Cover Picture: Janusz Korczak/Ghetto Fighters' Museum Archives, Israel Janusz Korczak is said to have once described himself as “a doctor by training, a. Janusz Korczak, born Henryk Goldszmit, first saw the light of day in or the traditions and culture of Poland, and Janusz Korczak considered himself a. Taking Root: My life as a child of Janusz Korczak—the father of children's rights— The ISBN English PDF Version:

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Janusz Korczak, a renowned Polish Jewish writer and pediatrician and one of the UNESCO declared the Year of Janusz Korczak, to coincide with the. Moshe Shner (Ph.D.) Oranim College of Education, Israel October Janusz Korczak: Between the Worlds not a Pole, not a Jew but a universal humanist. 1 Janusz Korczak – a freemason In publications of encyclopaedic character Korczak is usually labelled as a doctor, writer, pedagogue and philanthropist.

He also regularly visited a kibbutz in Palestine, where he gained inspiration for some of his philosophical ideas.

Korczak is remembered as a tutor in a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw's ghetto during the Holocaust, where he entered voluntarily and as a martyr, who chose to die with the children he cared for, despite the possibilities he was given to avoid death. According to B. Smolinska-Theiss he gained international recognition as one of the greatest pedagogues of the twentieth century.

He is known as a critic of the existing socio-political reality, child-oriented educator, a social pedagogue and a researcher of childhood. Some, like M. Shner , connect him to Stoic philosophy, others prefer to view him as a first pedagogue, who throughout a book entitled Bobo introduced a novel area of pedagogy connected to newborn babies' and toddlers c.

Odrowaz-Coates, Vucic What is Korczak's pedagogical thought? Is there one? In my view, even if Janusz Korczak did not intend to produce long-lasting philosophical or pedagogical thought and perhaps was more engaged with children's upbringing in his own time and space, his thoughts produced child-centric educational goal posts, with methodical and coherent system of guidelines and beliefs about the socialization and education of children. I feel that due to the interest in his life and his writings, many seek ideological and epistemological grounding for his ideas.

As learnt through the course at Haifa University Dr. Furthermore, during this course I discovered an original concept by Moshe Shner of connecting the classical worldview of the Stoics to Korczak. Moreover, a spiritual dimension of his quasi ideology was found in his writings related to a utopian vision of the future land of Israel c.

Shner b, Lewowicki At Polish higher education facilities, Janusz Korczak is often discussed during social pedagogy courses, yet he may also be noticed during philosophy courses at pedagogical departments. His pictures are frequently found at universities and sometimes at schools of different levels. This for me is a sign that there the pedagogical thoughts of Janusz Korczak still exist and are relevant today.

These pedagogical thoughts are very much connected to a child, viewed as an active agent, as an equal and as a person who has rights. Such concepts must have been incredibly novel and perhaps even very unpopular at his time. Moreover, it must have been rather unusual to find a man, who would be preoccupied with children, their play, their wellbeing, their health, growth and education. In his orphanage he established a 'peer court' and a self-governing parliament run by the children Korczak, , p.

He found multiple benefits of engaging children with their own newspapers, amongst them, using his own words: "It teaches a conscientious discharge of voluntary commitments, a work in a planned manner, based on the combined effort of various people. It tea hes ourage i oi i g o e s opi io a d ho to o du t a de orous controversy on the basis of argumentation rather than bickering […].

It is the conscience of the community. You have a grievance — write to the paper. You are upset — write […].

The newspaper is a link, which binds the class or school. Through it, complete strangers come to know each other. It puts a spotlight on those quiet and thoughtful ones who in solitary silence can express themselves on paper but whose voice is lost in a vocal dispute Korczak , pp.

Newerly , p. Occasionally, he likes to go sightseeing on his own; and, when up against some diffi ulty, he asks for i for atio a d ad i e…. A recent book entitled Re-reading Janusz Korczak , which is a selection of previously published articles on Korczak translated into Polish, may be viewed as a symbol of intercultural reconciliation between several nations, through joint academic efforts in learning from the past and fro Ja usz Kor zak s o tri utio s to hildhood a d hildre s rights today.

This sy oli di e sio ay also e fou d in the deep analysis of his thought in relation to the social inclusion and exclusion of children from diverse communities.

