We wish a Merry Christmas, a joyous Hanukkah, and a wonderful Festival of Lights to our many friends around the world! May your home be blessed with joy and peace during this season.
From the Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project
It is a Holiday gift that continues to inspire!
Happy Thanksgiving from the Life in a Jar family. We wish you the happiest greetings this Thanksgiving season.
May you and your family enjoy these holidays and share the joy with others. As the leaves of autumn fall, we are thankful for everyone in the very large Irena Sendler family (all those who are sharing her story with the world.)
We try to share information on Irena Sendler and her network at various times. Our new exhibit at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes is getting rave reviews with its Irena exhibit.
Throughout the years in November, Irena experienced a great variety of emotion and experience.
1939: The German invasion was mostly complete, with scattered fighting all over Poland. Irena watched with horror with underground reports that German Operation Tannenberg in Bydgoszcz, Poland saw the invading troops executed 600-800
1940: The Warsaw Ghetto was established in October and November of this year. Irena would later say she had the greatest of fears for her Jewish friends. She had already started to organize her network and already started to hide some Jewish families.
1941: The Warsaw Ghetto was becoming a place of total horror. Starvation and disease was everywhere. The rescues had already started by Irena and her network.
1942: Most of the children and adults rescued by Irena and her network were rescued in the early summer of this year. Now the tremendous job of hiding them, moving them from home to home and making sure of their security in convents and orphanages, was of upmost importance.
1943: Irena was captured by the Gestapo in October and would spend a horrible November in Pawiak Prison.
1944: Irena was bribed out of prison and by November of this year, began to see light in the darkness. She was in hiding with Stefan (the Jewish man she would later marry), and the Allies were marching across Europe.
1945: The war was over and now ‘the lists.’
What a beautiful venue in San Antonio. The Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio hosted our troupe last week-end. The museum makes a powerful statement about the Holocaust and is a must see in San Antonio. The Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio is doing an exceptional job with Holocaust Education.
It was powerful to share the auditorium with Holocaust survivors Rose, Susanna and Anna. The crowds for both performances were large and enthusiastic.
We send a big thanks to the Director of the Museum, Ellen Ollervidez. Also, providing tremendous assistance were Matthew Faulkner, Fran Vanecko and Valerie Katz.
The Life in a Jar cast of Megan Felt, Addi Brown, Erin Simons, Noah Fischer and Mary Kerr were thrilled with the experiences of sharing Irena’s story.
We receive two or three requests for the play every week and are able to perform on only about five trips per year.
A note from San Antonio: “Last night when I had time to reflect on the weekend, a little sadness overcame me. Without your knowing, you became such a part of my life. But then I thought, this was such a magical, inspirational weekend. You will always be a part of those of us privileged to work with you and see the play and presentation. Through knowing you, we were able to know Irena Sendler. Hopefully we will carry on her message of repairing the world.
Megan, your mother and her words to you that you shared in the book will be with me always. What a fabulous group of students you brought with you. I look forward to visiting the museum in Kansas next year.
Hope you all enjoyed San Antonio as much as you enriched San Antonio.”
What a wonderful time in Cherry Hill, New Jersey at the Esther Raab Holocaust Museum & Goodwin Education Center for Life in a Jar
. The performance was attended by nearly 500 people and there were numerous survivors present. One of the survivors was Stefanie Seltzer, President of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors and Descendants of the Holocaust.
The Education Program Coordinator, Helen Kirschbaum, did a marvelous job of organizing and hosting.
Our cast and crew were excellent as always; Megan, Mary, Noah, Erin and Addi. The performance added a short new portion, always looking to improve.
The Chair of the Center, Renee Siegel, shared the following: “I mentioned that when I was in Krakow, Poland last year I met by happenstance, a woman named Roza Friedman. She identified herself to me (in Yiddush) as “a child of Irena Sendler.”
Many email comments have come in:
“Life is so important. Irena Sendler understood that as well as anyone who lived in the 1940’s.”
“We appreciate the wonderful work of the Life in a Jar cast in telling this story that the entire world should know.”
“It was because of you and your students that I knew Irena’s story and could therefore truly appreciate the life-affirming significance of Roza’s survival, and her ability to sit and hold hands with me on that fateful day at the Krakow JCC.”
17 years ago tomorrow, the Life in a Jar project began. The project and students would discover Holocaust rescuer, Irena Sendler and change the world. Students in Mr. Conard’s class would begin telling an incredible story of courage and valor. Seventeen years ago Megan, Liz and Sabrina began a journey.
The cast and crew has changed over the years, although Megan is still in the performance. Irena suggested years ago we expand to include other schools. As a result, over 45 students have been in the play. The performance has been done over 380 times around the United States and the world.
A best selling book
, an Emmy winning movie
, a website with 55 million hits and schools all over the world named after Irena form just a part of the legacy of Irena and this project.
