Timeline of Irena Sendler’s Life and the Life in a Jar Project

1910- Irena born in Otwock, Poland

1917 School yard incident where Irena stands up for Jewish children

1918 Father dies of typhus

1937 Anti-semitic laws in Poland – college incident

1938 Kristallnacht

1939 Poland has over 3 million Jews, the largest Jewish population in the world 

1939- World War II begins – German invasion of Poland from west on September 1, Russia invasion from the East on September 17

1939- Irena makes false documents for Jewish families

1940 October 16th– The Warsaw Ghetto is established

1942 Spring brings deportations to Treblinka starts for the Warsaw Ghetto

1942- 2,500 children now have been saved and hidden

1942- Irena becomes head of Zegota children’s division

1942 Treblinka becomes the major death camp for the Warsaw Ghetto

1943- April – The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins – Irena smuggles guns

1943- October 20, Irena arrested by the Gestapo

1943- After 8 weeks in Pawiak Prison, Irena is rescued

1945 January 27, Auschwitz is liberated by Russian Red Army

1945- War ends and communism takes over Poland

1946 Poland’s Jewish population is under 200,000

1946 Irena is blacklisted by communist government

1948-  First of ‘Irena’s children’ taken to Israel

1965- Yad Vashem recognizes Irena as a Righteous Gentile and plants tree

1989- Communism falls in Poland

1998- U.H.S. students complete 40th diversity project

September 23,1999- Girls in Uniontown, KS decide on Irena as a topic for National History Day

September 23, 1999 Adam, Irena’s son, passes away in Poland

1999- Only one web site on internet mentions Irena. She is unknown to the world.

1999- Life in a Jar play is written

2000- Girls find Irena is still alive and start writing her

2000- First national and regional press interviews of the girls

May 2001- Students, parents Norm travel to Poland to see Irena

May 2001- Story of Irena breaks with AP, USAToday, CNN, BBC, etc.

May 2001- Child survivor that was rescued by Irena calls the students “rescuers of Irena’s story for the world.”

May 2001- 1 of the 3 founders of the project graduates from high school

March 2002- Irena Sendler Day in Kansas City

July 2002- Students take 2nd trip to Poland and conduct 24 primary interviews

April 2003- Students begin Irena Sendler and Life in a Jar website: www.irenasendler.org

2003- 2 of the 3 founders of the project graduate from high school

2003- Howard and Ro Jacobson begin scholarship program for U.H.S.

2003- Irena receives letter from Pope John Paul II

2003- Irena is recognized by President of Poland

November 2004- 150th presentation of LIAJ

February 2005- Irena’s 95th birthday

May 2005- Students travel to Poland on 3rd trip to see Irena with much press and successful presentations.

June 2005- Irena Sendler Day in Warsaw

June 2005- Life in a Jar presents to 200 child survivors in Zakopane, Poland.

August 2005- Irena Sendler website reaches 1.5 million hits

April 2006 The 1st Irena Sendler Teaching Award is presented in Warsaw

May 2006 200th presentation of Life in a Jar in New Bedford, Mass

January 2007– Irena is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

2007– Mandatory Holocaust education begins in Polish schools.

August 2007 Lowell Milken Center opens, with Irena exhibit

2007 Irena does not receive the Nobel Peace Prize, but receives much acclaim.

April 2008– Students visit Irena in Poland for the 5th trip and help present the 2nd annual Irena Sendler Award to a teacher in Poland.

May 3, 2008- The last time several of the students and Norm see Irena in Warsaw

May 12, 2008 Irena passes on at age 98

May 12, 2008 Megan Stewart Felt’s birthday (plays Irena)

September 2008 Thousands of American schools work on Irena projects.

October 2008 250th presentation of Life in a Jar in Vermont

2008 The Polish Embassy in Israel honors Irena with a stamp.

January 2009– A musical score is written about Irena and presented at a distinguised concert in Israel.

April 2009 Hallmark Hall of Fame presents ‘The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.’ Wins two Emmys.

2010 The Life in a Jar presentation reaches 300 presentations

2010 Poland’s Jewish population is about 25,000. This is 5,000 less than the Jewish population of Kansas City.

August 2010 Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project comes out as a book.

2014– 50 million hits on Irena Sendler website since students started site in 2003.

2015– 3,000 media stories on Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project

2016 New Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes opens with dynamic Irena Sendler exhibit

2017 Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project is in top three of all 8,000 Holocaust books on amazon.com for 7th straight year

2017 Poland 2017 Group tour to Poland to revisit Irena sites for 32 people. There were visits with child survivors (Bieta Ficowska included), the tree site, Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak, grave of Irena, Rabbi Schudrich and many more.

2018 Irena Sendler Year in Poland