Dr. Jack Mayer: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

Dr. Jack MayerDr. Jack Mayer is a career pediatrician and the author of the inspiring new book, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project; the non-fiction account of how a Catholic social work named Irena Sendler rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II.

After the war Irena’s story remained unknown until, sixty years later, three Kansas teens find a reference to her heroism, and create a play they called Life in a Jar.

Their play elevates Irena Sendler to hero and helps crack open Polish dialogue about the Holocaust.

The “girls from Kansas” are living examples of the power of one person to change the world and models for young people everywhere.

They continue to champion Irena Sendler’s legacy – courage, tolerance, respect for all.

Dr. Jack Mayer Interview

Scroll down for a complete transcript of the interview or click the Play button below to listen to the interview now. And don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know what you thought of this interview!

Order “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project”

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler ProjectLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project” by Jack Mayer is a powerful story of the Holocaust and more. First, it is the story of the extraordinary Irena Sendler, the great rescuer of Warsaw.

It is also the inspirational story of students from Kansas, each carrying their own painful burden, each called in their own complex way to the history of a Catholic woman who knocked on Jewish doors in the Warsaw ghetto and, in Sendler’s own words, “tried to talk the mothers out of their children.”

Inspired by Irena Sendler, they are living examples of the power of one person to change the world and models for young people everywhere.”

 

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Dr. Jack Mayer Transcript

Tim Knox: Hi everyone, welcome to Interviewing Authors. My guest today is Dr. Jack Mayer. Dr. Jack is the author of the book Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. This is a fascinating book and a fascinating story of how it all came together. Irena Sendler was a Catholic social worker who worked in the Polish ghettos in Warsaw during World War II. She and a network of her peers worked together to rescue some 2,500 Jewish children from that ghetto and from the Nazis. Just an incredible story. Irena would actually go door to door and talk parents into letting her take their children and secure them away through a variety of means, getting them to safety and away from the Nazis.

Now the second part of this story is that some sixty years later three teenage girls in Kansas heard about Irena’s story, read about it, and decide to put together a play that they called Life in a Jar. Now I’m not gonna tell you what “life in a jar” means, you’re going to hear that during the interview.

The third part of this incredible story is Dr. Jack Mayer, who was a pediatrician, read a story about the girls from Kansas; he had already heard about Irena, and he worked with them (the girls) to write this book.

Many, many years later they eventually went over to meet Irena who lived to be in her nineties, I believe. So, a fascinating story and a wonderful book, Dr. Jack Mayer is the author, the book spotlight is Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, on today’s Interviewing Authors.

Tim Knox: Dr. Jack, welcome to the program.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Thank you, Tim. It’s a pleasure being here with you.

Tim Knox: So happy to have you here. I’m very excited about your book, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. I look forward to hearing all about that but before we do though give us a little background on you.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Well I’m a pediatrician in Vermont and I’m also a writer. I’ve sort of been a closet writer for 40 years and mostly practicing primary care pediatrics. I was a country doctor up in the northern county of Vermont right on the Canadian border. I was there for 10 years and then did a stint with research at Columbia University researching childhood cancer and then returned in Vermont in 1991 where I established Rainbow Pediatrics, where I practice today.

Tim Knox: Very good. We were talking about this on the pre-call; your background reminded me of the Northern Exposure TV show because you were a young doctor who went out into the small town area there and started your practice.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah I was bartering medical care for things like eggs and firewood and knitted Afghans and it was a wonderful, interesting place to be in the ‘70s.

Tim Knox: I’m sure. You said you’ve always had an interest in writing. Tell us a little bit about that. Did you write when you were younger? What sort of things did you write?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Well mostly I write fiction and poetry. I’ve written about my practice and I’ve written poetry about being a primary care pediatrician and some stories about my practice. I also write poems when I’m hiking the Long Trail in Vermont. That’s kind of been where I put most of my writing energy.

Tim Knox: Very good. Let’s talk about the new book. It’s called Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. Give us a quick overview of what that book is about.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker who doing World War II organized a network of rescuers to rescue 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto. After the war her story, as was true of many rescuers particularly in Poland; her story was forgotten. It was suppressed. It was denied. It was all sort of under that rubric of sort of Holocaust forgetting and that silence about the Holocaust that was not just in Poland but really all over the world.

