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The King of Children: The Life and Death of Janusz Korczak

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A classic as stirring as Schindler's List, The King of Children is the acclaimed biography of the first advocate of children's rights and the man known as the savior of hundreds of orphans in the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz Korczak was known throughout Europe as a Pied Piper of destitute children even before the onslaught of World War II. But on August 6, 1942, Korczak stepped in A classic as stirring as Schindler's List, The King of Children is the acclaimed biography of the first advocate of children's rights and the man known as the savior of hundreds of orphans in the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz Korczak was known throughout Europe as a Pied Piper of destitute children even before the onslaught of World War II. But on August 6, 1942, Korczak stepped into legend. Refusing offers for his own safety, and with defiant dignity, he led the orphans under his care in the Warsaw Ghetto to the trains that would take them to Treblinka. An educator and pediatrician, Korczak, a Polish Jew, introduced progressive orphanages for both the Jewish and Catholic children in Warsaw. Determined to shield his children from the injustices of the adult world, he built these orphanages into "just communities" with their own parliaments and children's courts. Korczak also founded the first national children's newspaper, testified on behalf of children in juvenile courts, and trained teachers and parents in "moral education," with his books How to Love a Child and How to Respect a Child. The King of Children is now recognized as a classic work for educators, historians, parents, and anyone who lives or works with a child. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year


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A classic as stirring as Schindler's List, The King of Children is the acclaimed biography of the first advocate of children's rights and the man known as the savior of hundreds of orphans in the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz Korczak was known throughout Europe as a Pied Piper of destitute children even before the onslaught of World War II. But on August 6, 1942, Korczak stepped in A classic as stirring as Schindler's List, The King of Children is the acclaimed biography of the first advocate of children's rights and the man known as the savior of hundreds of orphans in the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz Korczak was known throughout Europe as a Pied Piper of destitute children even before the onslaught of World War II. But on August 6, 1942, Korczak stepped into legend. Refusing offers for his own safety, and with defiant dignity, he led the orphans under his care in the Warsaw Ghetto to the trains that would take them to Treblinka. An educator and pediatrician, Korczak, a Polish Jew, introduced progressive orphanages for both the Jewish and Catholic children in Warsaw. Determined to shield his children from the injustices of the adult world, he built these orphanages into "just communities" with their own parliaments and children's courts. Korczak also founded the first national children's newspaper, testified on behalf of children in juvenile courts, and trained teachers and parents in "moral education," with his books How to Love a Child and How to Respect a Child. The King of Children is now recognized as a classic work for educators, historians, parents, and anyone who lives or works with a child. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

30 review for The King of Children: The Life and Death of Janusz Korczak

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    UPDATE 12/13/18 ... I'm reading parts of this again as I get to the point in my novel when Korczak and his children marched off to die at Treblinka. A horrifying story told with power and emotion. In case you need any more reason to hate the Germans, this is it. *** There are many tears to be shed for the way Janusz Korczak died, marching at the head of his final group of orphans off to a German death camp, but one cannot fail to be thrilled by the way he lived. For 30 years, he ran an orphanage i UPDATE 12/13/18 ... I'm reading parts of this again as I get to the point in my novel when Korczak and his children marched off to die at Treblinka. A horrifying story told with power and emotion. In case you need any more reason to hate the Germans, this is it. *** There are many tears to be shed for the way Janusz Korczak died, marching at the head of his final group of orphans off to a German death camp, but one cannot fail to be thrilled by the way he lived. For 30 years, he ran an orphanage in Warsaw, out of love for the children he was able to care for and as a means to study what worked and what didn't in the interaction with children. His ideas - a court system run by the children, a newspaper written and largely managed by the children - are astonishingly on target, even today. Betty Lifton did a superb job of capturing the emotion and the quality of Korczak's work. I have already written one scene in my novel-in-progress where Anna Gorska (my main fictional Polish character) shares a pre-Hanukah play session at the orphanage, and I have now outlined another 3-4 scenes involving Korczak and the children that I think will help me communicate the great richness of the world of Polish Jewry, the memory of which has survived even the German attempt to eradicate it. Here are some of my notes ... ... children's court … not an instant success … children did not want to tattle … finally got going … counselors as prosecutor and defense attorney; three children as judges .. any child could bring a suit against another child … Korczak learning as he watched ... using the orphanage as a laboratory, Korczak wanted to work out an educational diagnostic system … children to run their own parliament, court and newspaper … a moral education based on respect for others as a prelude to self-respect ... Korczak launched an orphanage newspaper … each Saturday, he would read aloud his special column of the week … "do you remember, when you first came here, you didn't have any friends, and you felt sad and lonely" Korczak's books, fiction and non-fiction, are all worth reading, especially these ... King Matt the First ...Kaytek the Wizard ... Loving Every Child: Wisdom for Parents