The ever-present motto in this selection of papers is fully reflected by his conviction that the world should be 'repaired' starting from the e di g of hildre s atters.

Child matters may be seen as more universal in more traditional societies than for example women's issues, when international law meets local tradition. Afandi Salleh et al. Freeman maintains that Shulamith Firestone in pressurized feminist movements to include the fight against the oppression of children in feminist manifestos and to not follow the negligence displayed by men, who by being silent and unsupportive obstructed the women's cause. As far as the common dialog goes, cultural differences may bring some incompatibility, especially around the issues of human rights and children's rights.

Yet, all sane parents in the world love their children and want the best for them.

So of course, do the educators. However, they may vary in the interpretation of what is the best for their children. For example, there is a known Biblical verse saying that the one who does not beat their child is the one who hates their child Proverbs "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Despite differences in deciding what might be the best for the child in every society, children are the link to the past and the hope for the future. Therefore, Korczak is right, that children may be the uniting, common cause.

In fact Korczak's mixed heritage and being in-between cultures, religions, languages, reflects the experiences of many people in the 21st century, due to migration and for example, more diverse choices in marriage. His thoughts resonate well with people experiencing an identity struggle and a search for belonging, as he felt that he did not fit in either of the communities and yet he identified strongly with both of them. He could also serve as an example of determination in face of adversity and a strong morale flagpole, that would not bend as the wind blows but stand up for his beliefs and maintain the high moral ground.

Moreover, his attitude towards hard work, towards bettering oneself and life-long learning, makes a universal mold for modern educators and their students. Will Korczak's concepts be accepted globally? There is always a risk that the cultural and socio-political barriers may be too strong to overcome. This document was produced earlier than the "Declaration of the Rights of the Child" adopted by the League of Nations in , which was developed in Geneva, with Korczak as one of the delegates, proven by his signature on the original document.

Yet, probably due to political reasons the initial Moscow declaration was never fully recognized c.

Liebel Korczak's influence in the initial Geneva declaration is felt in its ratification by the UN in , through "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and again in the "Convention on the Rights of a Child" An interesting aspect of re-thinking Korczak may be found in the African Charter of the Convention. Odrowaz-Coates It is hard to decide what would be his point of view on this document.

Either way echoes of his concepts may be found in all these documents. Universalism in Korczak's ideas Korczak may be seen as a critical pedagogue, almost a 'norm critical' pedagogue, norm critical for his times, but also in a more universal sense. In this way he wants to change the world for the better, not through revolution but through revealing social norms and social mechanisms and questioning them, putting them to the test and asking why?

Who do they serve? Why one individual should have mastery over the other? He basically questions power hierarchies. I feel that he also promotes a more open approach to dialogical pedagogy, which may be seen in his publications released a few years before Buber's "I and Thou" , which was first published in German in However, Buber focuses more on a spiritual transcendence, whilst Korczak is more down to earth, with real life of children here and now, with their bodies, their roots and their persona.

Sometimes we may even have a feeling that perhaps, 'I' - is the emerging I of a child and 'it' - is the teacher, boxed through previous experience, shaped and tailored to suit the culture, stuck in his or her narrow-mindedness, whilst the 'I' of a child is still wild and free, open to new experiences, not yet exclusionary - learning from 'it' to be stuck in the power structure and to obey.

It may be a false trail, as Korczak does not deal directly with schooling and the school's routines. He does not refer directly to a teacher, but to adults' and children's relations in general.

However, if we think of him as a critic of society and of the status of children in a wider sense, then school is one of the systems he referred to, making it possible to link him to norm critical pedagogy. His concept of new spirituality or even the idea of a new 'almost faith' that would unite humanity has been a desire for so many free thinkers worldwide.


Sadly, as much as humans need religion and need faith to feel more secure and to find meaning of life, religion in the wrong hands and interpreted in a wrong way may be a powerful tool of social control and social engineering Durkeim In his writings one may find that Korczak was a religious and God fearing person, but not religious in a traditional sense, as a follower of a particular doctrine.

He searched for a personal relation with God through individual dialog and prayer c. Korczak He supported ecumenical dialog between religions and faiths, granting education the central place in widening the narrow horizon of single conviction. Wringe c.

