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International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Holocaust
27 January 2022 @ 17:00 - 28 January 2022 @ 20:00
On September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, the voice of “the old Doctor” (Stary doktor) appeared on the waves of Radio Polski. Despite an order for all staff to evacuate the building, Janusz Korczak was one of a few to stay in order to broadcast from the “Warsaw 2” radio station.
Once again, he spoke to the children as equals, as he had done so many times during his popular radio show in the preceding years. This time, however, he did not talk about education, nor about philosophy or society, but rather provided a “first aid” radio show, during which he explained to his listeners, the children, what was happening all around them.
It was not until three weeks later, on September 23, 1939, with German shells encroaching on the radio station, that he abandoned his shift. This was the last time that Janusz Korczak signed off. And it is this frequency that we seek to renew today. It is the frequency of a human-loving physician, an educator, writer, journalist, public administrator, social entrepreneur and human rights activist.
Following the poet William Wordsworth, Janusz Korczak saw, in the child, the “father of the man.” And from this insight he developed his entire humanist, democratic, multicultural approach that directly positioned the child within the adult — and vice versa — and sought to heal, in times of severe social, political, and spiritual distress, the complex human condition.
As we honor Janusz Korczak and the children who perished in Treblinka, we seek to revive their ethos, not only of tragedy or heroism, but rather those of vitality, growth, and creativity. To water the seeds that were sowed nearly a century ago and embark on a path of healing and repair today.