You may have seen this woman's picture circulating on Facebook lauding her bravery. The story that accompanies her photo claims that she was a German Plumber who worked in the Warsaw Ghetto, and smuggled Jewish Children out with her tools. This story is the result of some poor soul with poor reading comprehension skills. Please stop sharing it.

The real story of Irena Sendler (nee KrzyĹĽanowska ) is a bit different. Irena Sendler was a Polish Social Worker who as an employee of the social welfare department had a special pass to enter the ghetto and look for signs of typhus, which the Germans were worried would spread from the ghetto to the rest of the city.

She was also secretly the head of the children's section of the Polish Government in exile's Council to Aid Jews. She worked with others to smuggle Jewish children out of the ghetto during inspections by hiding them in ambulances and trams.

Her group of 30 volunteers managed to rescue about 2 500 children.

The reason I say that the person who made the Facebook post had poor reading comprehension skills, is that I figured out where the plumber story came from. Recently my school purchased a children's non fiction book about Irena Sendler. The first page tells the story of a plumber who smuggled a child out of the ghetto. The story is not about Irena Sendler, rather, it is about one of her volunteers. If had bothered to read the rest of the book, they would have found out what she actually did.


And really, does it make any sense that the Nazis would send a German woman in as a plumber to the Warsaw Ghetto? Generalplan Ost called for the Poles to become manual labourers for the Third Reich. Any plumbing that needed doing by someone from outside the ghetto would have been done by Poles.

Now I have no idea where they got the idea she was German. I can only conclude that they assumed she was, because of her last name, Sendler. In actual fact that is her married name from her second marriage, and her second husband was a Polish Jew.…