Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who saved thousands of Jewish children duringby smuggling them out of the Ghetto, died in the Polish capital on Monday after a long illness, local media said.
Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said: “Irena Sendler’s courageous activities rescuingserve as a beacon of light to the world, inspiring hope and restoring faith in the innate goodness of mankind.”
Using her position as a social worker, Sendler regularly entered the ghetto, smuggling around 2,500 children out in boxes, suitcases or hidden in trolleys.
The children were then placed with Polish families outside the ghetto, created by Nazi Germany in 1940 for the city’s half a million strong Jewish population, and given new identities.
But in 1943 Sendler, who led the children’ section of the Zegota organization which helped Jews during the war, was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo.
She only escaped execution when Zegota managed to bribe some Nazi officials, who left her unconscious but alive with broken legs and arms in the woods.