News & Updates

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News of the Week 04/06/21

This year will mark the 22nd year for Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project. 

A special recognition:  From the day we first arrived in Poland to meet with Irena through recent journeys, Rabbi Michael Schudrich has always been a tremendous help with knowledge and understanding. We are thankful for his friendship. Congratulations on 30 years in Poland making a difference. He has been the Chief Rabbi of Poland since 2004. 

If you plan on visiting Warsaw in the future, you must visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. It is a powerful museum.
The 2021 Kansas Holocaust Commemoration is titled: 76 Years After Auschwitz: Stand Together. The commemoration is an online event on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.  The Keynote Address is given by Norm Conard and Megan Stewart Felt. A Holocaust proclamation will be presented by Governor Laura Kelly. Recognition of Holocaust survivors, their children, WWII veterans and special music will be included. You can view the Commemoration at that time with the link:

News of the Week 02/25/21

On February 15, 1910, Irena Sendler was born in Warsaw, Poland. She spent much of her childhood in Otwock, Poland, just outside of Warsaw. Her father operated a sanatorium in this small town. Irena would move back to Warsaw as a young woman, graduate from the University of Warsaw and join the Social Welfare Department in the city. It was from this department she drew her co-rescuers for one of the great heroic rescues of the 20th century. Irena would have been 111 this month. She passed on May 12, 2008. Her life was a light in the darkness during World War II. Her life is still a light in the world.

Have you read the Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project book by Jack Mayer or have you thought about giving it to a friend? 
Have you been looking for a children’s book about Irena Sendler?
Visit for information about Irena Sendler.

News of the Week 01/27/21

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As we commemorate the end of the Holocaust during World War II, we continue to be inspired by Irena’s passion to stand up for those being persecuted around her. We must “never forget.”


There were several doctors in Otwock during the trying days of World War I. By the time the typhus epidemic hit the town, they had all left except for Stanislaw Krzyzanowski. He stayed, working with the poor and caring for them, until he caught typhus. Dr. Krzyzanowski died before the beginning of 1918. He had lived a life of sacrifice and a life of service. He left behind a wife and seven-year-old daughter, Irena. He also left behind lessons that would alter and change the course of lives. His high-minded values and morals communicated a lasting example of how the world should be.


“If you see someone drowning, you must jump in to save them, whether you can swim or not.”  — Dr. Stanislaw Krzyzanowski, Irena Sendler’s father


Irena would live every day of her life trying to save those who were drowning around her.


Norman Conard


Life in a Jar Foundation 
The Irena Sendler Project
1 South Main
Fort Scott, KS 66701

News of the week 11/24/20

News of the Week 11/24/20
***UPDATE*** Please update your address book with Norm Conard’s new email: and approve to receive emails. We do not want you to miss out on Life in a Jar updates due to spam filters.  The email will no longer be in use.
Thank you!

Renata Zajdman was a very special part of the Life in a Jar family and very close to Irena Sendler. Her birthday and the 7 year anniversary of her passing was in November. We remember this remarkable woman with hope and love.


Renata was saved from the Warsaw Ghetto at age 14 by the underground network connected with Irena. She spent her life sharing her experiences and advocating “never again” as her mission. She traveled to Kansas on a number of occasions and went to many Life in a Jar performances with us, giving testimony and sharing her experiences. She was an active member of both the Hidden Children organization and the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust. 
We thank Renata’s children, Michael and Sharon, for sharing their mother with the Life in a Jar family.
LOST AND FOUND -the hidden children
By Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman
For most part we have lived in hunger. Under constant terror of discovery. We were witnesses to evil, and bestiality. We were witnesses to wholesale murder and the imminence of our own death was pervasive. We had to grow up overnight and assume the adult responsibilities of caring for ourselves. We were old, before we were young. 
For almost three years, protected by Christian Poles, I lived under an assumed name, pretending to be Catholic. How well one could socially blend into the new environment also made a difference. Some would go into hiding, some would pass as Christians, but most had to change from hiding to passing and back again. Those who obtained new documents had to learn many new facts to support their new identities, dates, places regarding not only themselves, but also their fictitious relatives. Inconsistency could arouse suspicion, one slip could mean disaster.  I had to learn many survival strategies to cope with fears, imminence of death, starvation, illness and loneliness. Becoming well acquainted with one’s new identity was only a small part of what a “passing” child had to do. Familiarity with Catholic religion was another important pre-requisite for the new life. 
Often those suspected of being Jewish were subjected to rigorous cross-examination. Boys were in a special jeopardy, because in Europe only Jewish males were circumcised at birth. A casual examination could easily reveal a male `s identity. For this reason alone, passing was more dangerous for Jewish boys than girls.
Giving up our identity meant playing a part, becoming someone else. The better we played the role, the safer we were. Sometimes we were so caught up in the new part that we actually forgot, who we really were. This temporary forgetfulness was emotionally costly. Giving up our identity created an emotional void and made us anxious, worried that we would never recapture our past. We also felt ashamed for giving up what was cherished by our parents, by those we loved. We had to listen to anti-Semitic remarks and be silent. Breaking the silence could mean death. Silence became deeply ingrained. 
For a hiding child the liberation did not bring immediate relief. We still harbour many irrational fears: crossing borders, a man in uniform, a sound of a doorbell, or a plane overhead, or being caught without food. Each of these may provoke a flashback and palpitations.
As young people, most of us had no time to devote to self-healing, or even self-pity. We studied, worked, and had families, build our lives. Only now, in our maturity, with old memories stirring once again rather than receding further, have are learning the art of self-restitution of nurturing ourselves. We finally have the luxury of tears. Whatever we did to cope with old baggage that dragged us down, with pain that dulled but never healed, with unspent rage and nagging. Survivor guilt we did it well. We are poets and artists and philosophers and teachers and parents and people who worked hard in honest labour of every kind. We have strived to be menchen. The decent and productive individuals of whom our parents and grandparents would have been proud. And by and large, we succeeded.


