Warsaw, 4 January 1993

Irena Sendler
Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Szkolna Street 2
96-516 Szymanów
phone: (0-46) 86 135 08, 86 135 50
fax: (0-46) 86 146 77

I declare that during the Hitlerite occupation, while I worked at the Health and Welfare Department at the Warsaw City Council, I was frequently in contact with the convent and the institution run by the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Szymanów near Warsaw, where I placed the children from the ghetto. We began a more extensive cooperation in the autumn of 1942, when I became the head of the children’s section of “Żegota” (Polish Council to Aid Jews). It is hard to determine such details after 50 years, and the records of the rescued children were partially destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising, but having reconstructed them from memory and consulted with Jadwiga Piotrowska, who used to work with me in this section, I can say that the number of girls who had been put up in Szymanów was 15. These children had been either in the ghetto or already on the other side of its walls, but had no chance of survival. The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception played an admirable part in rescuing Jews. The children were provided with safe quarters and received most loving care from all of the nuns. Amidst the hell which surrounded the children, which was full of danger and cruelty, the nuns were capable of creating a cheerful and loving atmosphere. The children kept learning and they never felt that they were treated differently than Polish girls.

If the Institute of National Remembrance Yad Vashem [Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority] in Jerusalem awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations to institutions, the entire convent of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception should receive such a distinction, because all nuns were in the know and treated the Jewish girls with care and kindness.

Since Yad Vashem bestows these honorable distinctions only on individuals, I heartily submit a request that sister Wanda Garczyńska be posthumously granted this medal, for she was the person with whom we organized everything. Her attitude founded on courage, selflessness and love for every human being makes her worthy of the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Irena Sendler