Who was Janusz Korczak ?
Janusz Korczak was named at birth on 22nd July 1878 in Warsaw Henryk Goldszmit. He grew up in an assimilative Jewish family and decided himself for a study in medicine. As result of his literary engagement he early was well known in Poland as literary figure. Though a soon advance in international academic circles was predicted he decided himself for another way of life and engaged himself for the poor and orphan children in Warsaw´s desperate quarters. As small boy he already slipped of his parent-house to play with the children of the backyards.
Parallel to his decision to take engagement for these children and deciding himself against middle-class life and career he changed his name to Janusz Korczak. The pseudonym was taken from him by a favored novel of the 19th century by J.I.Krazewski about `Janasz Korczak and the pretty Swordsweeperlady´. The Printer by mistake changed Janasz to Janusz and so he left that so.
From 1911 Korczak guided the orphan-house `Dom Sierot´ which was created by his plans. Here he developed as result of the reflected practice the idea of a peaceful and classless society. This was caused by the recognition of Korczak that the society split in two parties : the adult and the children of which the children where the weaker party. Between both there was a permanent fight of unequal because the children had no chance in this fight.
Though both parties had same social fate of childhood, the adults neglected their childhood and Korczak tried to make this conscious to the adult and the children.
Besides of the guidance of the orphan-house `Dom Sierot´ and later also another children’s-home, the `Nasz Dom´ Korczak permanently thinks about his experiences, developing his sight of education and fighting for a better fate for the children in the street. In his books for children about `King James I.´ to be precise `Krol Macius´ for example he gives description how children as experts in their own matters in a world of children structure their own world and how adults may support them.
In his pedagogical principal books `How you shall love a child´ and `The rights of a child to be respected´ he explains a better view of education as result of his experiences and his loving engagement. Both don’t contain a static theory with strict solutions. His pedagogy rather is an appeal to the adults to prove their relation to the children and to change themselves.
In `Dom Sierot´ he realizes his idea of a democratic republic of children. The children have their own parliament, court and newspaper - the `Maly Przeglad / Little Magazine ´ and many other `institutions´ where children and adults deal with each other teaching both adults and children how to relate with another without suppression or domination. For the child’s-court Korczak teached that forgiving is more important than revenge and punishment. With the newspaper he teached freedom of opinion and consciousness of democracy and trained it. The children’s-newspaper was weekly attachment of a daily adults-newspaper with a circulation of 60.000 pcs. in 1926.
Besides of his duties as principal of both children-houses, doctor and bookwriter Janusz Korczak also was Polish radio, principal of an experimental school, publisher of a children’s-newspaper and docent at Polish University.
Korczak also acted as expert witness to the district court of minors. In this position he always sided with the children. In a case of murder executed by a minor he viewed the minor as the victim of the adults who didn’t provide the minor with an proper education and not providing and refusing the minor the normal development resulting that the minor turned to be violent criminal.
The beginning of the world war 1939 forced him to act again as military-doctor and siding the fate of the attacked Polish people with his loyalty.
Under the regime of the nazis in Warsaw they created the Jewish ghetto and the orphan-house was forced to move into the Jewish ghetto. Korczak lived there together with the children under inhuman condition till the nazis started with the killing of the people in the ghettos of Warsaw and the `movings´ to Treblinka.
Wednesday the 5th of August 1942 the orphan-house turned to be prosecuted and Korczak and 200 of `his´ children became murdered by the nazis.
Dr. Korczak had several chances to save his own life, but he rejected with indignation all proposals to that. He would have felt to be a traitor to the children, his duties and his opinions.
Janusz Korczak - Table of life
He was born on 22nd of July as Henryk Goldszmit in Warsaw.
The first publication `the gordic knot´ as pupil on high-school. His father dies in psychiatric clinic.
He wins prize in a literary contest under his pseudonym Janusz
Novel `children of the street´, he makes a trip to Zurich on the trail of Pestalozzi.
Studies and promotion in medicine in Warsaw. He starts providing aid to the children in the district of the poor in Warsaw. He start to act in pedagogic education. After his promotion to doctor he starts as doctor in a children’s-clinic.
He acts as military doctor in the japanese-russian war.
Novel `child of the salons´.
Duties in a children’s-clinic in the district of the poor of Warsaw.
Principal of the Jewish orphan-house `Dom Sierot = house of the
Military-doctor. In this time his first principal book on pedagogic `How you shall love a child´ is written and published.
Again principal of `Dom Sierot´.
Maryna Falska goes her own way in Korczak-education. As a communist lady she does not respect childrens rights of religion. Communists systematic start to impose Korczak`s work and name.
Courses of special-pedagogic.
Foundation of the first newspaper edited by children for children
His second principal-pedagogic-book `The right of a child to
Essay at the Polish radio `Radio-talk of an old doctor´, novel
`Katjus the wizard´
Travels to Palestine.
The moving of the `Dom Sierot´ to the Jewish ghetto of War- saw forced by the nazis.
` Remembering ´ ( the diaries of the Ghetto ) saved by Igor
Newerly and later published by him.
The theater-part `Korczak and the children´ by Erwin Sylvanus in German.
The first complete edition of all literature from Janusz Korczak
Declaration of by the general meeting of the United Nations.
Beginning of the German `Korczak edition´ with `How a child is to be loved´ published by Elisabeth Heimpel and Hans Roos with introduction by Igor Newerly, Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Peace-award of the German booksellers posthum to Janusz
Foundation of the German-Korczak-society
Foundation of the International-Korczak-Society in Warsaw.
Janusz Korczak Bibliography 1896-1942, published
Janusz Korczak Bibliography in German ( 1943-1987) published
Poeple in Munich think for a world-exhibition about Janusz Korczak.
The project of Korczak-City got patronat of the
Korczak-City became a homepage at Internet.
Internet- Domain: "http://Korczak.com" start its work.
Friends in Janusz Korczak will find a place on it for their own homepage.
Project Korczak-City will find sponsors and money.
Korczak.com-"Housekeeper" Michael Parciak will find integerty Korczak-Friends, building up a serious international group.
(36 Chapter by B.Lifton)