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    One of the most beautiful biographies to come out of the Holocaust, and probably one of the most inspiring Poles, Janusz Korczak's story is a must read. He was a champion of human rights for children, and his story of self sacrifice is a little known story to the western world. To get the full holocaust spectrum I recommend: Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl Night, by Elie Weisel If This is a Man and The Truce, By Primo Levi I Never Saw Another Butterfly, play by Celeste Raspanti, Picture b One of the most beautiful biographies to come out of the Holocaust, and probably one of the most inspiring Poles, Janusz Korczak's story is a must read. He was a champion of human rights for children, and his story of self sacrifice is a little known story to the western world. To get the full holocaust spectrum I recommend: Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl Night, by Elie Weisel If This is a Man and The Truce, By Primo Levi I Never Saw Another Butterfly, play by Celeste Raspanti, Picture book and Poems arranged by Hana Volavkova

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan

    I found this biography very well-written, detailed and moving. Janusz Korczak is barely known in the West today, and those who have heard of him usually only know of the manner of his death: he followed the children in his orphanage to Treblinka rather than abandon them and save his own life. But there is a lot more to Korczak than the way he died, as this book shows. You really get a sense of the "whole man." He was a brilliant doctor, pedagogue, children's writer and humanitarian, and he was a I found this biography very well-written, detailed and moving. Janusz Korczak is barely known in the West today, and those who have heard of him usually only know of the manner of his death: he followed the children in his orphanage to Treblinka rather than abandon them and save his own life. But there is a lot more to Korczak than the way he died, as this book shows. You really get a sense of the "whole man." He was a brilliant doctor, pedagogue, children's writer and humanitarian, and he was also very eccentric, prickly with most adults, and had a highly developed sense of humor. The world needs more people like Korczak.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Korczak is fascinating to learn about as is the historical period through which he lived. One can't help but learn some child psychology by reading. There are many poignant quips as well: "Feelings that have no outlet become daydreams, and daydreams become the internal script of life." "The pawn shop is life. What you pawn-ideals or honor for comfort or security-you'll never retrieve again." "Life bites like a dog." "War helps you see the illness of the whole body...diseases...unseen roots in the pa Korczak is fascinating to learn about as is the historical period through which he lived. One can't help but learn some child psychology by reading. There are many poignant quips as well: "Feelings that have no outlet become daydreams, and daydreams become the internal script of life." "The pawn shop is life. What you pawn-ideals or honor for comfort or security-you'll never retrieve again." "Life bites like a dog." "War helps you see the illness of the whole body...diseases...unseen roots in the past for which there was no quick cure." "Keep your mouth shut if you're not helping. Don't criticize if you don't know a better way." Because of his life's work and educational philosophy, the biography makes any reader who cares about children or the helpless want to read Korczak's writing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Moscovici

