Janusz Korczak (1878 – 1942)

Bravely, Korczak turned down numerous opportunities to be released of the deadly fate being ordered upon his children.


by M. J. Joachim

Picturing the disturbing scene of children marching to their deaths is traumatizing at best. Loving those same children enough to protect them from the fears and horrors associated with such a fate, all the while, tending them with each heavily burdened step, and laying down one’s life to offer peace and dignity to those children as they drew their last breaths, is the very real legacy of Janusz Korczak, a man dedicated to the children he loved and served during their lifetimes.

Korczak’s life revolved around children. From the time he was a little boy, he always showed compassion for those less fortunate, disabled and shunned by others. His education led him to pursue many careers including educator, pediatrician and author (primarily of children’s books). Later on, in 1912, Korczak would establish a Jewish orphanage destined to be targeted by the Germans when they invaded Poland during World War II.

This was the scene of a man determined to soothe the hearts of the children under his care. Bravely, Korczak turned down numerous opportunities to be released of the deadly fate being ordered upon his children. He would have none of it, each time declining the chance to live. Instead, he prepared the children for a great journey, telling them to dress in their best clothes, hold their heads high and smile. He did not worry them with the horrors they would surely face, but instead comforted them, reassuring them that all would be well, come what may.

Korczak’s children followed his lead, no complaint to be had among them. Conflicting accounts state the children and Korczak died in the gas chamber together or were executed by gunfire. The account of events that does not vary is how the children and Korczak faced pure evil and died with the utmost dignity, despite the horrific tragedy that remained their fate.


Special note: Janusc Korczak is the pseudonym of Henryk Goldszmit.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain

©2011, 2012 All Rights Reserved Teresa DePoy