Courage in the face of enormous adversity

A rug hanging in the current Dovecot Festival exhibition “Daughters of Penelope” (Edinburgh Fringe 2017) is described as dedicated to Irina Sendler, a name I’d not heard of before. The name sent me scurrying off to look her up and the most moving account of the 2500 babies she and her team smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. The story is an incredible one of courage, as every day under the guise of a health worker looking for typhus she took out babies in the bottom of tool boxes, or concealed beneath the stretcher of the ambulance. The ambulance driver had taught his dog to start barking to cover up the cries of the babies, which in turn set off the barking of the guard dogs. Irina Sendler hid the names of each child and the foster family in a jar which she buried beneath an apple tree so that after the war there was a chance of reuniting the babies and their families. Tragically most of their parents in the ghetto were killed. To learn more about this incredibly plucky woman see