Janusz Korczak, Stefania Wilczynska, and the other directors of orphanages in the ghettos will forever be my heroes. In the Warsaw Ghetto and even at the transport, Januscz would never forsake his orphans whom he loved with the tenderness and compassion that God honors. As an acclaimed author and pioneer in children’s education, this man, in spite of his Jewish heritage, was offered the chance to live and avoid the deportations, but he would decline. Never would he abandon “his children.” I love children with all my heart, because in them I see all that makes this world beautiful. Their imagination, humility, innocence, and inner truth are beyond value and brighten up the lives around them. Janusz could testify to this, loving them more than his life. I broke down when I read this:
On August 6, the Nazis attacked the children’s institutions in the ghetto, including the Jewish orphanage run by Dr. Janusz Korczak, the famed Jewish-Polish educator who was something of a cross between Mr. Rogers and Dr. Benjamin Spock in his native land. Korczak lined his children up in rows of four. The orphans were clutching flasks of water and their favorite books and toys. They were in their best clothes. Korczak stood at the head of his 192 children, holding a child with each hand. One child carried the flag of King Matt with a Star of David set against the white field on the other side. They marched through the ghetto to the Umschlagplatz where they joined thousands of people waiting without shade, water, or shelter in the hot August sun. The children did not cry out. They walked quietly in forty-eight rows of four. One eyewitness recalled, “This was no march to the train cars but rather a mute protest against the murderous regime…a process the like of which no human eye has witnessed. (Gutman, Resistance)
His unwavering love is beyond inspiring but life-changing. The battle cry of the Jewish partisans of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising resounded with, “Remember Korczak’s Children!” echoing for generations and generations to come.
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.”
– Yeshua, Matthew 18:5
The painting above is taken from the book written in author of Janucz Korzhak titled The Champion of Children, by Tomek Bogacki.