Wladyslaw Bartoszewski’s 90th birthday is being celebrated in Poland. Born in 1922 and imprisoned in Auschwitz, he eventually was released and joined the Polish resistance. In late 1942, he was one of the youngest organizers of Zegota, the organization involved with the rescue of Jews. He later became the Polish Foreign Minister. We (the Life in a Jar students and Mr. Conard) remember sitting in his office after his 80th birthday and asking him what status Irena Sendler had in Zegota. He put his hand high in the air and said, “She was here and the rest of Zegota was way below, she was a hero of extraordinary measure.” Life in a Jar/the Irena Sendler Project salutes this noble rescuer on his 90th birthday.
While mentioning the former Prime Minister, we think of two child survivors from Irena’s network, Renata Zajdman and Elzbieta Ficowska. Both are enjoying some time in Florida this month, staying with friends. Renata and Elzbieta have been a major part of telling Irena’s story and also working with Life in a Jar.
With the passing of survivor Lou Frydman comes this note.
Lou was one of my professors at the School of Social Welfare at KU in Lawrence. We were friends with him and his family while I studied at KU. We remained friends and we also met in Poland where Lou and Jane spent a sabbatical. I was also born in Poland and we visited in Warsaw – and just around the corner of where I met Irena in 2006. Jane (Lou’s) also wrote to us about Lou’s passing. We’ve lost one of the wonderful persons who was close to Irena when both could have met in the Ghetto. With my best wishes to your entire LIfe in a Jar team! Keep up the great work!
International Social Workers Organization
This note comes from our friend, Michael Triason, in Warsaw.
I’ve come to realize that the Life in a Jar students are also saving lives. There are two deaths for everyone and everything: the physical death and then, when the memory dies, there is a second death. By keeping alive the memory of those who were lost, as well as those who were saved, and of Irena Sendler herself, your students are, in their way and in their time, saving lives Its true! But for Norm Conard and what he did as a teacher to his students, the story of Irena would not be known as it is today. Kol hakavod to all, God Bless America where Christian students from America’s heartland with the guidance of a teacher could tell this story and could adopt it as passionately as if they had been there. That Irena’s story was miraculous goes without saying. That the teacher and his students are not considered a miracle is the very reason the United States of america is a miracle!!
The Life in a Jar/Irena Sendler Project book was listed as the 9th best selling Holocaust book on Amazon this past week. There are about 4,000 Holocaust books listed on Amazon. Four of those ahead of us were Anne Frank books, another was Night by Elie Wiesel and another was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Irena’s/Life in a Jar’s impact continues to spread.
Below is Rachel Hopkin’s expression, a former student at McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, Indiana. She is currently enrolled in theater at Ball State University. She performed with the Life in a Jar cast at the Indiana Children’s Museum.
I hope to use my life to make a difference. I have been involved in theatre and have been acting since the age of five. I have taken multimedia and television classes and I hope to use my media knowledge and acting experience to study telecommunications and youth ministry. I want to create movies and multimedia entertainment with a positive message that encourages young people to make a difference in the world. I have participated in a theatre program that the Greater Holocaust Foundation of Lafayette sponsors and we perform plays that bring awareness about the Holocaust. One thing I have taken from this experience is the Hebrew phrase, “Tikkun Olam.” It means, “To repair the world.” I want to repair the world with my productions.