    Janusz Korczak, “The King of the Children” Joseph Stalin once told U.S. Ambassador Averill Harriman “the death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” Perhaps this is why readers react so much more sympathetically to the personal account of the Holocaust in The Diary of Anne Frank than to any history or political science book on the subject. The deaths of Janusz Korczak and the nearly two hundred orphans he took care of are far from being a statistic. It is one of the most Janusz Korczak, “The King of the Children” Joseph Stalin once told U.S. Ambassador Averill Harriman “the death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” Perhaps this is why readers react so much more sympathetically to the personal account of the Holocaust in The Diary of Anne Frank than to any history or political science book on the subject. The deaths of Janusz Korczak and the nearly two hundred orphans he took care of are far from being a statistic. It is one of the most tragic episodes of Holocaust history, recorded both in his diary describing their lives in the Warsaw Ghetto, Ghetto Diary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), and in a beautifully written biography by Betty Jean Lifton, The King of Children: A Biography of Janusz Korczak (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988). Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit, a Jewish Polish educator, doctor and writer of children’s books and educational philosophy, was famous long before he perished along with his children during the Holocaust. Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, he devoted a large part of his life to writing about how to raise children. Unlike Rousseau, however, he practiced what he preached. Korczak devoted his entire life to taking care of thousands of orphans and destitute children. He worked first as a pediatrician, then as a leader of the Orphans’ Society. There he met the woman who would become his assistant, friend and greatest collaborator, Stefania Wilczynska. In 1911 Korczak became the Director of an orphanage for Jewish children. In this context, he implemented some of the ideas expressed in his books: particularly that children need to be encouraged, not punished, and that they need a combination of guidance and autonomy to develop into decent human beings and good citizens. This was especially true of the thousands of homeless and hungry street urchins, both Polish and Jewish, that Korczak and Wilczynska raised, fed and educated over the course of their lives. Like in Korczak’s books, they created a “Children’s Republic”: not a utopia, but a place where the orphans had a lot of say in their upbringing and education, forming their own parliament, court and newspaper. Korczak, a keen psychologist, also encouraged them to write a diary where they learned to express their fears and sadness without allowing it to dominate their lives. He built for his orphans a state-of-the art orphanage: one of the first buildings with electricity and running water in Warsaw. Not long after the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, they decreed the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto on October 12, 1940. Korczak was obliged to move his modern orphanage from the Polish section of town, on Krochmalna 92, to a smaller building on 33 Chlodna within the ghetto walls, and later to an even tinier place on 16 Sienna Street. Even in the face of incredible hardship, disease and starvation, Korczak struggled every day to feed, clothe, educate and comfort the nearly 200 orphans under his care. He would go asking for food and donations throughout the ghetto, stage plays and other cultural activities, in the attempt to foster some semblance of normalcy in disastrous conditions. Although several of his Polish former students and friends offered him false papers to escape the Ghetto, he refused to abandon the children. But on August 6th 1942, even the most cynical couldn’t have predicted that the Germans would send thousands of children living in the Ghetto to their deaths, in Treblinka. They took Korczak, his staff and the children by surprise when they stormed into the orphanage and ordered them to march to the gathering place at the train station, for deportation to the East. Betty Jean Lifton vividly describes the orphans’ sad procession; one of the darkest and most touching episodes in Holocaust history: “The Germans had taken a roll call: one hundred and ninety-two children and ten adults. Korczak was at the head of this little army, the tattered remnants of the generations of moral soldiers he had raised in his children’s republic. He held five-year-old Romcia in one arm, and perhaps Szymonek Jakubowicz, to whom he had dedicated the story of planet Ro, by the other. Stefa followed a little way back with the nine-to twelve-year-olds… As the children followed Korczak away from the orphanage, one of the teachers started singing a marching song, and everyone joined in: ‘Though the storm howls around us, let us keep our heads high’” (The King of the Children, 340). Although Janusz Korczak could not protect his beloved orphans from the gas chamber, he gave them one last gift: the comfort of facing their deaths with dignity. Claudia Moscovici, Holocaust Memory

