I was taught by my father that when someone is drowning you don’t ask if they can swim, you just jump in and help.
Irena Stanisława Sendler (née Krzyżanowska), also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland, nom de guerre Jolanta (15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008), was a Polish humanitarian, social worker, and nurse who served in the Polish Underground Resistance during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw.
Sendler participated, with dozens of others, in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then providing them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families or in orphanages and other care facilities, including Catholic nun convents, saving those children from the Holocaust.
The German occupiers suspected Sendler’s involvement in the Polish Underground and in October 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo, but she managed to hide the list of the names and locations of the rescued Jewish children, preventing this information from falling into the hands of the Gestapo. Withstanding torture and imprisonment, Sendler never revealed anything about her work or the location of the saved children. She was sentenced to death but narrowly escaped on the day of her scheduled execution, after Żegota bribed German officials to obtain her release.