Thursday, July 18, 2013

Depictions of Women and War in Polish Museums. Posted by Elizabeth White.

During World War II many Poles organized an underground resistance, or Home Army, in order to fight against the German occupation. Various monuments and museums honor these courageous people for sacrificing their lives for the greater good of their country. 

However, it is important to remember that men were not the only members of society fighting for freedom. Upon visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum, I realized that a substantial number of women throughout the entire country assisted men in defending Poland during the war in a wide variety of ways.  Roles that women played during this trying time include:  fighting in the underground resistance, providing medical and spiritual aid for members of the Home Army, and rescuing Jews from the ghettos. 

Women providing aid during the war. 

A plaque at the Warsaw Uprising Museum (see photo below) commemorates the efforts of Krystyna Krahelska, a Polish woman who joined the Home Army during the war.  Krystyna is also remembered for composing battle songs and providing medical assistance to wounded soldiers specifically at the time of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

 Krystyna Krahelska

During World War II, Irena Sendler was a young Polish social worker in Warsaw. She was provided  with access to the Warsaw Ghetto by the German authorities in order to monitor the spread of diseases. But she was also director of the Children's Section of the Council for Aid to Jews (known as "Zegota," this organization had been created by the Polish Underground), and she used this opportunity to rescue Jewish children from the horrors of the Holocaust. 

Irena Sendler

By the time the war was over, Irena saved approximately 2,500 Jewish children and received a Righteous Among the Nations award in 1965 for her outstanding accomplishments. 

The photo above shows a tribute to the women and men who decided to come to the aid of their Polish-Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust (on display at the Warsaw Uprising Museum). 

Posted by Liz White.

1 comment:

Penny Messinger said...

You can read more about Irena Sendler (the social worker mentioned above, who saved some 2,500 Jewish children during WWII) in her 2008 obituary:

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