Irena Sendlerowa’s 110th Birthday – Today’s Doodle celebrates the life of Polish social worker Irena Sendlerowa on her 110th birthday. This courageous humanitarian is credited for saving the lives of Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She proved to be an excellent strategist and became a symbol of courage and justice by organising the help of those in need, regardless of nationality or religion.
Irena Sendlerowa was born on this day in 1910 just outside the Polish capital of Warsaw. From her father’s work treating tuberculosis patients, Sendlerowa learned at an early age that one should always help those in need—no matter their race, religion, or financial status.
Sendlerowa put those principles into practice, becoming a social worker with the Warsaw City Council in 1939. As World War II progressed, her position gave her unusual access to the Warsaw Ghetto, and she became determined to help save as many Jewish people as possible.
Using ambulances, underground tunnels, and fake identities, Sendlerowa and her colleagues from a secret organisation called Żegota risked their lives to sneak hundreds of children to safety. As shown in the Doodle artwork, written records of the children and their families were buried in the jar under the apple tree, in hopes that the families could be reunited at the end of the war.
Poland honored Sendlerowa’s selflessness in 2003, awarding her the Order of the White Eagle, and in 2008, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Dziękuję, Irena Sendlerowa, for your bravery in saving the lives of many.
Explore the life of Irena Sendlerowa on Google Arts & Culture. Follow her journey as a humanitarian, social worker, and nurse serving in the Polish Underground during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw.
Doodler Q&A Lydia Nichols
Today’s Doodle was created by Doodler Lydia Nichols.
Below, she shares some thoughts on the making of the Doodle:
Q: When did you first learn about Irena Sendlerowa? Is there anything about her story that resonated with you?
A: I first learned of Irena Sendlerowa while researching this Doodle, dismayed that I hadn’t heard of her remarkable story sooner. Her moral fortitude is a timely reminder of how important it is to stand up for and with others in the face of persecution.
Q: What was your creative approach for this Doodle? Why did you choose this approach?
A: While I wanted the Doodle to reflect the seriousness of the war, I also wanted it to echo the hope and perseverance Sendlerowa displayed in her actions. When I learned that she would record the (real) names of the children she smuggled out of the ghetto and bury them in a jar below an apple tree in her yard, I immediately thought the tree would serve as a hopeful symbol of life.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: All inspiration came from Sendlerowa’s story.
Q: Are there any technical tricks you used to create this Doodle that you can share with young artists?
A: The Doodle uses a limited palette of five colors that are overlaid and employed at varying opacities for visual richness.
Q: What do you hope people will take away from this Doodle?
A: I hope people are inspired by Sendlerowa to stand up for what is right, especially when doing so is difficult. We should all work to see and celebrate our common humanity and not let toxic ideas divide us.
Early concepts and draft of the Doodle
You can find more about Irena Sendlerowa’s 110th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page