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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 13:49 GMT
Pole who saved WWII Jews honoured
A Nazi SS inspects a group of Jewish workers in April 1943 in the Warsaw ghetto
Some half a million Jews were forced to live in the Warsaw ghetto
A Polish woman who helped save the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during World War II has been honoured by Poland's parliament.

Irena Sendlerowa, a former social worker who is now 97, organised the rescue from the Warsaw ghetto with the help of the Polish underground army.

Ms Sendlerowa was arrested and tortured by the German Gestapo.

She refused to divulge her activities and narrowly escaped execution when her guard was bribed to release her.

The BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says that unlike Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist memorialised in Steven Spielberg's award-winning film, Irena Sendlerowa is not known throughout the world.

She lives quietly in a Warsaw nursing home. As a young social worker, she was allowed to enter Warsaw's Jewish ghetto.

When the Nazis began the deportations of the ghetto's Jews to the death camps, she organised a team to rescue the children.

Some were smuggled out in workmen's toolbags. Others left by the sewers or secret passageways.

At least 2,500 children were placed with Polish families and Catholic convents.

Poland's 3.5 million-strong Jewish community was almost completely wiped out by the Nazi Holocaust.

At a special session, the upper house of parliament unanimously approved a resolution honouring Ms Sendlerowa for organising the "rescue of the most defenseless victims of the Nazi ideology: the Jewish children."

President Lech Kaczynski said she was a "great hero who can be justly named for the Nobel Peace Prize".


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