October 20, 2019
Irena sat defiantly as her young interrogator paced behind her. He tossed a folder on the table he claimed contained information of numerous people informing on her. Bending down to become face to face, the German sternly again asked her for the names of her associates. Looking straight ahead, Irena recited the false story she rehearsed countless times if ever she found herself in this very predicament.
Unsatisfied with her answers, the Nazis reverted to torture. Breaking both of Irena’s legs and feet, the Nazis showed no mercy to the tiny 4’11’’ woman. However, nothing they did could fracture her gigantic spirit. She refused to reveal the information they wanted. Realizing she was not going to crack, the Germans sentenced Irena to death via a firing squad. Yet Irena knew with her execution was also the end of hope for thousands of children.
Irena Krzyżanowska entered the world on February 15, 1910, in Warsaw, Poland. Her father, Dr. Stanisław Krzyżanowski, taught Irena true compassion towards others, especially Jews who were discriminated against. During World War I, many suffered from typhus, including Jews. Many doctors refused to treat patients with the disease, primarily out of fear of contracting it themselves. However, Dr. Krzyżanowski accepted and cared for the contagious sick people. Unfortunately, he developed typhus himself and died from it in February of 1917.
“Hitler did not have to destroy democracy; he merely took advantage of the decay of democracy and at the critical moment obtained the support of many to whom, though they detested Hitler, he yet seemed the only man strong enough to get things done.”
- The Road to Serfdom
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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
- Soren Kierkegaard