She lived in obscurity. Nobody knew her story until these girls from Kansas, three teenage high school students from Kansas doing a national history project stumble across a little reference to her story and put on a short play for their National History Day project, which was entitled Life in a Jar where they talk about Irena Sendler knocking on doors in the Warsaw ghetto and asking parents to give up their children in order to save them. They didn’t know much about her story. They actually thought she was dead because they knew she had been arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and tortured.

So it started as a very innocent, naïve play but it then caught on and they continued to put on the play. Six months later they discovered that Irena Sendler was still alive. She was 90 years old and living in Warsaw in obscurity and they started a wonderful letter writing relationship with her which then turned into their visiting her in Poland, learning more about her story and really created a sensation in Poland about this Polish hero of the Holocaust.

Tim Knox: That’s amazing that these three teenage girls in Kansas so many years later just got interested in this and ended up meeting her. Let’s talk about Irena. What a fascinating character. She was a young woman. You said she was a Polish Catholic social worker in Warsaw. How did she get involved with the acts of saving these kids from the Nazis and from the Holocaust?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Before the war she had many Jewish clients as part of her social work. When the war started and she continued to get some aid to her Jewish clients but then she also really saw how desperate the situation of the Jews was and particularly saw how desperate the situation for Jewish children was.

At first she started out… she had a forged infection control certificate that allowed her to go in and out of the ghetto disguised as a nurse. She wasn’t a nurse but she went in with food, with money, anything that she could do to help some of her clients in the ghetto but she started then seeing the starving children on the street, the orphans who were alone who were dying on the streets in the ghetto. It was the really orphans where she got the idea to start taking these children out of the ghetto.

She organized with nine other social workers from Warsaw and this network of 10 social workers, 9 of whom were women, organized this network to get the children out of the ghetto and they put them in either foster homes or orphanages or convents or Catholic group homes to hide them for the duration of the war.

So it started out with the orphans but once the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto began which was July 27, 1942, then all of a sudden parents were wanting Irena and her network to take their children to save them. They knew then that the rumors were true. They were all going to be deported to Treblinka where they were going to be killed and they were desperate to get their children out.

So that’s when the network really got busy with doing multiple rescues every day. Social workers had to have liaisons, like up to 25 liaisons who were also incidentally mostly young women on both sides of the wall, both Jewish and Aryan side of the wall. They would carry out these amazing rescues. If I wrote this as a fiction, as a thriller you wouldn’t believe it but this is all true.

This whole story is true. Children were sedated and taken out of the ghetto in trams, wrapped in parcels. There were holes in the wall they could get through. They escaped through the sewers. One person who I’m now good friends with, she was rescued as a five month old from the Warsaw ghetto by Irena Sedler who anesthetized her, put her in a carpenter’s box and carried her out of the ghetto. It’s amazing. They were put in morgue wagons when the dead were taken out, taken in gunny sacks. The stories are incredible and hard to believe but they’re all true. They’ve all been validated.

Tim Knox: Now Irena herself, how old was she at the time?

Dr. Jack Mayer: When the war started she was 29 years old.

Tim Knox: Was she single? Did she have a family of her own?

Dr. Jack Mayer: She was married and separated from her husband, had no children of her own and interestingly, almost all of this rescue network were childless women. Irena looks back on it after the war, after I had met her and the girls had met her and she always said she didn’t think she could have done this if she had children, going to people to ask them to give up their children. If you have your own child you know how difficult that decision is.

Tim Knox: That’s one thing you talk about in the book. She would go door to door and ask these parents to give her their children so she could save them or get them out of the ghetto.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Exactly.

Tim Knox: To me, that’s unimaginable. Of course there are days when I would gladly send my kids off elsewhere. I find it so fascinating because this was a network primarily of the female social workers who were doing this. They really had to be a gutsy group of ladies. There’s a lot of espionage and like you said, things you would only see in the movies going on.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Another aspect of this story is that most stories of The Resistance and of partisans during World War II are stories of men and stories of fighting and this is a story of women and of rescue. It’s a nice complement. It gives more of a sort of compelling sense of how rescue and resistance manifested itself during the war.

I think also for young people to read this book and particularly for young women to read this book and be inspired by this network of mostly young women and these three young girls from Kansas. It’s remarkable. It’s the power of one person to change the world.

Tim Knox: They would rescue these children. They would smuggle them out of the country. Where would they place them?