We have just passed 55 million hits on our Life in a Jar website!!!!
as of August 1, 2016 there have been 2,855,524 visits and 55,526,467 hits
(Form Italy) Dear Mr. Conard,
“Yesterday I did a lesson about Irena Sendler at University (in Bologna). This is a very big opportunity that my supervisor had given me. I spoke about Irena for 100 minutes; I showed some videos (some parts of “The courageous Heart of Irena Sendler “, an Irena’s video and the moment when you and yours students meet Irena in Varsavia); I read the message that you send me for italian students some months ago; one of my dear friends played an Irena’ s letter (the letter about Pawiak), a song’s test (Auschwitz of Modena city rambles & Guccini) and a Borges’s text that speaks about a Jewish sentenced of death. In the end of the lesson I asked every one for writing a thought about Irena and bringing a note that was in a jar ( I brought a jar with hundreds polish nomes because I would like that they can reflet about this big Irena’s action). In the end I also made students listen to Aria of Eugenie Bozza. It was a very touching moment in fact many people were crying.”
From Marzanna of Lowell Milken Center Europe:
11th December 2015 – a presentation in the prison for women. The female prisoners in Turawa near Opole, Poland, realize the project on Irena Sendler, preparing the performance in which they discovered a powerful parallel between the lives of Jewish mothers who had to give their children to unknown people and their own lives.
2nd March 2016 – co-organizing the performance prepared by women imprisoned in the local detention center. The performance, devoted to Irena Sendler life was watched by about 250 hundred students Irena Sendler’s life in prisoner’s performance. The female prisoners some months ago found out about Irena Sendler and her incredible life. Moved by the story of Irena, the prisoners, sometimes also deprived of possibility of taking care of their children, decided to write a script for the play related to Irena Sendler. In the performance the audience watched both the war scenes and post war episodes so that they could perfectly imagine Irena Sendler’s heroism. After the play, the actors got long ovation, were presented with some items of a book “Life in A Jar: the Irena Sendler Project” and answered the students’ questions on their creating the performance. The play is going to be presented in other locations as a unique example of Irena Sendler’s powerful impact that goes beyond the thickest walls. Even if on the other side there is a prison. Info and pictures
The new Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes has a wonderful ‘Life in a Jar, Irena Sendler Exhibit.’
The new exhibit is large in scope and powerful in every way. If you haven’t made it to Fort Scott for our new Hall of Unsung Heroes, you must come and visit. 3,000 visitors have come to the Center since the beginning of May.
The Irena Sendler exhibit is the most popular of many featuring a number of artifacts from the Holocaust, plus some wonderful kiosks with video.
Exhibit Associates of Kansas City did the professional paneling. They have also contributed to the Truman Library, Union Station, 18th and Vine and much more.
The great story of Irena and the Life in a Jar kids continues on and on.
As we leave Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 73rd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, we approach the passing of Irena Sendler on May 12th. She passed away in 2008. Megan Felt, Life in a Jar Co-Founder’s birthday is also May 12th.
History passes and we remember with sadness, but there is joy as we honor heroism, bravery, kindness and compassion.
The new Unsung Heroes museum in Fort Scott, Kansas has an incredible exhibit on Irena and the Life in a Jar project. You must see this exhibit. The Grand Opening ceremony is May 24th. The days following the grand opening this summer would be a great time to visit Fort Scott and our many historic sites.
Fifty students have been in the Life in a Jar project with about 10-15 involved at any current time. Twenty-eight of the 50 have acted in the Life in a Jar performance with Megan Stewart Felt, Jaime Walker, Jessica Shelton Ripper, Liz Cambers Hutton, Travis Stewart, Mary Fischer, Melissa Query and Sabrina Coons Murphy leading in total hours for the 17 years of the project.
The new Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes will have a spectacular exhibit on Irena Sendler. The exhibit will include films, artifacts from the Warsaw Ghetto, panels of the entire story, and ‘the tree.’
The ‘tree’ alone is worth the visit. You will be brought to great emotion in sharing this beautiful story. The new Center is directly across the street from the present Center. The lot it is built in was the location of historic buildings, before the famous fire of 2005. The new Center has been called one of the finest small town museums in America.
We had a wonderful audience and performance at the JCC in Overland Park, Kansas on March 5th. We send a big thank you to the JCC staff and to Howard Jacobson for the wonderful hospitality, full house and enthusiastic reception.
We have received dozens of notes about the performance and Irena’s story. It is such a joy to continue sharing her story with the world. A big thank you to the cast and presenters: Megan Felt, Jaime Walker, Mary Fischer, Joseph Fischer, Erin Simons, Addi Brown and Mary Kerr. The cast continues to put forth a tremendous dedication and effort.
for our list of future performances. Be watching for a performance in Cape Cod this July
“I applaud your work, keep sharing Irena’s beautiful story, the world needs it very much right now.”
“I’m still getting several calls a day about the outstanding job the students did Saturday night. Several people had seen the play 10+ years ago and were blown away with the professionalism of the cast members and the addition of the short movie to introduce the play. Please send a big “THANK YOU” to,all the cast and helpers who took time to come to KC Saturday evening.”
“My family feels extremely blessed! Last night, we finally, after several years of waiting, got to come to the Jewish Community Center and see you perform, Life in a Jar! I tried to get tickets several weeks ago, but they were sold out. But, by God’s good grace, we were put on a waiting list and got a call Friday night there were 3 tickets available for my husband, 13 yr old daughter, and myself!. I know listening last night made an impression on our 13 year old on what a difference one person really can make for the world!”