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Imagine Handing Over Your Child to a Stranger to Save His Life...

That's what Jewish parents had to do across Europe in World War II. I truly can't imagine it. It's too heartbreaking to contemplate. You know you're likely not going to make it out alive, so you hand your child over to someone working on the underground, praying that your child will at least have a future. And then, even if you survive, will you ever find that child again?

We are so blessed that we don't have to contemplate these things.

I've been thinking about them lately, though, for two reasons. We're studying the founding of the state of Israel in our homeschool, and I'm debating whether or not to have Rebecca read the Zion Chronicles series (or is it Covenant?). Anyway, it's the one where Israel becomes a state and Old Jerusalem is invaded. Brock and Bodie Thoene wrote the books, and they are excellent. But they are sad. And I don't know if they'd be too much for a 13-year-old. I read a lot of this stuff as a young teenager and I still get nightmares about it. I'm just not sure. What do you think?

The second reason I've been thinking about it is an obituary I read of a 98-year-old Polish heroine by the name of Irena Sendler. She died last week, and her story should be much better known. She rescued 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto, and was actually tortured herself after she was captured, though she survived. It's a great story. You really need to read it. Here's a bit:

She soon learned that one sanitation company was still allowed into the ghetto. Sendler got the Polish director of the service to employ her and 10 friends so they could continue helping Jews.

For the next two years, dressed as nurses, Sendler and her friends carried food, money, and medicine hidden in their dresses to ghetto residents. As conditions deteriorated, and the liquidation of ghetto began, Sendler came to the realization that the only chance for the children to survive was to escape.

In 1942, she joined the Polish underground movement, "Zegota," and, with the help of a dozen friends, initiated a large-scale clandestine campaign to save Jewish children. "You know the people, we have the money," the president of the organization told her, she recalled.

Acting on information provided by two Jewish policemen in the ghetto, Sendler and her friends went to Jewish homes in areas that were to be liquidated first and offered to save the children.

"We would go into the houses slated for deportation, and would tell the family members we can't help everybody, but we will help the children," she said.

When asked by the families what guarantee she could give that the children would survive, Sendler could only tell them that she was not even sure that she and the children would get out of the ghetto alive.

Sendler and her friends managed to save 2,500 children.

The children, who ranged in age from six months to 12 years, were taken from the ghetto in one of four ways: with bags of garbage; through the city court whose usually locked back doors were located on the ghetto's edge; hidden under the benches of the city tram, whose parking lot was just inside the ghetto walls; or through the cellars of houses that were adjacent to the ghetto.

To muffle the cries of the children from the Nazi guards as they were taken out with the garbage, the driver of Sendler's cart was always accompanied by a dog. When they approached the Nazis, the driver stepped on the dog to make it bark, drowning out the cries of the children.
Read the rest here. And say a prayer for those around the world who are still facing genocide even today.

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At 2:39 PM , Blogger Mrs. Querido said…

Incomprehensible. Amazing. Thank you for sharing her story. I loved the "Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. It really brought the atrocities of the Holocaust to life as well as God's miraculous provision and protection. But I think that would be a bit much for an early teen girl. I first read it in junior high.

Mrs. Q

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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