Changed date of death shows Janusz Korczak was killed in Treblinka

Previous recorded date "distorted historical reality," with inaccuracy of nearly four years.

March 30, 2015 18:05
1 minute read.

Commemorative stone for Janusz Korczak.. (photo credit: AVISHAI TAICHER/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

WARSAW— A Polish court changed the date of death of the martyred Polish-Jewish humanitarian Janusz Korczak to reflect he was killed in the Treblinka concentration camp.

The Lublin District Court on Friday confirmed that Korczak died on Aug. 7, 1942, not May 9, 1946, as a postwar court had ruled.

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The date of death was changed at the request of the Modern Poland Foundation in a case that has been ongoing since 2012.

Janusz Korczak, the pseudonym of Henryk Goldszmit, was a doctor, teacher, writer and humanitarian. During the Holocaust he ran an orphanage for Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto. Though he was offered sanctuary by the Polish underground, he chose to go with his more than 190 orphaned children when they were transported to Treblinka. He was killed together with the children when they arrived at the Nazi camp on Aug. 7, 1942.

Postwar Polish courts set the dates of those who died during the war, but whose deaths were not officially documented, as one year after the end of the war.

“Leaving the recognition of Henryk Goldszmit’s death as May 9, 1946 distorts the historical reality,” said Judge Katarzyna Makarzec of the Lublin court.

The Modern Poland Foundation brought the case to court because it wants to publish the works of Korczak on the Internet. According to Polish law, copyrights expire 70 years after the author’s death.

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