The Irena Sendler Family & Cast

Learn more about the people involved...

Rene Lichtman: Child Survivor

In Detroit with Rene

Jessi and Megan with Rene Lichtman and family at the Temple Israel in Detroit.

Rene is a great friend of the project and Co-Chair of the Hidden Children and Child Survivors of Michigan. He is also President of the Holocaust Education Coalition, founded in 1992. He was a founding member and continues to be a VP of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust. The WFJCSH is comprised of 44 chapters in 14 countries.

He spent the war outside of Paris, starting at age 2, protected by a Catholic family. His work with the project and support of the ideals of Irena Sendler makes him a hero to our Sendler family. He directed the venues for the ‘Life in a Jar’ summer presentations in Michigan.

Janka Zgrzembska: Irena Sendler’s Daughter

Irena & Janka

Irena & Janka

Janka is the only living child of Irena Sendler. She lives in Warsaw and has been a joy to work with in the ‘Life in a Jar’ project. She shares great pride in her mother’s story and has had some very nice visits with those in the project.

She has visited Israel and has seen her mother’s tree, planted in Irena’s honor by Yad Vashem. Janka helped host the Life in a Jar cast during the 2005 trip to Poland. She also provided the group with a wonderful afternoon in Warsaw.

Jacek Leociak: Friend in Poland

Jacek Leociak, with group in Warsaw-summer of 2005.

Jacek Leociak with group in Warsaw

Jacek is a friend of Life in a Jar in Poland and an outstanding author about the Warsaw Ghetto.

He also has taken the Life in a Jar group on tours of the old ghetto area, tours which in the words of the students, “made Irena’s story come alive and become very personal.” Jacek’s book, Warsaw Ghetto, is coming out in English soon.


Agnieszka Zgrzembska: Granddaughter of Irena Sendler

Irena's daughter-in-law, Iwona, and her granddaughter- Agnes.

Irena’s daughter-in-law, Iwona, and her granddaughter- Agnes.

Agnieszka is the lovely granddaughter of Irena Sendler and was present at several events during the last Life in a Jar trip to Poland. She was so special to her grandmother and is always a part of the ‘Irena Sendler Award to Teachers’ ceremony. She is the same age as the girls who founded Life in a Jar.


Michael Traison: Friend in Warsaw

Michael Traison

Michael Traison

Michael is a good friend of Life in a Jar and Irena in Warsaw.

He is an attorney who works out of Poland, Israel and the U.S. We first met him when he hosted students in Detroit, since then he has communicated with us many times, and recently took us on a tour of the Ghetto areas and memorials in Warsaw.

Mr. Traison contributes regularly to the ‘news of the week.’ He also visited Irena on a regular basis.

Maegan Whitehead Easter: Student Member

Irena and Maegan

Irena and Maegan

Maegan graduated from the University of Kansas with a Pharm D. and played Mrs. Rosner in the performance.

“I was very touched when Megan (Stewart) Felt first told me about the project and the history of how she got involved, and the steps that have led them to where they are today. It really made me want to learn so much more and find out all I could about the Life in a Jar and Irena’s work. I’m so excited to be involved now, and feel like God has led me to be a part of this awesome group of people who just want to tell anyone and everyone about Irena.”

Maegan is 32 years old, a pharmacist, has won national awards in chemistry and Spanish, was named to the Kansas All-Academic team, and graduated from Northeast High School in Arma, Kansas. She had an exciting summer in 2005, visiting Irena and performing in Poland, and getting married to Kale Easter on July 16th. Wedding photos can be seen in the photo gallery.

Melissa Query Miller: Student Member

Melissa Query and Renata Zajdman

Melissa Query and Renata Zajdman

My name is Melissa Query and I graduated from Uniontown School. I joined the Irena Sendler Project in the 8th grade. While I was working on a History Project I learned about the Irena Sendler Project. I was moved the first time I saw the film and the performance. One person saving that many children from death had to be a special woman. She had to be a very loving and caring person, which is what I think everyone should be like. We can all learn something from this project. I also have learned that I have Polish ancestry in my background and would like to explore that.

** Melissa is now a university student and has taken a break from performing in ‘Life in a Jar.’

Stephanie Bishop: Drama Coach

Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop is a Milken National Educator from Virginia. This award winning drama teacher and award winning educator has been assisting the Life in a Jar cast with presentations. Stephanie has really added to the performance and the telling of Irena’s story. We owe a big thank you to the Milken Family Foundation for her involvement.

Joseph Fischer: Former Cast Member

Joseph Fischer

Joseph graduated high school in the spring of 2012 and now attends Kansas State University. He had been performing the roles of Dr. Wos and the German solider for several years in the Life in a Jar performance. He is an outstanding student and is dedicated to telling the story of Irena Sendler. Joseph placed 4th in the nation with a film documentary in 2011.


Piotr Zettinger: Child Saved by Irena

Pitor Zettinger was saved from the Warsaw Ghetto by Irena, he now lives in Sweden.

Pitor Zettinger was saved from the Warsaw Ghetto by Irena, he now lives in Sweden

The Zettingers live in Stockholm, Sweden and Piotr was featured in a beautiful newspaper article on Irena, which was in the Stockholm papers last year.

Piotr was saved by Irena as a child and considers her a great hero. He also keeps in touch with the project and has visited America in the past year.