Dr. Jack Mayer: When they were initially taken out they were put into these emergency care homes which were just designed to hold them for a brief period of time until they could be placed in either a foster home or a convent. The Catholic Church was very instrumental. They probably took half of the kids that Irena’s network took out of the ghetto. So they were in convents and orphanages and group homes. Most of them were in the Warsaw area. Some of them went as far away as 100 or 200 miles to convents in other cities. The people who took them had forged identity papers for them, often baptismal records.

The reason the book is called Life in a Jar is that Irena insisted that every child who was rescued, that their Jewish name be kept in a list along with their new Polish name from their forged documents. Part of this was just structural because the underground Zegota needed to supply monthly supports for the foster families that were caring for these kids but also and more importantly for Irena; she said, “I want these kids to know that they’re Jewish and to know what their Jewish names are.” When they kept the lists of all these kids they were buried under an apple tree in the backyard of one of her co-conspirators. Only Irena and the co-conspirator knew where they were.

Tim Knox: Wow, so the list was literally in a jar buried under an apple tree.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah and that’s where the name of the original play that the Kansas kids put on; that’s where that came from really to honor that sense of Irena, how important it was for her that these children know their identity.

Tim Knox: You mentioned that Irena eventually was taken in by the Gestapo. How long had she been doing the rescue and I would assume that she was perhaps tortured and questioned before let go? What do you know about that episode?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah, I mean that’s remarkable and no spoiler alert. I’m not going to tell you how she got out of prison because that’s a whole other story in itself. When you read the book you’ll be amazed at how she did it. She was imprisoned. She was arrested in October of 1943. The ghetto was already destroyed and most of what she was doing at that point was providing support for the children who were in hiding.

When she was arrested she was in Pawiak prison, which is one of the two prisons in the Warsaw ghetto. It was the most notorious prison perhaps in all of occupied Poland. It was a Gestapo prison. You were physically tortured in interrogation. Most people who went to Pawiak prison were executed or died in the prison. Very few people got out. Irena Sedler escaped from Pawiak prison.

Now Irena Sedler’s 4 feet, 11 inches tall. She’s a tiny women. If you look at her you think how can this person have first of all organized this network of rescuers and second of all survived this horrible 100 days of torture and interrogation in Pawiak and then escape? It’s a story beyond belief.

Tim Knox: Yeah so she’s small in stature but huge in spirit and strength and in other ways. You can only imagine what she must have went through in that prison.

Dr. Jack Mayer: She told me about it. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting her and interviewing her. The Kansas kids started visiting with her on a pretty regular basis after they found out that she was still alive. My wife and I got to go with the Kansas kids in 2005 when they were putting on the play in various cities in Poland and meeting with Irena. I got to also meet Irena and interview her at length. There are things that she has written or been interviewed before, which were sources so it’s all primary source research.

When I met her I could see right away – she was 95 then; it was her 95th birthday – she was just crackerjack. She ran the show, she ran the party. Every time the girls visited she made up their itinerary. You could see how this spitfire of a woman could organize this amazing rescue effort.

Tim Knox: By the time that you met her were you already in the process of writing the book? Where were you at?

Dr. Jack Mayer: I was and sort of an interesting story of how does a Vermont pediatrician come to write this story.

Tim Knox: That was my next question.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah so it started back in the year 2001 when I was sitting at my desk in my pediatric office. I get a ton of mail every day. Everything’s got about three seconds to either be thrown away or recycled or kept. I got the yearly calendar from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I just quickly flipped through it and came to a page with Irena Sendler’s picture on it.

Her picture looked a little like my niece and so that’s what stopped me and made me read the little paragraph next to her. It said that she had rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto and I slapped my head and said, what? Who’s Irena Sendler? I’ve never heard of her. Everybody knows Oskar Schindler and he rescued 1,100 Jews from a German concentration camp. Why don’t I know Irena Sendler?

So I kept this calendar. I put it in a file that I have in my desk that’s labeled ‘interesting stuff’. It just sat there for a couple of years. Then in February of 2004 I came into my office one night to see a child. On my desk opened is a copy of The Lady’s Home Journal, which I don’t keep in my waiting room, and it’s open clearly for me to read this article about three Kansas teenagers who rediscovered the forgotten history of Irena Sendler and had turned her into a Polish national hero. They really cracked open or helped to crack open the silence about the Holocaust in Poland.

