured and severely beaten. The beatings left her with broken arms and legs and left her crippled for life. She never revealed even one piece of information to her vicious captors. She was sentenced to death, but escaped when a guard was bribed. She spent the remaining years of the war in hiding as the Gestapo relentlessly hunted for her.
Irena kept the names of all the kids she guided to safety hidden in a glass jar. After the war, she tried to reunite the families even though most of the parents had been systematically slaughtered.
Irena Sendler died on May 12, 2008 at the age of 98.
Forgiveness on this front remains, in all likelihood, the sole province of the Almighty. While we may not possess the divine nature necessary to forgive these monsters we nevertheless have the responsibility to never forget. We must never forget the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated or the atrocities of Pol Pot, Chairman Mao Tse-tung and the other butchers that followed Hitler - And it is high time we start remembering and memorializing Irena Sendler as those in the Middle East make plans for exacting their own perverted brand of genocide.
This may be the perfect time for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to posthumously remember those they have forgotten. By definition Alfred Nobel intended the peace prize be awarded to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of of peace congresses." Memorializing the love, compassion and bravery of an Irena Sendler, Mahatma Gandhi, or Pope John Paul II would lay a foundation of hope which may yet save even more lives while perhaps assuring that they will never be forgotten again.
Phil Malat is a columnist for KSTP.com.