During the Holocaust, many people risked everything to help save Jewish people and others from the Nazis. One of these people, however, took a special risk. She was a Polish lady named Irene Gut. After being captured as a teen and forced to work for the Germans, she managed to rescue dozens of Jews right under their noses. While working at a hotel filled with German officers, she smuggled food and supplies to Jewish workers at a nearby camp, and helped others escape when the Warsaw ghetto was liquidated. After a German major made her his housekeeper, she brought 12 Jews with her and hid them in his basement. The danger was intensified by the fact that the major enjoyed throwing parties for other Nazi officials. While Irene waited on Germans upstairs, they had no idea that Jews were hiding right under their feet!
Irene had to deal with numerous crises as they came up. One night, one of the women in hiding revealed that she was pregnant. In tears, she asked Irene to help her obtain an abortion. Irene adamantly refused. “Don't let the Germans take another life,” she said. She managed to sneak the woman out of the house and brought her to stay with a Polish friend in the country, where she would be safe.
Somehow, Irene managed to protect her Jewish friends until the end of the war. However, with Russia taking over Poland, her own life was still in danger. After being unjustly imprisoned, she escaped from a window and went to the home of a couple she had hidden. The wife was the woman who had become pregnant in hiding. She threw her arms around Irene. “Every day I thank God that you made me keep my baby,” she cried.
After hiding with the couple for a short time, Irene managed to escape to the United States, settling in California with her husband. She was able to meet most of the people she had saved. After speaking widely about her experiences and having her story made into a book (which later became a Broadway play), she died there in 2003 at the age of 85.