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Bring It Like a Broad: Irena Sendler Saves 2,500 Children During the Holocaust

It’s that time of the month again! The time where we celebrate women, and all we are capable of . Yep, it’s time for Bring It Like a Broad!

Remember, the purpose of this series is to highlight real women who are doing or have done the extraordinary. Our goal in celebrating these special people and their accomplishments is that each of us will be encouraged to believe in the possibility of our own goals and dreams. We also hope that seeing these women changing the world will blaze paths for all the little girls out there who will grow up someday and want to join their ranks.

 



The first two installments of this series were interviews with women I know personally, who have majorly inspired me. Today, we are going to honor a woman from the past who made an enormous impact on the lives of those around her.

 

THE BROAD

Most of us have heard of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved the lives of 1,200 Jewish people during the Holocaust. He has been the subject of books and movies, and is a person who is incredibly inspiring for his courage and bravery. But he is not the only person who risked his life to save others during the Holocaust.

Meet our February Broad, Irena Sendler.

 

Irena in 2005, photo courtesy of irenasendler.org

She was a Polish woman born on February 15, 1910 near the Warsaw ghetto. Today would be her 108th birthday, so it’s fitting she be recognized as our bad ass broad this month.

Irena’s father had a great influence on her throughout her whole life. He was one of the first Polish Socialists, and was a doctor, whose patients were mostly poor Jews.

During World War II, the Warsaw ghetto was the largest Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Europe. Irena was a Senior Administrator of the Warsaw Social Welfare Department. This organization provided food, money, and other services to the elderly, to orphans and to the poor and homeless. She was the equivalent of a social worker today.

 

Photo found by Teresa Prekerowa, courtesy of Wikipedia

 

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Irena began to use her position as a social worker to aid the Jews. In November of 1940, the Warsaw ghetto was sealed off. Almost 400,000 people had been driven into the extremely small area, only about 16 blocks. Conditions were horrible. Good hygiene was impossible, there was no food or medical supplies, and there was no space. Soon, disease became rampant, as well as death.

Because she was an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she was given a special permit which allowed her to enter areas of the ghetto where the Jewish people were. She was supposed to be checking for signs of diseases like typhus, because the Germans were paranoid about the diseases spreading beyond the ghetto.

She began sneaking clothing, money, and medicine in to the Jewish people. She would report the Jewish families she was helping as having highly infectious diseases, in order to prevent the Germans from coming to inspect.

Irena joined a secret group called Zegota (the Council to Aid Jews) in 1942. This group was organized by the Polish underground resistance, and Irena was one of it’s first recruits. She became an integral part of the organization, and a huge reason they were able to accomplish so much. They created over 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families. In 1943, she was nominated to head Zegota’s Jewish children’s section.

Irena and her coworkers began to smuggle infants and toddlers out of the Warsaw ghetto, saving them from being sent to concentration camps. They got very creative in the ways they would sneak the children out. Sometimes they would use ambulances, but more often they had to hide the children in suitcases and packages.

 

Children in Warsaw ghetto, photo courtesy of iwka.wordpress.com

 

Remember, it was no light slap on the wrist if you were caught helping the Jews in World War II. In fact, it was a huge risk, punishable by death. To make things worse, the Nazis wouldn’t just kill the person aiding the Jews, but also that person’s whole family, and sometimes even their close friends or acquaintances. She risked her life every single day, and she had to be very strategic in order to protect those close to her as well.

Once the children were hidden and smuggled out, they would be placed with either Polish Christian families, or into orphanages and convents. The children were protected further by being given false names. They were also taught to recite Christian prayers, just in case they were ever tested by Nazis.

Irena and her helpers were very careful to make sure the children didn’t lose their Jewish identities. They kept detailed documents listing the children’s real names, fake names, and locations. Of course, they couldn’t risk those documents being found, so they would hide them in jars and bury them. Irena was determined to get each child back to their family after the war was over, if at all possible.

Sadly, the Germans eventually caught on to what Irena was doing. In 1943 she was arrested and her home was ransacked. During this event, Irena was able to toss the lists of children to her friend, who hid them in her loose clothing. Her friend was never searched, thus keeping the children safe.

