Janusz Korczak and the orphans of the Warsaw Ghetto

This is a new KS3 self-directed online lesson that supports RE/Citizenship/History learning, whilst working at home. It focuses on the life and death of Janusz Korczak who, having been incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto, was murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators at Treblinka along with the 200 children of his orphanage in the summer of 1942.

Korczak, was born into a non-religious Jewish family, in Poland in 1878. He became a doctor, writer and a pioneer of child-centred education long before it became fashionable. Most notably, he became an advocate of children’s rights. He was known throughout Poland as an author of classic children’s novels and as a radio broadcaster who would dole out beautifully simply, often humorous but incisively blunt pearls of wisdom for parents, teachers and children.  He believed that young people should be taken seriously, entitled to a happy childhood and given equal rights to adults. So, it will be interesting to explore what you think about his philosophy and values and what your parents, carers or neighbours make of this man as you discuss him with them.

Just before the final aktions against the Jews of the Warsaw which would end with their murder, Korczak was given the chance to escape. Polish friends had organised a plan for his rescue. He vehemently declined the offer and chose to remain with the children so they would not face their uncertain future alone.

This is a 50minute lesson which we hope will inform your knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust and help you consider children’s rights and the educational legacy of Korczak.


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