In 67 CE, Roman soldiers captured Gamla, a fortress in Israel's Golan region, and killed all its inhabitants. The ancient historian Josephus Flavius, a leader of the Jewish revolt against Rome, fortified Gamla as a main stronghold in 66 CE. The Romans attempted to take the city by means of a siege ramp, but were turned back by the defenders; only on the second attempt did they succeed in penetrating the fortifications and conquering the city. Thousands of inhabitants were slaughtered, while others chose to jump to their deaths from the top of the cliff. The location of ancient Gamla was discovered in archeological excavations during the 1970s; the remains have been preserved as a national park.
Recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous among the Nations, Irena epitomized compassion, love, kindness and sacrifice. Moreover, whenever she was bestowed with an honour or recognition for her spectacularly noble efforts and accomplishments, she expressed genuine humility and modesty, even so far as remorse, in believing she could have saved more children if she had tried to. In all of human history, one would struggle to find a heroine of such magnitude, who emodied such gentleness and modesty. Irena shone like an angel in the terrible, tragic darkness of the Holocaust.