Irena was brutally tortured and beaten horribly. The Nazis fractured her feet and her legs, among other things. But Irena was courageous, and never betrayed any of the children or her coworkers. She was sentenced to death by firing squad.

 

Pawaik Prison, where the Nazis held Irena, photo courtesy of irenasendler.org

 

Fortunately, on the way to her execution, members of Zegota were able to bribe some of the greedy Germans into letting her go. She immediately went in to hiding.

You would think that would be enough for her, but it wasn’t. Irena had a determination and drive that isn’t seen a lot in this world. She returned to Warsaw with a fake identity, and began working with the Zegota organization again, continuing to help and hide Jews. She also worked as a nurse.

 

Photograph by Anna Mieszkowska, courtesy of Wikipedia

 

When the war ended, Irena and her coworkers turned the children’s records over to one of their colleagues who attempted to find the children and return them to their parents. Sadly, almost all of the parents had either gone missing, or had been killed in concentration camps. That goes to show that if it weren’t for Irena, most of those children would have been murdered, too.

It’s a travesty that Irena’s accomplishments went virtually unnoticed for decades. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000, when four students at Uniontown High School in Kansas won the Kansas State National History Day Competition, that Irena’s story became mainstream. They won by writing a play about Irena’s accomplishments, called Life in a Jar. It brought the spotlight to Irena and all she had done. The world finally took notice!

Irena lived a long and meaningful life after the war, still staying involved in activism. She passed away in May of 2008.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jews had been removed from this earth. The absolute horror of the atrocities that took place during that time are indescribable. Before the war, there were 9 million Jews in the 21 European countries that would eventually be overrun by the Germans. By the end of the war, two out of every three of those Jews had been killed. 1.2 million Jewish children were murdered. That doesn’t account for the thousands of children who were left disabled, missing body parts, and without families.

 

Irena with some of the children she saved, photo by Mariusz Kubik, courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Irena Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children. That’s more than twice the number of Jews saved by Oskar Schindler! She used her position to do what she believed no one else could. She risked her life, enduring torture and ridicule at the hands of the Nazis, and almost being killed, only to go right back out and do it again.

I can’t think of a more courageous woman than Irena. She reminds me that sometimes we have the ability to help a person, and we always should. It wasn’t her fight, but she fought it anyway. Those children mattered to her, and she knew she could make a difference, so she did. Imagine the 2,500 children she saved, and how many people’s lives that affects. Those 2,500 people now have children and grandchildren, all of whom wouldn’t even exist today if it weren’t for the courage of this woman.

 

A tree planted in Irena’s honor, photo courtesy of iwka.wordpress.com

 

“I did nothing special. Any decent person would do the same thing under the circumstances. When somebody is drowning, you reach in to save them whether you can swim or not. Race, religion, nationality don’t matter.”  -Irena Sendler

Isn’t her humility incredible? When we go through hardships in our life, stop for a second and look at the big picture. Not to say our problems aren’t relevant, but just remember, no matter our situation, we can change this world, just like Irena did. We may not save thousands of lives, but if we can affect just one person for the better, then our life means something more.

 

Is there a woman you know personally who inspires you and others in some way? Is there a woman from history that you look up to? There are no guidelines–if a woman is inspiring to you in ANY way, it counts!

Please email me if you have a lady you want to see featured in Bring It Like a Broad.

You can also email me with any questions or comments you may have: theog@thebonafidebroad.com.

 

Until next time,

***If you like this post, PLEASE share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, or wherever the hell you want!!!***

***We want to know your opinion on anything you read in this article, so please COMMENT. All opinions are important, whether they are positive or negative. We want to hear from you!***

***This is a new blog, so each time you share our posts with your friends or comment, it helps us to grow! Thank you Broads, because without you we are NOTHING!***

Information for this article was taken from:

wikipedia.org

irenesendler.org

iwka.wordpress.com

patch.com

 



 

I’m the founder of The Bonafide Broad, and a thirty-something broad originally from the Pacific Northwest. I now live in Flagstaff, Arizona, with my guy, Mr. OG. When I’m not busy rescuing kittens from tall trees, carrying babies from burning buildings, and trying to establish world peace, I work for the school district in Flagstaff, and I run this blog.