I remember this calendar and I called their teacher in Kansas to ask him… just I was thinking about writing a fiction about the Warsaw ghetto at that time. I just wanted information about Irena Sendler. When I got him on the phone he said, “It’s odd you should call because we’re looking for someone who’s a writer who would want to write this story.” One thing led to another. I went out to Kansas to meet them in November of 2004 and I just fell in love with these girls and this project.

Incidentally they come from a small rural town in southeast Kansas. The town that their high school is in, Union Town, has 288 people. The high school had 120 students and it was a school with no diversity. There had never been a Jew in this high school. There had never been a person of color, never even a Catholic.

It was a white Protestant high school and it was also one of the lowest income school districts in Kansas. So the least likely place for a story of this magnitude and power to burst forth and the least likely girls you’d think would do it because if you’ve read the book these are three girls, each of whom are carrying a heavy burden that has to do with their mothers.

Tim Knox: You got the calendar with Irena’s picture on it. You held onto that but then you saw a Lady’s Home Journal Magazine article. Who brought that to your attention?

Dr. Jack Mayer: I didn’t know for the longest time and I only recently found out it was the sister of a pediatrician who worked occasionally in my office. She worked like a per diem in my office. Her sister was coming to visit and knew that I was Jewish and might be interested in this article so she just left it on my desk. Didn’t bother to tell me about it. I asked everybody and nobody knew.

Tim Knox: Did you think this was divine intervention? I mean what was going on there?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah it was and continues to be sort of a ghost story. More than once in the process of writing this book I have felt a finger in my back.

Tim Knox: Pushing you along.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Pushing me along.

Tim Knox: So the three teenagers in this little – I’m from a Podunk town so I can use the word Podunk – this little Kansas Podunk town. They somehow come across the story of Irena and decide to create a play based on her life and her actions.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Right, exactly.

Tim Knox: Are they the ones who called it Life in a Jar? Was that the name of the play?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Life in a Jar. Their teacher, it was a remarkable social studies teacher, Norman Conard, who was really responsible for shepherding them along in this project. These kids do primary source research. They interviewed survivors from the Kansas City Jewish community. They read through Holocaust research and diaries and memoirs and this kind of primary source information.

They went to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. They went to other Holocaust Museums just to find out as much, to get as much primary source information to do this project for National History Day. That’s what National History Day’s all about. That’s another remarkable part of this story, the National History Day program.

Tim Knox: You mentioned earlier that Irena’s story kind of got lost. I assume there was a kind of an air of hush-hush about the Holocaust, especially in Poland after the war. Talk a little bit about that because she really did get lost to history until many years later, didn’t she?

Dr. Jack Mayer: She did and it’s true of a lot of rescuers from the War. After the War in Poland – a very repressive, anti-Semitic communist government took power so until 1989 the communist government considered rescuers and partisans from the War as outlaws because they were freedom fighters and they really had no use for freedom fighters.

So anyone who was part of the partisan movement after the War kept their silence, people who even had received the Yad Vashem medal from the Israeli Holocaust authority. Yad Vashem is for righteous gentiles who rescued Jews during the War. People in Poland who received those kept them hidden. They didn’t tell anybody about it. There were consequences to being identified as a rescuer. People like Irena Sendler kept their silence.

It was only after the fall of communism that people were able to start having a dialogue but even… you know, the communist government fell in 1989 and even as long as 10 to 15 years later there was still this sort of conspiracy of silence about the Holocaust. Now that their final witnesses and rescuers are taking their stories to their graves, people are starting to become really interested, and this new generation of Polish young people are very interested in this history.

That really is another sense of what’s important for me about this book, what it says about Holocaust education and how we use this kind of story in Holocaust education. Because it’s these two stories. It’s a contemporary story of high school kids just like any other high school kid anywhere and this historical account of Irena Sendler and what her network did, but it’s the way these two stories come together that’s so important.

I think if we want to teach the Holocaust in a way that is significant so that kids carry it in their hearts and it changes their view of their world and their behavior then it has to be their story as well. It has to be compelling. It has to keep them up at night. It has to bring them to tears. It’s got to be their story as well as the Holocaust story and that’s what so compelled me about writing this book, the way that these two beautiful stories come together – the redemptive story of Irena Sendler and this lovely connection that these students from Kansas made with Irena. Then they changed the world.

