Yad Vashem marked 68 years since the deportation to Treblinka of Janusz Korczak, Stefania Wilczynska, and the children of their orphanage, from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Holocaust survivor Yitzhak Belfer who resided in Korczak’s orphanage in Warsaw, members of the Korczak society, and some 70 youth group members participated in the memorial ceremony at Janusz Korczak Square at Yad Vashem.
As part of a workshop that took place during the course of the day, members of the HaMachanot HaOlim youth movement heard Yitzhak Balfour’s testimony.
Janusz Korczak was the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit, a Polish-born doctor, author and educator.
Born in Warsaw to an assimilated Jewish family, Korczak dedicated his life to caring for children, particularly orphans. When the Jews of Warsaw were forced to move into a ghetto, Korczak refocused his efforts on the children in his orphanage. Despite offers from Polish friends to hide him on the "Aryan" side of the city, Korczak refused to abandon the children.
In August 1942, during a 2-month wave of deportations from the ghetto, the Nazis rounded up Korczak, Wilczynska and the 200 children of the orphanage. They marched in rows to the Umschlagplatz with Korczak in the lead.
He and Stephania never abandoned the children, even to the very end. Korczak, Wilczynska and the children were sent to Treblinka, where they were all murdered.