Irena Sendler was born in Warsaw, Poland on February 15, 1910.
Her father taught her many things, but one lesson, in particular, stayed with her for her entire life: always help the needy.
When Irena was only seven years old, her father died of typhus. But the years she spent with him would come to have an enormous influence on her.
When she grew up, Irena followed in the footsteps of her father, who was a doctor and became a nurse.
And she later became employed as a social worker in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, where she helped distribute food and clothing to families in need.
At that time, Jews living in many parts of Europe were being persecuted. But even though Irena was a devout Catholic, she refused to give in to prejudice. She helped several Jewish families, just like she helped everyone else.
During the Second World War, the Nazis created the Warsaw Ghetto to intern Jewish families.
It was the largest Jewish ghetto established by the Nazis, and at its peak, around 400,000 Jews were imprisoned within its walls.
Life in the ghetto was characterized by overcrowding, hunger, instability, and disease.
Irena, who was concerned with the appalling living conditions, decided to get involved.
She joined Zegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Poland that worked to save Jews. Irena realized that she needed to do something