Teaching Materials

Freeman argues that the right to education should award people access to open global education and not incubate them in limiting 'emic' school indoctrination. It would be very hard to find a new faith, which would unite all humanity. Even if it were possible, I think that people would find a different way to create a distinction, based on eye color, wealth, health, or anything else, which would create conflict and discrimination.

It does not mean we should not try to give our children a sense of responsibility for oneself and others, especially the weaker, the disadvantaged, the ones in need.

It as first developed in connection to gender related norms. The concept of 'gender neutral' in Swedish education", Journal of Gender and Power, 3 1 , pp. Perhaps I went too far in my interpretation, this does not mean that racist or other discriminatory practice by fellow humans should be supported, but it means that respect breeds mutual respect and that the language of hate should be replaced by the language of acceptance.

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Resistance to Korczak's thought Amongst the barriers to Korczak's ideas, one may find traditional pedagogy, with authority figures and a social order that relies on age and experience. The idea of a child being socially programmed and 'tamed' is based on traditional power structures, which Korczak challenges. He sees adults more as the enablers and supporters of a child's independent curiosity than as disciplining and all-knowing.

I think that it would be worth exploring whether the factors that block Korczak's ideas are inherent and imbedded in cultural contexts, or if they rely on a lack of exposure to children's rights concepts amongst educators and carers? I believe that many country-specific pedagogies suffer from an ideological selection of philosophers on education and upbringing and that reproduction of social order, through repetition of their own childhood experiences by adults, may be a significant barrier.

Perhaps people are afraid that the world leans towards a pre- figurative model of culture c. Mead based on the digital revolution, which has somehow started to undermine the post-figurative culture's credentials, would be more hesitant of Korczak's idea of children's agency and freedom of choice.

According to the amnesty decree, the Poles and Jews deported into the Soviet Union and incarcerated in the forced labour camps received the freedom to travel and settle in places of their own choosing, as long as it was not contrary to the applicable law.

Because of the very severe living conditions throughout the Sverdlovsk oblast, most of those who were staying there decided to leave their places of residence. It was not easy, as local authorities were not willing to let go of the labour force crucial to the strategic nature of the local factory production. Despite the pressures, intimidation attempts, and promises of improved living conditions, the exiles set out for the south of the USSR, to the locations were the Polish Army was forming.

Among them were small groups of Polish Jews from the deportation of June To those who stayed, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the USSR, created in the meantime, tried to provide the necessary assistance in all possible ways. One of the first tasks was to determine the number of people in need of care. At the end of , there were a total of 7, deportees accounted for in the Sverdlovsk oblast: 2, men, 2, women, and 2, children. Most people had left at the first opportunity.

In the discussed year of , according to the data of the trustees appointed to care for the exiles, they lived in the following districts: Alapaevsky people , Pyshminsky , Tugulymsky , Achitsky , Serovsky 3, , Garinsky , Isovsky , Verkhtavdinsky , Krasnouralsk , Kushvinsky , Revdinsky 2, , Novolyalinsky , Sukholozhsky , Asbestovsky 1, , Toborinskiy 1, , Berezovsky and Ivdelsky Kon- radov, of August on the number of men, women and children in the families of settlers and Janusz Korczak, Aleksander Lewin and the Polish orphanage in Monetna in the Urals It is worth remembering that the first attempts to help Polish citizens in the USSR were taken by the Polish authorities in exile a long time before the outbreak of the Soviet-German war.

One such action was led by the Polish Embassy in Tokyo.

Based on correspondence with people living in the depths of the Soviet Union, it has been possible to determine the whereabouts of almost 9, people. Data on people was collected from the Sverdlovsk oblast. Unfortunately, it covered also the Chelyabinsk oblast, and it was in Chelyabinsk that its offices were located. In Sverdlovsk, however, an alimentation and sanitation point was created, as well as an independent military connection point. The oblast was a very important journey stage for those travelling from the north of the USSR to the south, for the places the army was forming, which did not favour developing structures of care over the local population.

We should remember that from the very beginning the Polish Embassy in the USSR had enormous trouble in fulfilling the contracts concluded by the Polish and Soviet authorities. Although a Delegacy was appointed to assist the population of these areas, the delegate responsible for it, W.

Bruner, met strong resistance and lack of willingness to cooperate on the part of the local authorities from the very beginning, and in the second half of was expelled as persona non grata.

