American Hall of Fame Teacher to Receive Award From Polish Government and Taube Philanthropies


Kansas Student History Project Brought Polish Woman’s Anti-Nazi Heroism to the World

American Hall of Fame Teacher to Receive Award From Polish Government and Taube PhilanthropiesWARSAW, POLAND – On June 11, 2018, San Francisco-based Taube Philanthropies founder Tad Taube and Polish Culture Minister Piotr Tadeusz Gliński will present the 2018 Irena Sendler Memorial Award to Norman Conard, a renowned educator from Kansas who, together with his high school students, brought the untold story of Irena Sendler to public view, illuminating her historical importance and enabling the world to celebrate her anti-Nazi activism in her own lifetime and in perpetuity. Conard is the first American to receive the award.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Norman Conard for his pivotal efforts promoting Irena Sendler’s courageous aid to Jewish victims in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive,” said Mr. Taube. “Through his innovative teaching, centered on unsung heroes throughout history, Mr. Conard has built a bridge of Holocaust memory between Poland and the United States.”

Sendler was a Polish social worker who saved several hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, but who lived in total obscurity after World War II until being rediscovered through Conard’s student history assignment. The award in her name honors Polish citizens committed to strengthening Polish-Jewish relations and preserving Polish Jewish heritage and Holocaust memory. Conard was chosen as a special recipient to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Sendler’s passing and to honor her life’s work, since it was his assignment—combined with the intrepid work of his students—that brought her daring efforts out of the shadows.

 “It is an honor to accept an award from Taube Philanthropies and the Ministry of Culture,” said Mr. Conard. “The life of Irena Sendler is one of great heroism and bravery. Getting to know this wonderful person was life-changing.”

In the fall of 1999, Conard encouraged high school students from Uniontown, Kansas (population 247) to research Sendler’s work and present their project to the National History Day program. 

Their efforts took the form of a play, Life in a Jar, which depicts Sendler’s heart-stopping rescue mission to smuggle children out of the ghetto and into the safety of adoptive families, convents and orphanages during the war. Since the play was developed, it has been performed almost 400 times throughout the world, adapted into feature and documentary films, and released as a bestselling book.

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About the Irena Sendler Memorial Award

The Irena Sendler Memorial Award was created in 2008 by Taube Philanthropies in memory of Irena Sendler whom Yad Vashem named a “Righteous Among The Nations.” Each year, in commemoration of the May 12 anniversary of Sendler’s passing, the award is presented to Polish citizens who have been exemplary in preserving and revitalizing​ their country’s Jewish heritage. Nominations for the annual award are reviewed by a panel of Taube Philanthropies advisory board members and Jewish cultural leaders in Poland. For more information about Sendler, the award, and previous recipients, visit:  http://nagrodairenysendlerowe

About the 2018 Irena Sendler Memorial Award Recipient Norman Conard 

Inducted into the National Teachers Hall Fame in 2007, Norman Conard is a third-generation educator who taught for over 30 years, during which time he developed non-traditional teaching methods that extend the boundaries of the classroom. One of his great sources of pride is having seen over 60 of his students achieve national recognition in the national history competition, and almost 200 students receive state history awards. He is known internationally for his development of projects that teach respect and understanding among all people and for innovation in project-based learning. Mr. Conard retired from classroom teaching in 2007 to become Executive Director of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.

About Taube Philanthropies 

For more than 30 years, Taube Philanthropies has been a leader in supporting diverse educational, research, cultural, community, and youth organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Poland, and Israel. Founded by businessman and philanthropist Tad Taube in 1981, and now led by Tad and his wife Dianne Taube, the organization works to ensure that citizens have the freedom and opportunity for advancement of their goals and dreams. Taube Philanthropies makes this a reality by issuing grants through its two foundations, the Taube Family Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. For more information, visit