Tim Knox: Is it your fear or your thought that if we don’t keep talking about the Holocaust it may just be one of those things that goes into history, which would be a real shame.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah I mean that is the fear. Unless we keep this story alive and our young people have to know this story so they will recognize this inhumanity when it returns, and it does with appalling regularity – Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, Syria. The list just goes on and on. This kind of story is an immunization against recurrence. As a pediatrician I immunize against infectious disease and as a writer I’m immunizing against intolerance and for respect and love and justice. I think that’s the best way that we can prevent these kind of atrocities from recurring.

Tim Knox: Right and I agree totally. Let’s talk a little about the amount of research that you put into this book. How long did you work on the book?

Dr. Jack Mayer: It took six years. I was practicing pediatrics at the same time.

Tim Knox: You were giving shots with one hand and typing with the other.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Exactly.

Tim Knox: Talk a little bit really quickly if you will what it was like to meet her because you were talking about when you did get to go over with the girls and meet her. This is someone you had done a lot of research on and I would think intimate with almost on a mental capacity basis because of the research you’d done. What was it like to meet this lady?

Dr. Jack Mayer: It was a completely remarkable experience. My wife and I first met her at her 95th birthday party in Warsaw. We walked into the room and here’s this crowded room with a lot of people. We walked into the room and she turns to us and there’s just a glint in her eye of connection. I mean it’s so heart-to-heart. It was just a remarkable connection of our eyes. Then I was able to talk with her and interview her and she was… I already knew a lot about her by then because I had done a ton of research on her and her network and on Warsaw and the ghetto and The Resistance.

She was amazed also at how much I knew about her background, her life, knowing that when she was 13 years old she got into a fight because one of her Jewish schoolmates was being abused and bullied and how she was thrown out of Warsaw University for writing a report that encouraged the acceptance of minorities in Poland.

So we had a very special connection although it was brief. You could just see by looking at her how organized, how sharp, how compelling a human being she is and how she could have organized this rescue network.

Tim Knox: She sounds like someone that whether she was in Poland in World War II or in Alabama in the ‘60s or wherever, she sounds like someone who was going to be an activist no matter she was and what age it was going to be at.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah absolutely and she continued even after the War, even under Communism she continued to agitate for the rights of disabled children and for children in general. When you think about what is it that makes someone a rescuer as opposed to most of us who are just going to be scared bystanders to something like this and she attributed it, she said, “It was because of what my father told me.” He told her two things over and over again. He said, “Irena, if you see someone drowning you have to jump in the water and save them even if you can’t swim.” The second thing he said was, “There are only two kinds of people in this world – good people and bad people and regardless of race, religion or creed.” She carried that with her and I think that informed a lot of her courageous activity.

Tim Knox: Now this started 14 years ago.

Dr. Jack Mayer: 10 years ago. It’s still going on today.

Tim Knox: Those Kansas teens, I guess they are grown women now. Is the play still going on? Are they still involved?

Dr. Jack Mayer: The play is still going on. Liz, who started the project, who was the kid who you would think would not graduate from high school, a really hard luck kid. She was abandoned by her mother when she was five years old and brought up by her grandparents. She was a really angry young teenager. Well she just got her second Master’s degree. Her first one was in education; her second one was in history and she’s teaching Holocaust education to middle school students.

Megan, the second girl, is now the Program Director for the Life in a Jar Foundation in Kansas. The teacher, Norman, retired to setup this non-profit foundation, the Irena Sendler Life in a Jar Foundation. It’s part of the Lowell Milken Center and what they do is they work with high school students all over the world to do project based learning that reflects the legacy of Irena Sendler – of tolerance, of respect for all people, of decency. That is an ongoing project that Megan is a Program Director for. Sabrina just had her third child and she’s an elementary school teacher. So all these kids have done really well.

There’s a whole new cast of kids who now perform the play. The play’s now about almost half an hour long. As they got more information from Irena and other children that Irena had rescued and other scholars, they then enlarged the play. So it still goes on today. I mean these kids who started as students of history became agents of history. It’s just remarkable how this change has impacted also Poland.

Tim Knox: If you look at how these former teenagers, how they ended up and what they’re doing today. Do you think one of the things that attracted them to Irena was they perhaps saw a little bit of themselves in what she was doing and took that as inspiration?

