So, 22 July 1878 was born in the family of Polish Jews Goldschmidts, the firstborn - a boy. Parents named him in honor of grandfather Ruff (in some sources - Ersham), Ersh Henrik, but soon this name imperceptibly turned into Henryk - in Polish manner. I must say, the future doctor and teacher received his first education in Warsaw, in a Russian gymnasium. This educational institution was distinguished by great severity, an exemplary discipline reigned here, the offenders of which were punished severely, sometimes even cruelly. Any, even an insignificant deviation from the daily routine, must have been authorized in writing by the director.
Already in the first grade, ten-year-old Henryk studied Latin, and a year later he studied French, German and Greek.
And in the family of Goldschmidts, in the meantime, a grief happened: Father Jozef, a well-known lawyer at the time, the author of scientific monographs, became insane. He needed, if not permanent, then frequent and expensive treatment at the clinic. And after a while the Goldschmidt family began to barely make ends meet. Unfortunately, the father did not recover: he died in the hospital. And very soon, worries about the maintenance of an orphaned family fell on the shoulders of a matured boy. Henrik, while still a high school student, began tutoring, wishing to help her mother and younger sister Anna. After graduating from high school, he chose the profession of doctor and in 1898, he entered the University of Warsaw in the medical faculty. During practice, he worked in hospitals, hospitals, children's camps. He improved in clinics in London, Paris, Berlin. The fees that Henryk received for treating rich people gave him the opportunity to treat the poor completely free of charge. He worked in the Jewish children's hospital named after Bersonov and Baumanov.
While still a student, a young doctor began to try his hand at literary work, taking the pseudonym Janusz Korczak. At first these were publications in Polish newspapers, and then literature stood next to journalism. His fairy tale "King Matiush First" is dedicated to raising children, I understand them and happiness. A young doctor woke up a teacher. Henrik became increasingly aware that he had become attached to the children with all his heart. He wanted to teach them, to support them, to make their lives joyful, full of good and useful work. He saw the injustice that adults often tolerate in relation to children, and he was acutely worried about it. So, slowly, a decision came to him: he will heal the souls ...
In 1905, Korczak received a medical degree. As a doctor, he participated in the Russian-Japanese war.
And in the 1911 year, thanks to the efforts of Janusz Korczak in Warsaw, on Krakhmalnaya Street (in some sources - Krokhmalnaya), the Orphanage House opened in the house number 92. As a very respected man, Korchak managed to collect rich donations for which this house was kept. He was very different from the previously known shelters, where, in the main, they only cared about food and clothing for children. No, the Orphanage was completely different - “tuned” to raising children, and not just their content. Even the building itself, beautiful and spacious, in the depths of a large garden, was built very carefully. In the equipped basement - laundry, kitchen, dressing room, workshops. The ground floor was a recreational room where children spent most of the day. Plus study rooms, dining room. On the second floor there are rooms for bursists and a large gallery. And already on the third - the bedrooms of boys and girls, separated by rooms of teachers. The doctor himself lived in the attic.
The system of education in the Orphanage House was built on respect for the child. Korchak (here he was called the Old Doctor) claimed that many adults divide life into two classes, two camps: adults and children. And it often happens that the class of children is oppressed, more often through the ignorance of adults, than at their will. “If you want to raise a child - bring up, first of all, yourself!” - this expression belongs to Korchak. In the House there was no place for a very tough discipline, but nobody allowed any licentiousness either. Children made many decisions together, taking responsibility themselves. Educators are strictly forbidden to go to the cry. A special place in the orphanage was occupied by fairy tales - the Old Doctor said that fairy tale is the language of children. And in this language they can explain many real things.
There was a big game in a small state. There was also a comrades' court in which all conflicts and difficult situations were dealt with. The court met once a week. Five judges were chosen by drawing lots, but only from those who hadn’t received any complaints a week earlier.
The court had its own secretary - educator, who only collected testimony and read them at the meeting. The wallboard, the book of testimony and sentences, and its own newspaper deserved special attention. And its code developed by Janusz Korczak. His first 99 articles are forgiving, exculpatory. "The court forgives boy A., because he repented ..."
Only the hundredth article is accusatory, blaming: for disrespect towards people, for indifference. The punishment for this is the publication of the name of the perpetrator in the newspaper. Almost the most significant punishment is in the penultimate article: the guilty person is deprived of civil rights for a week. No one can sue anyone either. The sentence is published in the newspaper, relatives are invited to the Orphans House (if they exist). But the worst punishment is in the last article: the guilty person is found to be incorrigible and excluded. All that could be done did not produce any results. There are such cases in the history of the house, they are two or three.
To submit an application to the court, the child simply wrote down his name on the board, the name of the person to whom he complains and for what. It was possible to sue both the teacher and the educator, and even to himself (yes, there were such cases!) - thoroughly and thoughtfully dealt with absolutely everything.
It may seem that the Korczak method was based only on children's self-government. But this is absolutely not the case. In his House there was no licentiousness, permissiveness, no one diminished the role of the educator.
Another very important condition in the shelter was honest work. Think about it: for one hundred children - only one housekeeper, one caretaker and one cook! No dependence on the technical staff, and, moreover, cleanliness and order. The secret lurked on duty. They were much more than children: each pupil was on duty at once on several "fronts" that he chose for himself. Sometimes, for several weeks or even months, the guys did the same job - but it was their favorite job, they themselves decided that this would be the case. The boys and girls themselves swept and cleaned the floors, helped in the kitchen, cleaned the yard, helped the younger ones follow the rules of personal hygiene, washed the dishes, looked after the sick, and even worked on handing out tools in bookbinding, carpentry and other workshops. Duty estimated. Half an hour of labor is one point for the benefit of society. When 500 points were accumulated, the child was given a commemorative postcard of a worker (of course, this is only under the condition of good, diligent work).
