Irena Gut Opdyke Posthumously Honored For Her Courage By The ADL
Irena Gut Opdyke, whose courageous story of hiding and ultimately saving Jews during World War II and who is the subject of the current Broadway play, Irena's Vow, was honored posthumously by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) this week for her heroism in risking her life to save others.
The ADL's "Courage to Care" Award, which honors rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust era, was presented to Irena's daughter, Jeannie Opdyke Smith, during a ceremony at the League's National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Past recipients of the Courage to Care Award include Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, Eduardo Propper de Callejón, Khaled Abdelwahhab, Ernst Leitz II and Emilie and Oskar Schindler.
"Irena Gut Opdyke stood up against great personal odds to save Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor who was saved by his Polish Catholic nanny, in presenting the award. "At a moment of moral collapse, she did not forget the essential principle of leading a moral life: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."
Ms. Odpyke's story is being told on Broadway every night in the new play Irena's Vow by Dan Gordon, starring four-time Tony nominee, and three-time Drama Desk Award-winner Tovah Feldshuh, and directed by Michael Parva. The complete cast of Irena's Vow includes Sandi Carroll, Tracee Chimo, Steven Hauck, Scott Klavan, Peter Reznikoff, Thomas Ryan, Gene Silvers, John Stanisci and Maja Wampuszyc.
Irena's Vow is the uplifting true story about one of the most courageous and unsung heroines of World War II. During the German occupation of Poland, Irena Gut Opdyke (Feldshuh), a Polish Catholic, was forced to work as head housekeeper for a very prominent German major. Over a two year period of service, Irena would risk her own life in order to save the lives of twelve Jewish refugees whom she secretly took under her care. Irena's Vow is the extraordinary story of one woman's choice and the twelve lives that would ultimately be saved - or lost - by her decision.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
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