Janus Korczak

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Janus Korczak

JanuszKorczak was born as HenrykGoldsmit in July in 1878 into an affluent, Jewish family. His parents didn’t practice their religion, but they were Polish patriots and because of it he wasn’t aware of being a Jew. His father was a lawyer. He was a really intelligent but haughty andhe didn’t care about his family – wife and children. He fell ill around 1890 and was admitted to a mental hospital where he died six years later. Henryk didn’t feel close relationship with his parents and sister – Anna. At home he felt lonely and unloved.Henryk was given the best education available. However, the school he attended to was based on fear, violence and loneliness.As a fifteen-year-old boy Henryk worked as a tutor after school, because as a young man he wanted to help other children and his mother in maintain their house. As a pupil Henryk created a lot, wrote to newspapers and took part in literature competitions.

Pedagogical rules and works

Janusz Korczak was the pen name by which Dr. Henrik Goldschmid (1878-1942), a Polish-Jewish physican was universally known. The author of enormously popular children's books (including King Matt, the First, the characters of which were pictured on Polish stamps) and a beloved radio personality, he was an educator who run two orphanages the philosophy of which was guided principals enunciated in the Declaration of Children's Rights he authored. He devoted his life to children. During the German occupation of Poland, he and the Jewish children of one of his orphanages were made to move to the Warsaw Ghetto which the Germans created in Warsaw. One of the most complex and tragic figures of the Holocaust, he continued to ran his home for Jewish orphans in the Ghetto, until he and his charges were transported to Treblinka in 1942. Korczak aroused controversy because of his policy of non-violent resistance and his martyrdom. Though efforts were made to save his life by having him secretly leave the Ghetto, he refused, feeling unable to let the children in his orphanage be taken to Treblinka without him to comfort them. Thus he and his children were transported to the death camp on August 5, 1943. His heroism was immortalized in Andrzej Wajda's 1990 film "Korczak."http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/classroom/korczak.html

Korczak was the author of many books for children but also pedagogical guides where he put all his views on bringing up a child. In 1937, the Polish Academy of Literature awarded him with the Golden Laurel for his literary achievements. Between 1926 and 1930, he ran a unique magazine for children entitled Mały Przegląd [The Little Review], which was published together with children. As the Old Doctor, between 1935 and 1936, he hosted in the Polish Radio a programme for children called Gadaninki [Small talks], which was heartily listened also by the parents.Here are some of his works: How to Love a Child, 1920-1921The Bankruptcy of Little Jack, 1926King Matt, the First, 1928The Rules of Life, 1930Kaytek the Wizard, 1934Playful Pedagogy, 1939Ghetto Diary, 1942

In September, when the war broke out, Korczak put on his Polish army officer’s uniform as he believed we would be called up. Unfortunately, his age did not allow it. He volunteered for the Polish Radio Information Service and he was one of the best collaborators of the Emergency Service. Not paying attention to the exploding shells and the whistling bullets, he appeared several times a day and brought information about all those who needed help and all those who could have provided it.[8] Once the Hitler’s occupation began, the existence of the orphanage became endangered. At that time, there were 100 children. Korczak raised money and gifts among people of good will, institutions and private persons. He used to write proclamations “To Jews”, “To Citizens Christians”. Korczak did not subordinate to the order of wearing the Star of David on the arm. He wore the uniform of the Polish officer which resulted in repressions, including imprisonment. In October 1940, the Dom Sierot orphanage, which numbered 150 children, was moved to the area of the ghetto, first to Chłodna street and then to Śliska. Korczak tried very hard not to let the children feel a dramatic change of conditions. There was still functioning the old house order, the children’s council and the arbitration by fellow charges. They still published the House Newspaper, the circle for useful entertainment was still working, as well as the system of voluntary cleaning duties. Korczak organised in the House a primary school and cycles of interesting lectures. Holidays were celebrated festively. Music, poetry, and theatre were sources of joy and consolation – an escape from the nightmare of the ghetto. Despite the prohibition introduced by the occupant, “at Korczak’s” there were played pieces of Polish composers such as Chopin, and the poetry of Konopnicka and Broniewski was declaimed. The guests watched, clearly moved, Rabindranaht Tagore’s The Post Office performed by the children on 18 July 1942. It was a play prohibited by the Nazi censorship, chosen by Korczak somehow as a presentiment of the upcoming death, to which he wanted to prepare the children mentally.[9] Korczak’s Dom Sierot beamed with the Polish culture and introduced its values to the ghetto, which was defending desperately the universal values.When the last hours of his life were to come, he wrote in his Diary: “I do not wish bad to anyone. I cannot. I do not know how to do this.”[12] This last entry is dated on 4 August 1942. The liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto began on 22 July 1942, and on 6 August it covered all dormitories and orphanages. Now, only the terrified eye-witnesses testify how it happened. One of them, Nachum Remba, reports: “Szmerling, the Jewish commander of the Umschlagplatz ordered to bring out the dormitories. On the head of the march, there was Korczak. No! That image I will never forget. It was not a march to the carriage, it was an organised silent protest against banditry! Contrary to the cramped mob that went like kettle to slaughter, he began a march never seen earlier. All children were grouped in fours, Korczak on the head with his eyes turned to the sky. He held two children by the hand and led the march. (…) These were the first Jewish Madre which went to Heath with dignity, throwing to the barbarians looks full of contempt. (…) Even the order service stood at attention and saluted.”[13] This view will not be forgotten, this march still lasts… it becomes a legend.www.jewrnalism.org