Dr. Jack Mayer: I think so. I think it’s a very complicated sort of psychodynamic that went on for each one of these girls about what it was that so attracted them to this story. This is something that one of Irena’s caregivers told me after she had passed in 2008 was that the last three children that Irena Sendler rescued were the girls from Kansas. It’s so true. That relationship that they developed was such a healing relationship for each of these girls with the burdens that they carried.

Tim Knox: That’s such an interesting point. You have to wonder where those three girls would be now and what they would be doing had they not gotten involved in this project.

Dr. Jack Mayer: It changed their lives irrevocably.

Tim Knox: Jack, it’s a wonderful book. Is there something you hope the reader carries away with them and shares with others?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Well I hope that they first of all learn something about the Warsaw ghetto and that this piece of history is transmitted because we need to remember this. I hope that they also come away inspired by this story. A lot of Holocaust literature can make you angry or just despondent or feeling vengeful at what happened. Those stories are important.

This story has a level of inspiration in it for young people today and that’s my hope and my prayer is that they are the ones who read this book so that they can see themselves in Liz, Megan and Sabrina and think to themselves, you know what, I can do something to repair the world also. None of us can fix the whole mess that we’re in. That’s impossible but neither are any of us free to desist from doing something. So my hope is that people, especially young people will read this book and feel inspired to do what they can to repair the world, whether it has to do w bullying in their high school or whether it has to do with atrocities in Syria or Darfur and everything in between.

Tim Knox: I think that’s such an important lesson to learn. You call it the power of one person. I think especially young people that they realize that they may be a single person but they do have that power. It’s empowering to these young folks as well as old folks like me.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah I think it’s definitely for a general audience. I mean this book is not just written for a young adult but it’s for a general audience and I think that every one of us has something to give to this world to repair the damage, no matter how small. Every little act of repair is redemptive and is powerful.

Tim Knox: Do you have any plans to take this to film?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Yeah, you got Steven Spielberg on your speed dial?

Tim Knox: You know what, I happen to know Kevin Bacon. But seriously I would love to see this on film and it’s a story that I think lends itself to Spielberg, doesn’t it?

Dr. Jack Mayer: It does but the right director would have to come along and it would have to be done with such care for not only the story of Irena and the rescuers but these are real people, but also with real care for the Kansas kids and their families. One of the aspects of courage that these kids demonstrated, these girls from Kansas, is they let me tell their story and their stories are pretty heavy. So if this is to be a film which I think would be wonderful, the way the kids interact with Irena would be a heart wrenching story. It just has to be done by the right person.

Tim Knox: Dr. Jack Mayer, the book is Life in a Jar: The Irene Sendler Project. Tell the audience how they can find out more about you and the book.

Dr. Jack Mayer: I have a website that’s LongTrailPress.com. My book is available at bookstores, on Amazon. It’s a Kindle, it’s a Nook, it’s an iBook. It should be readily available. I also should mention that I give 60% of my author royalties to the Irena Sendler Life in a Jar Foundation. In some sense the simple act of buying the book is an act of repairing the book because that money goes to the Foundation.

The Kansas folks at the Lowell Milken Center continue to sell the book and the other website to look at is IrenaSendler.org, which is the Life in a Jar Foundation. There’s a ton of information there and it also has the calendar of when and where they’re putting on the play.

Tim Knox: Very good. What kind of work does the organization do specifically?

Dr. Jack Mayer: Specifically they’re focused on working with high school students about project based learning, about unsung heroes in history. That’s their mission. They look for these stories like Irena Sendler who nobody knows what these people did and they resurrect, bring those stories to life again and tell those important stories of heroism and of people who refuse to be bystanders.

Tim Knox: Do you have anything you’re working on now? What’s next for Dr. Jack, the writer?

Dr. Jack Mayer: I got something else that’s kicking around. That’s for another day.

Tim Knox: No spoilers, alright. Dr. Jack Mayer, this has been wonderful. Life in a Jar: The Irene Sendler Project. We will put up links on our website as well to the websites you mentioned. Dr. Jack, this has been wonderful and when you do have the next project underway I hope you come back on.

Dr. Jack Mayer: Okay, that’d be lovely. Thank you, Tim. I enjoyed our time.

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One Thought on “Dr. Jack Mayer: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

  1. jniech on August 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm said:

    Thank you for the interview and wish the book every success.

    Can please ask you not to call them “Polish ghettos” in future. They were German created ghettos for Jews in occupied Poland.

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