Modest Holocaust heroine, 97, becomes celebrity

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WARSAW -- The pilgrims keep coming, seeking out the fragile 97-year-old woman in her tiny nursing home room filled with pictures and flowers.

The attention tires Irena Sendler sometimes. She never sought credit for smuggling 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto anyway. Not for risking execution to save other people's children, or holding out under torture by the Nazis, or enduring decades as a nonperson under the communist regime that followed.

She once dismissed her wartime deeds as merely ''the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.''

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