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Janusz Korczak ( Goldszmidt ), was born on July 22, 1878 or 1879 in Warsaw and died on August 7, 1942, killed in the Nazi extermination camp of Treblinka.
Born into a Jewish family well integrated into European society and defender of Haskalá values, Korczak was a pediatrician, pedagogue, writer, publicist, social activist and officer of the Polish Army.
Pedagogue innovator, was the author of several publications on the theory and practice of education. He was also a precursor to the fight for the rights and equality of children. As Director of the Jewish Orphanage in Warsaw, he provided the inner children with a system of self-government and the opportunity to produce his own newspaper, Maly Przeglad (The Little Magazine), founded by Korczak himself and published between 1920 and 1939. It was of a pioneering publication written from material sent by children and dedicated mainly to children’s readers. Korczak was also one of the first pediatricians to promote research in the field of development, psychology and educational diagnosis of the child.
“A wonderful man who was able to trust the children and young people he cared for, to the point of leaving disciplinary questions in his hands and entrusting some of them with the most difficult tasks with great responsibility” , said Korczak, Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who visited Dom Sierot (The Home of the Orphans), a center founded and directed by Korczak.
As a Jew and Pole, Korczak always assumed his identity as such.
Thirty years after his death he was granted, posthumously, the Peace Prize of the German Booksellers. In his honor, the Janusz Korczak prize for literature has also been awarded, among others, by Mirjam Pressler, Michael Ende, Astrid Lindgren and Carme Solé.
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