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Poling

    The story of Janusz Korczak will stay with you for a long, long time. Incredibly beloved and famous in his own time, he was a writer, doctor, psychologist and moral educator who devoted his life to children, raising orphanages that were structured as "just communnities" and which respected children equally as adults. His writing on this philosophy is famous and has been studied by educators all over the world. He was Jewish, but also Polish and worked in his writings and actions to try to integr The story of Janusz Korczak will stay with you for a long, long time. Incredibly beloved and famous in his own time, he was a writer, doctor, psychologist and moral educator who devoted his life to children, raising orphanages that were structured as "just communnities" and which respected children equally as adults. His writing on this philosophy is famous and has been studied by educators all over the world. He was Jewish, but also Polish and worked in his writings and actions to try to integrate the two. When the Nazis invaded Warsaw he refused to abandon the 200 orphans in his care; he devoted the last years of his life to protecting them from harm and deprivation in the Warsaw ghetto before they were all sent to the Treblinka death camp. He is one of the rare figures you will come across, who practiced a fierce, radical humanism: His ideas on children, on crime, on justice, religion, and nationalism were inspiring while very practical and reality-based. If you are at all interested in kids, or teaching, or even if you hate kids and WWII history but have an interest in creating societies based on justice and respect for fellow human beings, this book will stay with you for a very long time. Korczac was a complex, kind, funny, yet tortured man, and very, very inspiring. If he had been Roman Catholic, he would have been cannonized. As a Jew, he is "revered as on the the Thirty-six Just Men whose pure souls, according to ancient Jewish tradition, make possible the world's salvation."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    The story of Janusz Korczak will stay with you for a long, long time. Incredibly beloved and famous in his own time, he was a Polish author, doctor and pedagogue who devoted his life to children, raising orphanages that were structured as "just communnities" and which respected children equally as adults. He was also Jewish, and when the Nazis invaded he refused to abandon the 200 orphans in his care; he devoted the last years of his life to protecting them from harm and deprivation in the Warsa The story of Janusz Korczak will stay with you for a long, long time. Incredibly beloved and famous in his own time, he was a Polish author, doctor and pedagogue who devoted his life to children, raising orphanages that were structured as "just communnities" and which respected children equally as adults. He was also Jewish, and when the Nazis invaded he refused to abandon the 200 orphans in his care; he devoted the last years of his life to protecting them from harm and deprivation in the Warsaw ghetto before they were all sent to the Treblinka death camp. He is one of the rare figures you will come across, who practiced a fierce, radical humanism- his ideas on children, on crime, on justice, religion, and nationalism, were so inspired and enlightened, while still very practical and based in reality. If you are at all interested in kids, or teaching, or even if you hate kids and WWII history but have an interest in creating societies based on justice and respect for fellow human beings, this book will leave you inspired and intrigued (and sobbing by the end). Absolutely everyone has something to learn from his story. Even if he hadn't died in such a tragic and dramatic way, his biography would be fascinating simply as a character study. He was a complex, kind, funny, yet tortured man, and very, very inspiring.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    My 10 year-old daughter got this book for a biography project and I wanted to read it before she did to make sure it was appropriate since it was for grown-ups and I knew from a picture book on Korczak that things didn't end well for him and the Jewish orphans in his care. This plan failed on several levels: 1) We had two copies of the book and she read it faster so finished before me. 2) She found the book interesting and educational while it left me a sobbing, traumatized mess of tears. So perha My 10 year-old daughter got this book for a biography project and I wanted to read it before she did to make sure it was appropriate since it was for grown-ups and I knew from a picture book on Korczak that things didn't end well for him and the Jewish orphans in his care. This plan failed on several levels: 1) We had two copies of the book and she read it faster so finished before me. 2) She found the book interesting and educational while it left me a sobbing, traumatized mess of tears. So perhaps she should have been checking it for appropriateness for me. This is because things like the dedication of the picture book, "In memory of an estimated 1.5 million children, victims of the Holocaust", are a fact to her, while it makes me want to curl up and cry. Anyway, I had never heard of Janusz Korczak before her project and I am surprised, since he was an incredibly amazing, talented, and courageous man, and he deserves to be more widely known. This book could probably use a bit more editing as it occasionally starts to drift into minutiae but it certainly captures his remarkable life, ideas, and personality well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beckie