Norman Conard

Life in a Jar Foundation 
The Irena Sendler Project
1 South Main Street
Fort Scott, KS 66701

News of the Week 9/23/20

News of the Week 9/23/20

September 23, 1999 – 21 years ago today

A clipping was found in Norm Conard’s classroom by some of his students. That News and World Report article from 1994, entitled “Other Schindlers,” featured several rescuers’ stories from the Holocaust. One of the paragraphs stated, “POLAND: IRENA SENDLER, SOCIAL WORKER:  She gave nearly 2,500 children new identities, and buried their real names for safekeeping.” 
After reading that sentence, the students had a desire to learn more. Irena Sendler and her collaborators risked their lives to do the right thing and make a difference. Her dedication to making the world a better place inspired the  students and their teacher. 
Twenty-one years later the students’ play, “Life in a Jar” has been performed more than 375 times around the world, the website has received millions of hits, more than 50 schools around the world have been named after Irena Sendler, thousands of student projects sharing Irena’s story have been completed, and over 3,000 news articles featuring Irena Sendler and the project have been published globally.
Irena Sendler’s story continues to make a difference.
You can learn more about Irena, the students, and their teacher by reading “Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project.”
Tikkun Olam!

News of the Week 9/4/20

News of the Week 9/4/20

There is a new article in the Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities about Irena Sendler, the Kansas students, and their teacher, Norm Conard. 

From the article – “In this time of pandemic we celebrate the helpers and the heroes, some of whom forfeit their lives. During World War II, many Holocaust heroes were unsung; they died during the war or lived their lives quietly afterward. One such hero was Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker.
Read more of “Irena Sendler and the Girls from Kansas” on the website.

News of the Week 8/4/20

Remembering Irena and the Summer of 1942:
Irena Sendler’s love for people, especially children, was always evident when speaking to her.  
Irena wrote this in a letter to the Life in a Jar students in December 2003.
“The world is still in a fire of tribal, racial and national wars.  Therefore, I wish for everyone that during the coming year – 2004 – to extinguish all conflicts, all flames of war that destroy entire nations, kill thousands of people, also those happenings which harm the most innocent – the children.  I wish for everybody in the world, everybody dear to my heart regardless of race, religion and descent, to remember during all their actions, about the dignity of other persons, about their sufferings and needs, to always seek the way to mutual understanding and agreement. As we finish this year, we need to be full of faith and hope that good will prevail at last.  – Irena Sendlerowa – Jolanta
Irena took great care in planning the agenda for our first trip to meet her in Warsaw, Poland. Before we met Irena, we toured the area where the Warsaw Ghetto had been. As we thought of all that we had learned about the Warsaw Ghetto, we were led through this area by a child survivor. Recalling the summer of 1942, she shared some of her memories when we visited the Umschlagplatz Monument on Stawki Street. 
We remember that date seventy-eight years ago on July 22, 1942, when the trains for mass deportation started from the Warsaw Ghetto at Umschlagplatz.
Take care and be safe.

News of the Week 6/8/20

News of the Week 6/8/20

Irena Sendler believed in equality for all people. She stood up against the Nazis and resisted the persecution of Jewish people.  

Take some time and learn more about Irena and her network. They dedicated their lives to helping the people around them.
Irena lived by the belief that people cannot be separated by race, religion, or creed. People can only be separated by good and evil and the good will triumph.

News of the Week 5/12/20

This week is the 12th anniversary of Irena Sendler’s passing. May 3, 2008 was the last time members of the Life in a Jar cast and crew was able to spend time with Irena in Warsaw before she passed away on May 12. As we continue to share her story through the performance, website, and the book Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project, we continue to spread her light and love for all people. 

During this time, we all have the opportunity to be a light for those around us. Spread light and love.



News of the Week 4/28/20

80 years ago the world was ablaze with WWII and the beginnings of the Holocaust. Germany was invading more of Europe this month, in May of 1940, the Battle of Britain would begin. Dunkirk was only days ahead.  The world was suffering in a tremendous manner, and today in a different manner, the world is also suffering.  We at Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project know that Irena, if alive today, would be worrying about the children, and all ages of people.

The 32nd Conference of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants in St. Louis has been postponed from 2020 to Fall 2021, there is a good possibility Life in a Jar will present to these survivors and their families. More information to come later.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the Life in a Jar Foundation. A great number of people have made a difference and supported this life-changing journey over the last 20 years. Thank you.

We hope everyone is safe and staying healthy.

With love,
The Life in a Jar Family