Smuggled at least 2500 children and infants from the Warsaw Ghetto. (Irena Sendlerowa)
She was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Al Gore won. :|
I do want to address this because it often comes up with both her and Rosalind Franklin.
The fact is, the Nobel Prize is poorly named. It is really more of a grant, though no conditions are placed on its use. It is not awarded posthumously (which was the main reason why Franklin didn’t win, not sexism— Curie had won both of hers 50 years before Watson and Crick won theirs), and the prize money is supposed to help the winners continue their work. Sendlerowa was nominated at age 97, and she died the next year. She also hadn’t really done any humanitarian work since the war. So her prize money would have likely just ended up being a really nice inheritance to her next-of-kin.
Meanwhile, Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (who also won with him) actually have the chance to continue their work on environmental issues, and an injection of $2 million into their projects could really do some future good, not just reward a past good.
Sendlerowa was named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government, awarded the Commander’s Cross by the Israeli Institute,the Order of the White Eagle (Poland’s highest civilian decoration), the Jan Karski Award “For Courage and Heart,” by the American Center of Polish Culture, and was posthumously honored by UNICEF. She was well recognized for the good she did— and even if she wasn’t, it wouldn’t change the awesome good she did.