    Wow. This guy was a saint, and had so much passion for poor homeless children. He wasn't a perfect saint, the kind I like best, because he was very intolerant of the rich and spoiled children. I read a review about this book from one of my friends on good reads, and that is what I like about this site, it puts me on to books I would have never found otherwise! Wow. This guy was a saint, and had so much passion for poor homeless children. He wasn't a perfect saint, the kind I like best, because he was very intolerant of the rich and spoiled children. I read a review about this book from one of my friends on good reads, and that is what I like about this site, it puts me on to books I would have never found otherwise!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roopesh Mathur

    This book provides a full account of the life of Dr. Korczak, a great pediatrician, teacher and humanist, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his children. His life was full of struggle and strife, including two wars and family troubles. The ways he developed his ideas, treated other people and children with dignity and compassion even in the midst of severe distress and difficulties are brought out in the book. The book contains an account of the thriving Jewish culture in Eastern Europe and th This book provides a full account of the life of Dr. Korczak, a great pediatrician, teacher and humanist, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his children. His life was full of struggle and strife, including two wars and family troubles. The ways he developed his ideas, treated other people and children with dignity and compassion even in the midst of severe distress and difficulties are brought out in the book. The book contains an account of the thriving Jewish culture in Eastern Europe and their relations to the Polish society at large, which were frequently antagonistic and hostile, a gap which Dr. Korczak tried very hard to bridge. The last section, which is about the Nazi occupation of Warsaw and life in the Ghetto is very moving; and the last chapter on his dignified march through the streets with the children to the death trains brings you to tears. But his ideas on human rights, the right way to bring up and educate children which he practiced in his orphanages and opposition to fascism and totalitarianism makes him a saint who was ahead of the times. In the end, while monsters like Hitler and Stalin are relegated to the history books, his ideas are embedded in all modern educational and childcare systems.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I've read various accounts about Janusz Korczak, I first found a biography about him twenty five years ago. Janusz was such a compassionate man, his work with children would be extraordinary in itself. But for his efforts to bring normalcy to the children who were in his care within the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. He was the director of an orphanage in Warsaw for many years, but it was how he conducted himself within the Warsaw ghetto that his truly makes him a memorable human being and one that I've read various accounts about Janusz Korczak, I first found a biography about him twenty five years ago. Janusz was such a compassionate man, his work with children would be extraordinary in itself. But for his efforts to bring normalcy to the children who were in his care within the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. He was the director of an orphanage in Warsaw for many years, but it was how he conducted himself within the Warsaw ghetto that his truly makes him a memorable human being and one that should be greatly admired. His story is sad but it is also one that reminds us of the horrors mankind inflicts on each other and how by reading Janusz's story we see what bravery really looks like. 5 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fliss Blanch

    Some people are heroes because they save lives and then there are people like Janusz Korczak who was a hero because despite being surrounded by the madness and ugliness of Nazism he held on to his integrity and made sure that the children in his care received as much love and support as he could give them. But what really made him stand out from others and what made him famous was when it came time for the children from the Warsaw ghetto to be ''resettled in the East'' he got on the cattle train Some people are heroes because they save lives and then there are people like Janusz Korczak who was a hero because despite being surrounded by the madness and ugliness of Nazism he held on to his integrity and made sure that the children in his care received as much love and support as he could give them. But what really made him stand out from others and what made him famous was when it came time for the children from the Warsaw ghetto to be ''resettled in the East'' he got on the cattle trains with them (although he was given a chance to escape, which he refused) and to keep the kids calm he sang songs to them and did his best to reassure them. When they arrived at Treblinka he walked into the gas chambers with the children because he could not bear for them to be alone.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Many have heard the end of Janusz Korczak’s story. We may wonder at the courage of a man who, when he could no longer protect the orphans in his care, chose to go with them to face death together. But what of the life they shared before? What forces shaped him into a father of two hundred? “You do not leave sick children in the night. And you do not leave children at a time like this.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter Haik

