"I knew I could only be killed once. I might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb". Irene was a 17-year-old nursing student when the Nazis invaded Poland. They took over her country and her life. Nothing in her innocent girlhood could have prepared her for the horrors she was to witness. However, instinctively, Irene knew she had to resist the evil in any way possible. Standing by was not an option. Eventually forced to work as a housekeeper to a Nazi officer, Irene carried out her most audacious and heroic act. She hid twelve Jewish people in the basement of the officer's villa and protected them even through the loss of her own freedom, and at the risk of her life.
Irene Gut Opdyke has spoken to hundreds of school, church and other community groups about her momentous wartime experiences. She has been honoured in both the US and in Israel, at the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles in the Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem. She has now collected her memories together in this autobiography of her girlhood, with the help of a respected American novelist. Author lives: USA