Anna Paquin in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

February 12, 2009 by  

press_release_pic_01_wmRecently Golden Globe winner Anna Paquin from “True Blood” completed filming the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentation of The Irena Sendler Story in Latvia. CBS Television has just announced that the production entitled “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler” will premiere on Sunday, April 19 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler” is based up the true story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker in the early 1940s who is credited with saving the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during World War II. During the war Irena Sendler was able to move women in and out of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto disguised as nurses working for the Warsaw’s Health Department. With the ruse of containing the spread of Typhus and Spotted Fever, Ms. Sendler and her fellow “nurses” were actually sneaking children out (with the consent of the Jewish parents) of the Ghetto by sedating them and hiding them inside boxes, suitcases and coffins as a way of saving them from deportation to death camps. Once the children were snuck out they were given new identities and placed with Polish families or in convents to protect them. Ms. Sendler kept a record of all the children’s birth names and where they were placed hidden so once the war was over the children could be reunited with their families. Unfortunately in 1943 Ms. Sendler’s deception was discovered and she was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo resulting with her feet being broken. She was scheduled to be executed but on the day of her execution she was rescued by “Zegota”, the same underground network that she worked with to save the Jewish children. By the end of the war all of the 2,500 children that she smuggled out were never betrayed or discovered by the Nazis.

“The movie is based on the authorized biography of the heroine, Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Irena Sendler Story, by Anna Mieszkowska, published in 2005. In 2007 Sendler was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. That same year, Hallmark Hall of Fame acquired exclusive movie rights to the book and negotiated life-rights with Sendler and her family members. Sendler died on May 12, 2008 at the age of 98.”

Other actors in the movie include: Academy Award winner and nominee Marcia Gay Harden (”Pollock,” “Mystic River”), Nathaniel Parker (”The Inspector Lynley Mysteries”) and Goran Visnjic (”ER”) also star. Harden plays Sendler’s mother, Janina, and Parker portrays Dr. Majkowski, the head of Warsaw’s Department of Health who helped Sendler obtain important resources for her mission. Visnjic plays Stefan, a former university friend of Sendler who was Jewish and with whom she fell in love when she started her clandestine work in the Warsaw ghetto.irena2


(Photo credit: and Associated Press)