Back to All Events

Middlebury, VT - Life in a Jar

  • Isley Library 75 Main Street Middlebury, VT, 05753 United States (map)

Author Jack Mayer will discuss Middlebury author and Pediatrician Jack Mayer will discuss his 2 books, LIFE IN A JAR: THE IRENA SENDLER PROJECT and BEFORE THE COURT OF HEAVEN.

He'll review the history of Germany from the end of World War I and Germany's fledgling Weimar democracy to the rise of the Third Reich. This talk, presented in conjunction with the Vermont Humanities Council and the AAUW (American Assoc. of University Women), is the product of extensive research for the historical novel, Before the Court of Heaven.

Before the Court of Heaven is based on the true story of a fascist assassin, Ernst Werner Techow and his turning from evil. Three themes impel this novel: understanding the rise of Nazism, unfathomable forgiveness, and the complexity of redemption. A portrait of Germany between world wars, from revolution and unrest following World War I to the rise of the Nazis, World War II and the Holocaust, Before the Court of Heaven portrays ordinary people becoming complicit in extraordinary crimes.

Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project is the true story of a Polish Catholic social worker during World War II. She organized a rescue network of fellow social workers to save 2,500 Jewish children from certain death in the Warsaw ghetto. Incredibly, after the war her heroism, like that of many others, was suppressed by communist Poland and remained virtually unknown for 60 years.

Unknown, that is, until three high school girls from an economically depressed, rural school district in southeast Kansas stumbled upon a tantalizing reference to Sendler’s rescues, which they fashioned into a history project, a play they called Life in a Jar. Their innocent drama was first seen in Kansas, then the Midwest, then New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, and finally Poland, where they elevated Irena Sendler to a national hero, championing her legacy of tolerance and respect for all people.

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is a Holocaust history and more. It is the inspirational story of Protestant students from Kansas, each carrying her own painful burden, each called in her 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.