Janusz Korczak

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Janusz Korczak
BirthplaceWarsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire
Children's author, humanitarian, pediatrician and child pedagogue

Korczak, Janusz


(pseudonym of Henryk Goldszmidt). Born July 22, 1878, in Warsaw; died August 1942. Polish writer, educator, and physician.

After graduating from the Institute of Medicine in Warsaw in 1903, Korczak worked in a children’s hospital for eight years. In 1911 he founded in Warsaw a new type of orphans’ home with funds provided by philanthropists, and also organized the boarding school called Our Home. Korczak lectured in the Higher Pedagogical School and assisted in legal cases involving juvenile delinquents. He began to publish in 1898.

Korczak’s novellas Children of the Streets (1901), Mośki, Joski, and Sruli (1910), and King Maciut the First (1923), his play Senate of Madmen (1931), his speeches and articles (written between 1900 and 1939), and his diary (covering 1942) introduce the reader to the world of the child’s psychology, contain precise observations on life in bourgeois Poland, and impart the rich experience of a physician and teacher. The main principles of Korczak’s educational system are expounded in his How to Love Children (1914). The second part of the book, The Boarding School, was published in the USSR in 1922 with a foreword by N. K. Krupskaia. His pedagogical work stressed the development of self-knowledge, self-control, and self-direction, both in individual pupils and in children’s groups. During the occupation of Poland by fascist Germany, Korczak heroically fought for the lives of the children in the Warsaw ghetto and perished in the gas chambers of Treblinka together with 200 of his pupils.


Wyborpism, vols. 1–4. Warsaw, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. pedagogicheskie proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1966. (With a foreword by M. F. Shabaeva.)
Kogda ia snova stany malen’kim. Povesti. Moscow, 1964.


Moitlis, E. L. lanush Korchak. Sovetskaia pedagogika. 1958, no. 8.
Mortkowicz-Olczakowa, H. J. Korczak, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1961.


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Other awards over the years include the Janusz Korczak Medal, the Silver Pencil Award, the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the Phoenix Award, and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal.
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