Janusz Korczak: He Stayed
With His Children
By Cristin Arahovites
Cold Spring Harbor High School
New York, USA
Janusz Korczak was born Henryk Goldszmit, on July 22, 1878. He grew up in a Jewish family and decided to study medicine. Earlier in his life he was known as a literary figure in Poland. Janusz chose to lead another way of life and put his heart into the plight of the poor and orphaned children in Warsaw's quarters.
From 1911, Janusz Korczak led the orphan house, Dom Sierot. He developed the ideas of a peaceful and classless society. In 1919, he created another children's house called, Nasz Dom, which means "our house."
Janusz was always fighting for a better community and education for the children. He was a principal for the children houses, a doctor, a publisher of a children's newspaper, as well as an author. Korczak was also an expert witness in the district court of minors. In this position, he always sided with the children.
Then World War II began in 1939. Under the regime of the Nazis in Warsaw, they created the Jewish ghetto and the orphan house was forced to move there. Instead of protecting himself, Janusz lived with the children under inhumane conditions. When, on August 5, the Germans rounded up the two hundred children he'd cared for, Korczak stayed with them during their "deportation" from the orphanage, to the trains, to Treblinka Camp.
People who observed Korczak and "his children" walking to the train describe the children holding hands, carrying knapsacks and marching with dignity. Janusz was a courageous and brave man to stay with his orphans. All perished at Treblinka.
Online Sources: [ Updated: November 2005 ]
Janusz Korczak Communication Center:
Janusz Korczak (Wikipedia):
Janusz Korczak Living Heritage Association:
Janusz Korczak (Jewish Virtual Library):
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