Janusz Korczak (18791942) is one of the legendary figures to emerge from the Holocaust. A successful pediatrician and well-known author in his native Warsaw, he gave up a brilliant medical career to devote himself to the care of orphans. Like so many other Jews, Korczak was sent into the Warsaw Ghetto after the Nazi occupation of Poland. He immediately set up an orphanage for more than two hundred children. Many of his admirers, Jewish and gentile, offered to rescue him from the ghetto, but Korczak refused to leave his small charges. When the Nazis ordered the children to board a train that was to carry them to the Treblinka death camp, Korczak went with them, despite the Nazis’ offer of special treatment. His selfless behavior in caring for these children’s lives and deaths has made him beloved throughout the world; he has been honored by UNESCO and commemorated on postage stamps in both Poland and Israel.
Korczak’s grimly inspiring ghetto diary is now available in paperback for the first time, accompanied by a new introduction by Betty Jean Lifton, the author of the biography of Korczak.