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Life in a Jar - the Irena Sendler Project

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 09.05.2013 14:35
  • Interview with Jack Mayer
A book on the life of the late Irena Sendler, who saved up to 2,500 Jewish children during WW II Nazi occupied Poland, by American author Jack Mayer has been published in Polish.


The book is an insiders' view of three American high-school girls who, back in 1999, wrote and produced a documentary play about Irena Sendler entitled Life in a Jar.

The title refers to the fact that Irena Sendler kept lists of the rescued children’s Jewish names and their new Polish names they were given in hiding with forged documents, burying them in jars for security reasons.

In an interview with our reporter Michal Kubicki, author Jack Mayer says he gave his book the same title as the play because he found it “touching and beautiful and a reflection of the importance that Irena Sendler attached to preserving the names of the Jewish children”.

He adds that Yad Vashem - the institute in Jerusalem where Irena Sendler is among over 6,000 Poles honoured as 'Righteous among Nations' for helping Jews during the Holocaust - means “memory of a name” and therefore the book’s title “is very much in keeping with that spirit”.

Jack Mayer, who came to Warsaw for the book launch of the Polish translation, said that he first learned the story of Irena Sendler's WW II exploits only as recently as 2001.

“I was astounded. I said: why don’t I know this woman. Everybody knows Oskar Schindler who rescued 1,100 people from a concentration camp. Why don’t I know of Irena Sendler? I was shocked that I didn’t know who this person was."

Irena Sendler died five years ago, on 12 May 2008.

“What made her happy towards the end of her life," Mayer says in the interview, “was her conviction that the story of the rescues would not be forgotten”.

Life in a Jar - the Irena Sendler Project has also been translated into Russian and Chinese. (pg)

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