The Embassy of Israel in conjunction with the Embassy of Poland commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the death of the heroic educator Janusz Korczak.
The event was held yesterday, 6th December evening, at the Goethe Institute in Nairobi and it involved the screening of a film titled “The Last Korczak Boy.”
A key-note speech was also delivered by Maria Beckmann, Executive Director of AAR touching on children’s rights in the context of Janusz Korczak’s heritage.
The event was graced by dignitaries mainly drawn from the Diplomatic community and friends of Israeli and Polish Embassy.
Janusz Korczak (1878-1942)
Janusz Korczak was born Henryk Goldszmit, on July 22, 1878. He grew up in a Jewish family and decided to study medicine. Soon he became quite known as a literary figure in Poland. Korczak 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."
Korczak 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 the extermination camp in Treblinka.
People who observed Korczak and "his children" walking to the train describe the children holding hands, carrying knapsacks and marching with dignity. Janusz Korczak perished with his orphans in Treblinka in August of 1942.