The War

Famous quotes

Monuments of Korczak commemorating his life and courage

“I exist not to be loved and admired, but to love and act. It is not the duty of those around me to love me. Rather, it is my duty to be concerned about the world, about man.” ― Janusz Korczak, Warsaw Ghetto Memoirs of Janusz Korczak“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today. They have a right to be taken seriously, and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be. 'The unknown person' inside of them is our hope for the future.” ― Janusz Korczak"There are no children, just people!"

Monument in Warsaw'sJewish Cemetary

Monument at Yad VashemTelAviv

Janusz Korczak -The Old DoctorAuthor, Educator and Hero

The Childchood

General information

"Korczak" by Andrzej Wajda seen by youtubers

According to Korczak, the balance of somebody’s life matters for the world only if this life was of social value and left something for the people afterwards. Otherwise, what would we need a biography for? Korczak asked and still asks us: “...have you lived? How much have you worked? How many loaves of bread have you baked for other people? How many trees have you sowed or planted? (...) Have you given out, shared, presented your life? How much have you defended what you were fighting for?”www.jewrnalism.org

His life ideology

2012 Janusz Korczak Year

The Orphanages

In 1906 the "Help for Orphans" Society with registered office at 2 Franciszkańska Street decided to build their own orphanage. On 12 May 1910 they bought a square at 92 Krochmalna Street (currently 6 Jaktorowska Street) for 24,000 rubles. A Building Committee was constituted with the guidance of Isaac Eliasberg. The outstanding doctor and pedagogue Janusz Korczak was also a member of the committee. The building was designed by Henryk Stiefelman. A cornerstone for a building for 106 children was laid on 14 June 1911. Janusz Korczak became a director of the Orphanage. The building was comissioned in 1912.On the ground floor there was a spacious recreational hall that was also used as a dining hall. Near to them there were classrooms and a director's chamber. The pupils' bedrooms and the room of Stefania Wilczyńska, that directed the Orphanage with Korczak, were situated on higher floors. Korczak himself lived in the attic.The Orphanage was a coeducational establishment. At the beginning 85 boys and girls lived there. Korczak implemented innovational pedagogical methods in the Orphanage. The children had their own council, they expressed their opinions at meetings and in their newspaper. On the autumn of 1940, after the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto, Germans forced Korczak and Wilczyńska to move the Orphanage. On that time Korczak found a new place in the building of the J. and M. Roesler National Trading School for Men (Polish: Państwowa Szkoła Handlowa Męska im. J. i M. Roeslerów) at 33 Chłodna Street. Another moving came in the autumn of 1941. The Orphanage was then relocated to 16 Sienna Street, to the building of the Trade Union of Trade, Industry and Office Workers in Warsaw (Polish: Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Handlowych, Przemysłowych i Biurowych m. st. Warszawy).On 5 August 1942 Janusz Korczak, Stefania Wilczyńska and their fosterlings were casted out from Sienna street to Umschlagplatz, from where they were took away to German concentration camp in Treblinka.http://www.sztetl.org.pl/


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