A film by Mary Skinner
Presented in Association with KQED Public Television/San Francisco
Sunday, May 1st, at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings)
(San Francisco, CA) May 1, 2011. In honor of National Holocaust Remembrance Day held annually on May 1, PBS stations nationwide will broadcast the national premiere of IRENA SENDLER In the Name of Their Mothers (broadcast dates and times may vary from city to city – check local listings), a documentary film about Polish heroine Irena Sendler and her wartime conspiracy of women who outfoxed the Nazis and saved the lives of thousands of Jewish children. Sendler was a 29-year-old social worker when the Nazis invaded Poland. After Warsaw’s Jews were imprisoned behind the ghetto walls without food or medicine, Sendler and those she most trusted smuggled aid in and began smuggling orphans out – hiding them in convents, orphanages and private homes in the city and the Polish countryside. Before the Nazis burned the ghetto to the ground, they managed to rescue over 2,500 children.
Irena Sendler was eventually captured by the Gestapo, imprisoned and tortured after refusing to divulge the identities of her co-workers. On the way to her execution, she escaped thanks to friends who managed to bribe a guard at the last moment. Irena and her co-conspirators were silenced by the Communists who came to power after the Nazis. And they were afraid to speak out for many decades afterwards.
Now at last, their story can be told. IRENA SENDLER In the Name of Their Mothers features the last in-depth interview with Sendler before her death at the age of 98. Rare archival footage, family photographs and evocative re-creations shot in Warsaw bring the lives of the hidden Jewish children, Sendler and her co-workers into dramatic focus. The film is testament to the power of moral courage in the darkest of times.
“This documentary is a stirring tribute to the courage and ingenuity of a group of women who saved lives at the risk of losing their own,” states John Boland, KQED President and CEO. “We thought there was no better time to premiere this heretofore unknown story than on National Holocaust Remembrance Day. KQED is honored to present IRENA SENDLER In the Name of Their Mothers to our national PBS audience.”
Lead underwriters of the PBS National Broadcast include Taube Philanthropies and the Koret Foundation, The Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, The Williams Family Trust, the Foundation for Polish German Collaboration, the Polish American artist, Rafal Olbinski, the Legion of Young Polish Women, and many more organizations and individuals. A complete list of funders is available from PBS.