Tutorial: 3 Easy Ways to Upcycle Last Year’s Calendar

Hello my broads! Have you put up your new calendars yet? I received a fantastic calendar as a Christmas gift from a coworker this year called “Nuns Having Fun.” It’s all pictures of nuns bowling, bicycling, sailing, etc. I love it! You can buy it here.

 



I SO loved last year’s calendar, though. It was a beautifully illustrated work of art, called “The Lang 2017 Love to Cook Calendar,” with paintings of fat chefs creating amazing concoctions on nice thick paper. It broke my heart to take it down, and I just couldn’t throw it away.

So I started to think, how can I use this expired beauty? Broads, you’re in for treat!

Today I’m going to show you three fabulous ways you can upcycle last year’s calendar. I promise, you will be so excited, you’ll start collecting everyone else’s old calendars, too. You’ll also realize these three projects are just the beginning, and I bet while you are making these, your brain will be coming up with a ton of other ways you can use your old calendars!

Let’s get started on project numero uno!

 

 

Project 1: Pen/Pencil/Paintbrush Holders:

For this first simple project, you’ll need your calendar, four empty tin cans, a ruler, glue, a Sharpee, and scissors (not pictured).

 

 

The first thing you want to do is measure your can to see how wide you need to cut your paper. Make sure you measure only the flat part that the paper will be glued to, and not the lip of the can. Mine were about 4 inches.

 

 

Next, you need to find four pictures or areas of a picture that you like. Measure the four inch width and mark it across your paper with the Sharpee.

 

 

Then use the ruler to connect the marks and make a straight line. Take your scissors and cut along the line. That should give you a nice four inch wide strip of paper. Repeat the process with your other three papers.

 

 

You’ll end up with four strips of four inch wide paper, like so:

 

 

Now grab a can. squeeze a line of glue vertically down the can.

 

 

Take a strip of your paper. Starting at the glue line, wrap the paper around your can. You’ll want to make a new glue line about every 1 1/2 to 2 inches to make sure your paper is nice and sealed to the can. When you get to the end, cut off the excess paper.

 

 

Then you can draw a line of glue at the very end to seal the edge of the paper flat, like this:

 

 

Make sure you press it firmly and hold it for a few seconds so it stays flat and doesn’t raise on the edges. Repeat the gluing process with your other three cans and papers. Before you know it, viola! You have gorgeous holders for your art utensils!

 

 

I took my project a step further and you may be able to as well, depending on what you have laying around your home. I had a drink caddy with four glasses and a jug that I never use. I took the glasses and jug out, and put my cans in, which created an awesome little art utensil caddy. So cute!

 

 

That’s project one, and it was easy as pie!

 

 

Project 2: Bookmarks

For this project you’ll need your calendar, a paper cutter, glue, a Sharpee (not pictured), a hole punch, some ribbon, a ruler, and a piece of sturdy cardboard.

 

 

The first thing you want to do is measure and mark the width of your bookmark on the cardboard. I’m doing 1 1/2 inches.

 

 

Connect your dots and use the ruler to draw a straight line for cutting.

 

 

Use the paper cutter to ensure very straight lines, like so:

 

 

Next, you’ll want to cut your calendar paper about two and a half times as wide as your cardboard piece, and about and inch longer. So for instance, my book mark is 1 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches long. So I’m going to cut my calendar paper 3 3/4 (1 1/2 X 2.5) inches wide and 6 (5 1) inches long.

 

 

Put your cardboard piece on top of your freshly cut calendar paper. Now get your glue and line both short ends of your cardboard with glue.

 

 

Next, fold the ends of the calendar paper over the cardboard, and press them hard to get the glue to seal them.

 

 

You’ll now line one of the long sides of the cardboard with glue, and fold the paper over, pressing hard again to get a nice firm seal.