    Awesome-heartwarming-heartbreaking-must read if the Holocaust is of interest to you! I've since read his autobiography (do not recommend) & his most famous children's book (do recommend). I've given talks about Korczak. Awesome-heartwarming-heartbreaking-must read if the Holocaust is of interest to you! I've since read his autobiography (do not recommend) & his most famous children's book (do recommend). I've given talks about Korczak.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brighid O'Sullivan

    Absolutely wonderful and heart wrenching. This is true story. I Know because I am a nurse and took care of one of the children. This book is nonfiction and tugs at your heart and makes one more aware of the injustice in the world. Very sad but well worth the read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Amazing book! What a visionary and inspirational man. Of course, going into it you know the tragic ending, but it's no less heartbreaking for being prepared. Amazing book! What a visionary and inspirational man. Of course, going into it you know the tragic ending, but it's no less heartbreaking for being prepared.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meltha

    I stumbled upon a mention of this gentle man (space intentional) and was thunderstruck by what an amazing person he was. I'll need to scrounge to find this book, but I think it will be worth it. I stumbled upon a mention of this gentle man (space intentional) and was thunderstruck by what an amazing person he was. I'll need to scrounge to find this book, but I think it will be worth it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nance

    Janusz Korczak, hard to find a better man

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chrisann Justice

    This book was so inspiring!!! I want to meet Janusz Korczak once I'm on the other side. This book was so inspiring!!! I want to meet Janusz Korczak once I'm on the other side.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madonna

    This book touched my soul in every say. Korezak had an amazing love for these precious Jewish and Catholic children. I fell in love with the way he gave his all for these little children. In the end how he willingly went with them to Treblinka. So caring, so selfless. I just cried and cried for him and for those children. May we never forget.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Misterscribner

    While Korczak remains a saint, the book was a little disjointed in its narrative.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daniel L.

    Most people who have heard about Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit) know him from decriptions of him during his years in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II and how he refused offers of shelter in safer areas because he refused to abandon the orphans in his care. His march, leading the orphan children in serene dignity to the cattle trains waiting to take them to the Nazi death camp of Treblinka, certainly makes for an unforgettable and compelling image. Indeed, but what about Korcaak's life? T Most people who have heard about Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit) know him from decriptions of him during his years in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II and how he refused offers of shelter in safer areas because he refused to abandon the orphans in his care. His march, leading the orphan children in serene dignity to the cattle trains waiting to take them to the Nazi death camp of Treblinka, certainly makes for an unforgettable and compelling image. Indeed, but what about Korcaak's life? There is so much more to "Mister Doctor," as his beloved pupils called him, and this book tells the story of his life, philosophy, and dreams. Betty Jean Lifton has done admirable job of covering Korczak's entire life, from his family background and sad childhood to his journeys while studying medicine to his establishment of the Orphan's Home to his religious beliefs, writings, and stint as radio personality ("The Old Doctor") to his final years in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he continued to manage an orphanage to give the child victims a life of dignity in their terrible last years. Though there are 33 pages of notes in the end, these in no way detract from the readability of this book. For the most part, they serve as reference points for anyone wishing to research an aspect of Korczak's life further. They also bear testimony to the tremendous amount of hard work Ms. Lifton put into her book; it is obvious that this work was truly a labor of love. Translations of works into English by and about the great Polish doctor, educator, and social worker Janusz Korczak are very hard to come by. Educators, social workers, policy makers, and parents - in short, anyone who cares for and about children - owe it to themselves and the children in their care to be familiar with his methods and philosophies of raising and educating children. It is a great pity that most of his original writings have not yet been translated into English; this book goes a long way to that end. Betty Jean Lifton has done the English-speaking world a great service in making the life of this true hero accessible. This is not just a book to be read, but one to be considered, reconsidered, and savored. For biographies on Janusz Korczak, this volume is the gold standard. Also highly recommended is "Janusz Korczak: Sculptor of Children's Souls," by Marcia Talmage Schneider. This book collects 10 first-hand accounts of Korczak - students, as well as teachers. They offer an unparalleled personal perspective.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Edward Janes

