International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Anne Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her wartime journal Diary of a Young Girl has been the basis for several plays and films. She gained international fame posthumously after her diary was published. It documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.
Irena Sendler was a Polish nurse and social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of children's section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, saving those children during the Holocaust. The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war.
Hannah Szenes was one of 37 Jews parachuted by the British Army into Yugoslavia during the Second World War to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz. Szenes was arrested at the Hungarian border, then imprisoned and tortured, but refused to reveal details of her mission. She was eventually tried and executed by firing squad. She is regarded as a national heroine in Israel, where her poetry is widely known and the headquarters of the Zionist youth movements, a kibbutz and several streets are named after her.
Emilie Schindler was a German-born woman who, with her husband Oskar Schindler, helped to save the lives of 1,200 to 1,700 Jews during World War II by employing them in their enamelware and ammunitions factories, providing them immunity from the Nazis. When conditions worsened and they started running out of money, she sold her jewels to buy food, clothes, and medicine. She looked after sick workers in a secret sanatorium in the factory in Brünnlitz with medical equipment purchased on the black market.
Noor Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan was 25 when the Nazis invaded Paris and she fled to England, where she immediately joined the British war effort. In 1942, she was recruited by Churchill’s elite Special Operations Executive (SOE) to work in Paris as a wireless operator. Her clandestine efforts supported the French Underground as England prepared for the D-Day invasions. Among SOE agents, the wireless operator had the most dangerous job of all, because the occupation authorities were skilled at tracking their signals. The average survival time for a Resistance telegrapher in Paris was about six weeks. Khan’s service continued from June 1943 until her capture and arrest by the Gestapo in October. She is remembered as one of the many Muslims who served the Allied cause and made the ultimate sacrifice to help defeat the Nazis.