Thursday, September 27 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM,
Lawrence Memorial Library, Bristol
Middlebury pediatrician and a child of Holocaust survivors, Jack Mayer, will share the inspiring story told in his book Life in A Jar. It is a combined story, about a Holocaust hero, Irena Sendler, who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and three Kansas teens – girls ages 14 to 16 – who rescued her forgotten story. After the war, Irena Sendler’s heroism, and that of many other Polish rescuers, was hidden, buried, forgotten.
Communist repression and lingering anti-Semitism conspired to keep Holocaust rescuers from disclosing their wartime heroism. Poland itself suffered a kind of national PTSD – denial, shame, silence.The Kansas students helped to crack open the silence with their play about Irene Sendler Life in a Jar, which began as a history project for National History Day. When they began the project they thought Sendler must be dead. To their astonishment, they discovered that she was 90 years old and living in Warsaw. They met her and began a remarkable and touching relationship over the last 8 years of her life, during which they visited her in Poland several times and performed their play for Polish audiences. In the process they elevated Irena Sendler to a Polish national hero who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 by the President of Poland and the Prime Minister of Israel. In the words of Michael Glowinski, rescued as a child by Irena’s network, the girls from Kansas “rescued the rescuer”.