    Book review of The King of Children: The Life and Death of Janusz Korczak (Author: Betty Jean Lifton; 448 pages). Janusz Korczak (nom de plum for Henryk Goldszmit) was a Polish physician, author, educator and, pedagogue who perished at Treblinka August 1942. Many say he was one of the "36 Righteous". Instead of trying to author a review on my own, here are several from Amazon.com. I will say that for me, reading this was a most powerfully emotional experience; truly humbling and heart breaking. Am Book review of The King of Children: The Life and Death of Janusz Korczak (Author: Betty Jean Lifton; 448 pages). Janusz Korczak (nom de plum for Henryk Goldszmit) was a Polish physician, author, educator and, pedagogue who perished at Treblinka August 1942. Many say he was one of the "36 Righteous". Instead of trying to author a review on my own, here are several from Amazon.com. I will say that for me, reading this was a most powerfully emotional experience; truly humbling and heart breaking. Amazon.com Review The tragic story of Janusz Korczak, who chose to perish in Treblinka rather than abandon the Jewish orphans in his care, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1988. The new paperback edition includes a passionate introduction by Elie Wiesel that sets the tone for the inspiring saga of a man who introduced progressive orphanages in his native Poland, defended children's rights in court, and wrote classic works of children's literature and child psychology. Korczak lives as a moral exemplar in this fine biography. Other reviews "Warsaw's Pied Piper, astonishingly ahead of his time, is still able to move, inspire, and provoke any of us who live or work with children."--"The Washington Post Book World" We are in [Lifton's] debt for reconstructing the life of this amazing man....Few biographies have the power to move, to inspire, to enlighten. Hers does."--"USA Today"A reading of "The King of Children makes known a remarkable man....A lesser man would have been broken by the tasks Korczak set himself....His strategy, sent to the head from the heart, was to remember as few can how it felt to be a child."--Geoffrey Wolff, "The New York Times Book Review

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Janus Korczak was a renowned Polish pediatrician who was groundbreaking in his view of children in much the same way Dr. Benjamin Spock was in the United States. He is most remembered for his work in Warsaw orphanages before and during World War II, and for accompanying his group of orphans to the gas chambers at Treblinka, even though he had a way out. Korzcak’s loss of both his parents relatively early in his life had a huge impact on who he became, and I found that and the last third of the b Janus Korczak was a renowned Polish pediatrician who was groundbreaking in his view of children in much the same way Dr. Benjamin Spock was in the United States. He is most remembered for his work in Warsaw orphanages before and during World War II, and for accompanying his group of orphans to the gas chambers at Treblinka, even though he had a way out. Korzcak’s loss of both his parents relatively early in his life had a huge impact on who he became, and I found that and the last third of the book about his wartime activities the most interesting. Long, detailed sections about the development of his theories on children and his books were less interesting to me. This book was recommended to us by our tour guide in Warsaw. It is the biography of the only man named among the 17,000 stones in the Treblinka II memorial. The back cover of my copy reads: "Known throughout Europe as a Pied Piper of destitute children prior to the onslaught of World War II, he assumed legendary status when on August 6, 1942, after refusing offers for his own safety, he defiantly led the orphans under his care in the Warsaw Ghetto to the trains that would take them to Treblinka." Meticulously researched, this book is an interesting, though sometimes plodding, look into the life of a rather quirky man whose own early traumatic childhood and young adult experiences greatly influenced his work. The section about the Warsaw Ghetto was heartbreaking. It was almost as bad as life at Auschwitz as far as starvation, freezing, and cruel treatment goes. The author is herself a psychologist and a leading advocate of adoption reform.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Gallup

    Amazing unselfish person. Fantastically written.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Wendoloski

  30. 5 out of 5

    Edwin Stratton-Mackay

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