Thursday, September 20, 2012

61. The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (2009)*

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler Poster

Irena Sendler (Anna Pauquin) is a social worker in Poland during the Nazi occupation.  Sendler is a brave young woman working in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Aware of the spreading rumours of the extermination of Jewish people by the Nazis, Irena feels like she must do more to help her Jewish friends and others living inside the ghetto.  Irena realises that her friend Stefan (Goran Visnjic) has found a way to smuggle potatoes in and out of the ghetto through a number of routes.  Along with her dedicated team of social workers and nurses, Irena begins to smuggle children out of the ghetto and places them with Polish families willing to hide the children.  Irena is aided by the Polish underground but is ultimately apprehended by the Nazis for her activities.  

Irena Sendler was saved from execution and went on to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  It is believed that she saved the lives of 2,500 children.  At the end of the film, Irena, dedicates the story to the Jewish mothers, so pained at having to give away their children and also to the Polish mothers, who took the Jewish children and brought them up as their own.  

Directed by John Kent Harrison, a director of many TV movies, the film brings to light the role played by courageous women in Poland during the Holocaust.  

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