Before it happened, he managed to establish several trustee institutions.

It was managed by Alfred Jaworowski. Until the breakdown of the Polish-Soviet relations in April , the Polish embassy in the USSR was also able to establish a fragmentary care network.

Lewin, Problemy wychowania kolektywnego. More than a thousand of the 7, people were taken under care in this way. This was a very strong result. Nurseries and orphan- ages helped families struggling to survive. It took some burden off the older family members, making it easier for them to find work and providing them with more nutrition, which in the situation of a permanent lack of even basic food products was the matter of life or death for the children lucky enough to be placed in a facility.

In Monetna, no such facility was established. It is not exactly clear why — whether it was due to organisational difficulties, whether the trustees ran out of strength and energy, or whether it was simply decided that the existing facil- ities would take on the entire burden of care. It is worth remembering that the Sverdlovsk oblast was one of the smallest in terms of the number of Poles staying here, and so the Embassy and its employees necessarily focused their attentions more on areas where children were much more numerous, and living conditions even more unfavourable.

This was the case in the Northern regions of the RSFSR and the southern republics, where tens of thousands of people on the brink of exhaustion arrived as a result of the formation of the Polish Army. Documents on the situation of Poles in the Sverdlovsk oblast are very fragmentary, and do not make the research easier. One of the reasons for this may be the aforementioned fact that the oblast was essentially a transit place for exiles from Komi ASSR, or from the Arkhangelsk oblast.


The aid for the exiles came from several sources. One of the most important ones was the food and second-hand clothing downloadd by Polish authorities outside the USSR. A large part of this supply came from the USA and was delivered to the Soviet Union by sea to the active ports in the north and west of the empire, mainly Murmansk and Vladivostok. Some of the supplied goods were sent by sea to Persia and then overland in special convoys, transported to the Soviet Union and distributed by rail to the warehouses prepared by the Polish Embassy in Kuybyshev.

From there, the aid was divided to the individual facilities, mainly through the trustee network. It was not much, but without this modest help many children would find themselves in an extreme living situation, directly threatening their lives, as with the outbreak of war the food allocations were considerably reduced. The second source of aid was the modest food allowances promised by the Soviet side, which found their way to Polish care facilities, schools, hospitals and homes for the disabled.

The exposure of the Katyn massacre became the perfect excuse for the Kremlin to break relations with the Polish government in London. For the care institutions run by the Polish Embassy in Kuybyshev, this was the last step towards their closure.

Their problems had been piling up since the second half of , when the Soviet authorities began to close down the Polish delegacy network. Warehouses with aid and all educational establishments passed into the hands of local administration. It was only the appointment of the Union of Polish Patriots by Joseph Stalin that changed somewhat the unfavourable situation of the Polish people.

File:Janusz Korczak - Święto dziecka.pdf

In August , the Union managed to recreate a small fraction of the care network with 35 care and educational centres and 2, pupils.

Poles who worked there extracting peat for the huge metallurgical plant Uralmash Zavod were unable to take care of their children properly. Monetna was a large village near Sverdlovsk, and the seat of the Board of Peat Companies. Beria for J. Roszkowski, Warszawa, , p. This involved typical propaganda work, designed to instil in them a love for the new, created somewhere far away, socialist homeland.

However, the main task was to provide sufficient nutrition of the children directed to the home, and to start their school education, including teaching the Polish language.Franciszek Ciszewski wrote: Then I will briefly refer to his major works, by attempting to answer two main questions related to cultural differences and the contextual nature of educational practice: could Korczak's pedagogy become universal - beyond cultural differences and therefore relevant in different cultures?

Korczak sees the historical dimension of the redemption of the Jewish people and its return to the land of his forefathers, but more than anything 25 Korczak, ibid, p.

In this way he wants to change the world for the better, not through revolution but through revealing social norms and social mechanisms and questioning them, putting them to the test and asking why? With Korczak, the authentic traditional Jewish home is already beyond the horizons of his personal memory — he is familiar with the family genealogy, but he is distanced from the characteristics of its Jewish culture: Whenever humankind faces massive disasters, we should take a careful look at a horizon of any eventual human aid.

The rise of fascism in Germany encouraged a showing of anti-Semitism in Poland as well and the years were years of increasing hatred of the Jews and a restriction of their freedom.

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