Irena Sendlerowa (1910-2008) a Polish Catholic social worker, saved the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during WWII. As a member of the Polish Underground, she helped to smuggle the children out of the Warsaw ghetto by posing as an inspector of sanitary conditions during a typhus outbreak. The rescued infants and children were given false identity papers, and their true names and families were written on lists that were placed in jars and buried for safekeeping.
She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, severely tortured and sentenced to death, but was rescued by the Zegota who bribed German guards on the way to her execution. She lived in hiding after that. She was recognized by Yad Vashem, by Pope John Paul II, and the Polish government. She received the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award postumously, and was nominated for a Noble Peace Prize in 2007.
In a letter to the Polish Parliament she wrote, “Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.”
More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler