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75th anniversay of Dr Janusz Korczak's death - a true Polish hero



jon357 70 | 12,793    
6 Aug 2017  #1

Today (or yesterday - nobody's completely sure of the date) is the 75th anniversary of the murder of Janusz Korczak, one of the greatest Poles of the Twentieth Century.

Outside Poland, most people only know him for the circumstances of his death. Inside Poland, he was one of the country's best known brodcasters.

His profound courage and his rigorous compassion held till the very end.

theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/09/eva-hoffman-my-hero-janusz-korczak

Korczak consciously turned down opportunities which could have saved his own life

An educator, pedagogue, doctor, writer, essayist, social worker, theosophist, freemason. A citizen, a Pole, a Jew.

culture.pl/en/article/12-things-worth-knowing-about-janusz-korczak


kaprys - | 588    
6 Aug 2017  #2

A wonderful and kind man, totally devoted to children. Till the end.
There is a heartbreaking excerpt from an interview with Irena Sendler in which she talks about the last time she saw him and the children - on their way to the Umschlagplatz.
Bieganski 15 | 775    
6 Aug 2017  #3

Janusz Korczak was the culturally appropriated pseudonym used by Henryk Goldszmit.
OP jon357 70 | 12,793    
6 Aug 2017  #4

A wonderful and kind man, totally devoted to children

Yes. One of the truly great figures of those years. His first book was published in the 1890s - he had a long career and was much loved by his fellow Poles.

a heartbreaking excerpt from an interview with Irena Sendler

That's heartbreaking to read. He did his duty to the end.

We should also remember that before the occupation he was Poland's most popular radio broadcaster.
delphiandomine 87 | 15,756    
6 Aug 2017  #5

One of the truly great figures of those years.

Not only of those years, but of the 20th century in general. Korczak was the very definition of a great Pole during his lifetime, and the country was far worse for losing him.
Ktos 13 | 391    
5 Dec 2017  #6

@jon357

Korczak only tried to save Jewish children and never attempted to save any Polish children. Polish children did not mean as much to him I guess. How is he a Polish hero then? Also, he wrote a charter dedicated to the protection of children; he pioneered children's rights movement mainly because he had connections - Jewish global connections, as a Polish his works, no matter how great would never gain such notoriety. His charter on children has been as much beneficial as it has been damaging and continues to cause damage to children and parents. The guy was never strong on consequences of his written word or actions. No Polish hero or any hero to me.
kaprys - | 588    
5 Dec 2017  #7

@Ktos
He was also concerned with ethnic Poles being involved in Nasz Dom for Polish orphans before the war. He wanted to join the army after the outbreak of the war but was refused due to his age.

Come back to criticise him when you achieve at least one tenth of what he did.
OP jon357 70 | 12,793    
5 Dec 2017  #8

Korczak only tried to save Jewish children

He was Director of the Jewish Orphanage in the ghetto - he worked with the children in his care.

Korczak only tried to save Jewish children

Hard enough to save even one child - how many options do you think he had?

Come back to criticise him when you achieve at least one tenth of what he did.

Quite.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
5 Dec 2017  #9

@Ktos et al.

Anyone who gives their life to save others, both known as well as unknown to them, is a hero!
Ktos 13 | 391    
11 Dec 2017  #10

Come back to criticise him when you achieve at least one tenth of what he did.

How do you know what I have achieved? Have you achieved enough to comment here on various topics? You set the standard, you? Don't think so.

Hard enough to save even one child - how many options do you think he had?

It was even harder for Polish people to save themselves, to save other Polish or to save Jews and yet Polish people did not look twice but saved anyone they could. Given the scorn and horrible treatment Jews have served Polish people for centuries it would have been much much harder to want to help a Jew, yet Polish people, being the way we are, have helped Jews, even risking their lives for them, somehow finding way to do it. If Korczak truly wanted to help Polish children he would have, no excuse for a man in his position. Selective help is no real help. I just feel sorry for the Polish children who were left out by Korczak.

Anyone who gives their life to save others, both known as well as unknown to them, is a hero!

No, not when the "hero" helps selectively on the basis on ethnicity.

He wanted to join the army after the outbreak of the war but was refused due to his age.

He could have joined the underground army, he could have joined other actions - many options, but I guess you need to feel the need to help.In case of Polish children he not feel the urge enough to help.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
11 Dec 2017  #11

Ethnicity, ktos?? Kindly explain, please. The fact that it was an exclusively Jewish orphanage might well have been sheer coincidence. After all, Janusz Korczak wasn't the name he was even born with; he changed it to sound more Polish, you knitwit!!
kaprys - | 588    
11 Dec 2017  #12

@Ktos
Korczak was:
- a published author
- a respected doctor
-innovative pedagogist
-a Polish doctor during the Polish-Bolshevik war
- involved in helping orphans of both Jewish and Polish origin before and during the war

You're right. I have no idea what you have achieved. But I doubt you have achieved much. If you had, you wouldn't spend your time spreading hate speech online. Your life would be too fulfilled.

And since Korczak was involved in setting up and running Nasz Dom for ethnic Poles your argument that he was concerned with Jewish children only is invalid.

@Lyzko
He didn't change his name to sound Polish. Korczak was his pen name.
delphiandomine 87 | 15,756    
11 Dec 2017  #13

You're right. I have no idea what you have achieved. But I doubt you have achieved much. If you had, you wouldn't spend your time spreading hate speech online.

I have no idea who you are, but that's probably the best post ever on PF.

Korczak is a Polish hero, there's absolutely no other way of putting it. He's still hugely influential in Polish educational circles, and only someone far, far away would fail to understand his influence.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
11 Dec 2017  #14

@kaprys,

Korczak was his pen name because his original surname sounded overtly Jewish!
:-)
kaprys - | 588    
12 Dec 2017  #15

Writers back then used pen names. He first used Korczak when he took part in a literary contest organised by Kurier Warszawski. It was one of the requirements.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
2 days ago  #16

Quite true, as did once upon a time, Poles and others adopt Latin-sounding surnames to appear scholarly! Nevertheless, "Goldsztajn" sounds far less Polish than "Korczak", wouldn't you say?
kaprys - | 588    
2 days ago  #17

He was scholarly enough as dr Goldszmit*. I doubt he was ashamed of his Jewish background.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
2 days ago  #18

Ashamed hardly! You've missed my point once again (surprise!). "Korczak" sounds Polish, "Goldszmit" doesn't. Therefore is it a coincedence that he would have chosen as a nome de plume a name such as "Korczak" rather than "Cohen" or the like? From "Goldszmit" to "Cohen" or the like, for instance, is like going from the frying pan into the fire.

The whole idea was to adapt a Polish as opposed to a Jewish-sounding surname!

Make sense?
:-)
Paulina 8 | 1,429    
2 days ago  #19

The whole idea was to adapt a Polish as opposed to a Jewish-sounding surname!

I know where you're coming from Lyzko - after all, the Brontë sisters chose masculine sounding pen names because they were worried about prejudice. However, kaprys is right - it was a requirement of a contest that made him use a pen name for the first time. It wasn't "Janusz Korczak" back then, but "Janasz Korczak". This name originated from the book "Janasz Korczak and the Pretty Swordsweeperlady" (Historia o Janaszu Korczaku i o pięknej Miecznikównie) by Józef Ignacy Kraszewski. Later on he changed it into Janusz Korczak. He wasn't the only Polish writer who used pen names and who is known better for his pen name than his real name. Aleksander Głowacki, for example, chose a more "non-Polish" surname for his pen name than his own - he called himself "Bolesław Prus". He chose it because it was the coat of arms of his family. Why Korczak chose the name of that character - I don't know. Maybe he liked the character or the story. I am not aware if it had anything to do with anti-semitism, if that's what you're implying.

Ktos, I just hope you won't procreate :)
delphiandomine 87 | 15,756    
2 days ago  #20

He wasn't the only Polish writer who used pen names and who is known better for his pen name than his real name

Gabriela Zapolska too, if I remember rightly.
kaprys - | 588    
2 days ago  #21

I actually read somewhere his two pen names Janusz and Janasz Korczak were accidently mixed. Not sure though. Among other pen names he used were Hen-Ryk and Ryk.

As for writers taking pen names, well they often did so that not to damage their reputation or whatever other reason.
As for assimilation, it's more worth noticing that Hersze became Henryk. Similarly Jankiel became Jan, Szaja-Szymon etc.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
1 day ago  #22

There are several other Polish-Jewish artists and intellectuals who changed their names or adopted more Polish-sounding surnames:-)
kaprys - | 588    
1 day ago  #23

Then you should ask them why they did it.
Lyzko 17 | 3,677    
1 day ago  #24

They're all deceased:-)



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