Those who lived in an orphanage for more than one year were given the following titles by a general decision: a king and a friend of children, a citizen, a dear friend, an indifferent lodger, a burdensome newcomer. Each of these titles gave certain rights and imposed certain obligations. For example, the “friend” had the right to permanently stay in the house until the age of 14. But the “newcomer” or “lodger” could only be corrected if he found his guardians and would work properly for about a year. Commission for the analysis of titles held several times a year. Everything was evaluated here: performance, diligence, activity, good behavior ...
Remarkable and Korchakovsky way of learning self-organization. The old doctor was sure that punishment could not be taught to discipline. He came up with another. Each quarter at the general meeting asked the question: "Who wants to get up with the first call?" (And the call was very early). Those who wanted were raised. Starting from the next day, they fought for the title of the most organized. With the first bell they got up, with the second they washed, and with the third they were already in the dining room and left their name on a special board in the “early rising list”. After three months, summed up. Anyone who was able to overcome himself and get up early at least five times, was awarded a special card.
Or another method - a bet, the secret of which only Janusz Korczak knew. The child made a bet with himself, promising to correct something. He took the Old Doctor as witnesses, but he did not keep any records. For example, the student wanted to break the curse. At first, he promised not to say this word, say, more than thirty times a week. If you won - the number of words was reduced, and so gradually got to zero. Sometimes, students were shy to tell the doctor what the essence of the bet was. Korchak took it on faith, never asking for an explanation.
Hung on the wall of the shelter and a special mailbox. Here each child could drop a note with any question, if hesitated to ask it out loud.
The old doctor seemed to be everywhere. He treated and raised children, wrote books on pedagogy, and conducted radio programs “Comic pedagogy”. And although the name at first glance is not serious, but ... Here is one of the texts of the program dedicated to the fights. “You, my dear, not malicious, not a rowdy. You are hot-tempered. To tell the truth, I, too ... I still struggle with my incontinence ... And I thought up a punishment for myself: if I argue with someone, I have to go all over Warsaw three times on a tram. Or I don’t have the right to smoke for half a day ... I know: it’s not possible by the throat, in the stomach, it is not allowed to twist the head, break out the fingers ... Only in exceptional cases, if it is impossible to avoid, not because of trivial matters, not for something. And there must be a strong will, a drag. Yes."
Korchak participated in the creation of the second orphanage - "Our Home". And this shelter has also become special.
... And time passed. Adolf Hitler came to power. Fascists were already walking around Warsaw, and Janusz Korczak walked the streets in Polish uniform. He claimed that it was the uniform of the soldier whom he had betrayed. However, a year after the start of the occupation, his uniform had to be removed, but not out of fear for himself, but out of fear for the life of "his" children. The old doctor continued to write non-fictional works about children (“the child’s right to respect,” “The right to life,” “Humorous pedagogy”). He spoke on the radio, addressed the children of war, prompting how to behave in emergency situations.
But a wall appeared on the territory of the city, which separated the Jewish ghetto from the whole world. Korchak was invited to stay in Palestine, but he did not abandon his orphans and refused all attempts to escape. Igor Neverly - a writer who worked for several years in an orphanage, got the Old Doctor a pass to exit the ghetto. Here are his memories: “They rented a room for him at Belyanakh, they prepared documents. Korchak could leave the ghetto at any moment. At least with me, when I came to him, having a pass for two people - a technician and a plumber of a plumbing network. Korchak looked at me in such a way that I cringed. It was evident that he did not expect such an offer from me. The meaning of the doctor’s response was this: you won’t leave your child in misfortune, illness, danger. And then two hundred children. How to leave them alone in the gas chamber? And is it possible to survive all this? ”
In the summer of 1942, a decree was received on the deportation of Orphanage Home. The guys were sent to Treblinka concentration camp - one of the most brutal death camps (however, are there any not cruel death camps? ..). The number of its victims during the war years - about 800 thousands: more only in Auschwitz.
And now 6 of August is the last time the old doctor was officially offered to escape. “Dr. Goldschmidt may remain ...” The German command wanted to show public mercy to all his beloved teacher, doctor, writer. However, Korchak flatly refused: “To betray the children, to let them die alone - that means giving in to the mischief!”
The whole orphanage - two hundred children and caregivers - in an even column, without tears and attempts to escape, went to the cars that were supposed to deliver them to Treblinka. At the head was an old doctor, he led two children by the arms.
Here are the memoirs of the Polish historian Emmanuel Ringelblum, who was later shot: “They told us that they were having a nurse school, pharmacies, orphanage Korczak. It was a terrible heat. I planted children from boarding schools at the very end of the square, by the wall. I was hoping to save them today. Suddenly an order came to withdraw the boarding school. No, I will never forget this spectacle! It was not an ordinary march to the wagons, it was a silent protest against banditry! The procession began, which has never been before. Lined up four children. At the head is Korczak with eyes directed forward, holding two children by the arms. Even the auxiliary police stood up and saluted. When the Germans saw Korczak, some asked: “Who is this man?”. I could not stand it any longer - tears poured from my eyes, I covered my face with my hands ... ”
A guard standing near the train recognized Korczak. He read his famous fairy tale "King Matiush I". “I can save you,” he said. “Get off the train, stay in Warsaw.” And Korczak again refused.
All the way on the train, the Old Doctor told the children a very long tale. He did not interrupt his story even when they all came to Treblinka and entered the gas chamber. And, probably, the children were not so scared to die, because next to them was their teacher, their Old Doctor ...
Today in Treblinka, on the supposed place of death, lies a memorial plate. It says: "Korchak and his children." He did not have his family in the sense in which we used to understand this. And he had his own family. Very large, which the old doctor was betrayed to the last minute of life.