She was a 98 year-old Polish woman at her time of death. During World War II, Irena worked in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist. She dedicated herself to smuggling Jewish children out. Infants were carried in the bottom of the tool box she used and older children in a burlap sack she had in the back of her truck.
She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids’ and infants’ noises. Irena managed to smuggle out and save 2500 children during this time
She eventually was caught and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and in a glass jar buried under a tree in her backyard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunited some of the families but most had been killed. She then helped those children get placement into foster family homes or adopted.
In 2007, Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected.
Al Gore won for presenting a slide show on Global Warming.