 

 

Put a line of glue across the middle of your bookmark, like so:

 

 

Then simply fold the last end over so your cardboard is completely wrapped in the calendar paper. You’ll also want to put an extra line of glue on the short ends, and press nice and hard so they seal better, like this:

 

 

At this point, put your bookmark(s) under a book or something else flat and heavy. This will allow for flat drying. It’ll take about 30 to 60 minutes to get dry enough. I did two bookmarks. You can do however many you want.

 

 

After drying, punch a hole in one end, centered.

 

 

Take your ribbon and cut it to the length you want. I did about 8 inches, giving myself a little extra to work with.

 

 

Thread your ribbon through the hole punch and tie it securely. Trim if necessary.

 

 

There you have it! Lovely bookmarks!

 

 

These were super simple, and since I’m always in need of bookmarks for my cookbooks, they were put to use right away!

 

 

 

Project 3: Mini Pocket Notebook

Our last project is a simply adorable mini pocket notebook. You will need your old calendar, a paper cutter, a Sharpee (not pictured), glue, a hole punch, a ruler, computer paper, and twine.

 

 

First things first, you want to measure how wide your paper will be. Think of how wide you want your notebook and then double it, because you will be folding your paper in half.

I actually cut out a few pieces and folded them to give myself a good idea of exact widths and lengths. I settled on 5 inches, so I will have 2 1/2 inch wide paper in my mini notebook.

 

 

Use the paper cutter to cut your paper to the length you measured. See how I put my paper at the 5 inch mark?

 

 

Your calendar paper will be the outside cover of the notebook. I wanted mine 1/4 inch bigger on all sides than my white paper. So that would be 8 3/4 inches long (because my paper was the standard 8 1/2 by 11), and 5 1/4 inches wide. Follow the same process of measuring, drawing your lines, and using the paper cutter to get everything nice and straight.

 

Now, fold your white papers in half, and use your hole punch to make two holes. They will be on the folded side, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the edges. Since I didn’t get a good photo, I drew up a quick diagram to show you what I mean. The two circles are approximately where you want your holes punched.

Make sure you punch the holes while the papers are folded in half, so when you unfold them you will have four holes all together.  You will need to punch two holes into your cover paper (old calendar) as well, in the exact same spot as the white paper, so they will line up perfectly.

 

 

Next, measure out two pieces of twine.  I did mine at 12 inches, because I wasn’t sure how much I would need. If you plan on just tying a secure double knot, you probably only need each string to be about 4 inches long. But if you want to try a cute bow, 12 inches is a good amount to work with. You can always trim them down later.

 

 

Now put your white paper and your cover paper together, lining up the holes. Thread the twine through the holes and tie, making sure it’s very secure. I settled on a double knot because I’m terrible at tying secure bows.

 

 

It should look something like this:

 

 

You can stop at this point if you want, and have a wonderful mini notebook. However, I like to do one last step because I think it makes my mini notebook a bit more professional and polished. What I do is glue the very first white page and the very last white page to the cover page, like this:

 

 

Now you have a gorgeous mini notebook!

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

It only took me about an hour to complete all three of these projects, and I just LOVE how they turned out!

 

 

Now I have little pieces of 2017’s fabulous calendar around my house!

I really enjoy upcycling in this manner, because I not only save myself some money, but I also feel like I’m contributing to saving the earth. What’s not to love about that?

What have YOU done with your old calendars? Please comment and give me some more ideas for what to do with the rest of my calendar!

 

Toodles Broads!

 

***If you like this post, PLEASE share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, or wherever the hell you want!!!***

***We want to know your opinion on anything you read in this article, so please COMMENT. All opinions are important, whether they are positive or negative. We want to hear from you!***

***This is a new blog, so each time you share our posts with your friends or comment, it helps us to grow! Thank you Broads, because without you we are NOTHING!***

 



I’m the founder of The Bonafide Broad, and a thirty-something broad originally from the Pacific Northwest. I now live in Flagstaff, Arizona, with my guy, Mr. OG. When I’m not busy rescuing kittens from tall trees, carrying babies from burning buildings, and trying to establish world peace, I work for the school district in Flagstaff, and I run this blog.