Who said: "Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today. They are entitled to be taken seriously. They have a right to be treated by adults with tenderness and respect, as equals." - Janusz Korczak.

Henryk Goldszmit was born in Warsaw in 1878. His father was a lawyer, his grandfather a doctor, and a paternal uncle a writer and scholar. At the age of 14 he entered a literary competition using the name Janusz Korczak (inspired by the book Janasz Korczak and the pretty Swordsweeperlady by Józef Ignacy Kraszewski), and from then on wrote under, and became known by, that name. When Korczak was 11 years old, his father fell victim to mental illness, requiring Korczak to support his mother, sister and grandmother. His father died when Korczak was 18-years-old, and he entered medical school, taking eight years to graduate because he had to support his family financially as well.

After his graduation he became a pediatrician, until the Russo-Japanese War (1905-1906) during which he served as a military doctor. During this period his book, Child of the Drawing Room, started to gain some literary recognition. He continued to write many books about and for children over the next thirty years, including King Matt the First (which is as well known in Poland as Alice in Wonderland is in the USA), How to Love a Child, and The Child’s Right to Respect.

In 1911, he became a director of Dom Sierot, an orphanage that he designed for Jewish children in Warsaw. The orphanage was a self-contained republic for children with its own small parliament, court and, later, a newspaper. During World War I, he again served as a military doctor. During the 1930s he had his own radio program, until it was canceled due to complaints from anti-Semites. Despite many opportunities to leave the country during the 1930s, Korczak stayed in Poland until World War II broke out, at which time he volunteered for duty in the Polish Army, but was refused on the grounds that he was too old. When the Germans created the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, he moved with his orphanage to the ghetto. In August 1942, German soldiers came to take away the more than 190 children. Korczak was repeatedly offered sanctuary on the "Aryan side" but refused to abandon his children. He left with the children, each dressed in their best clothes and carrying a favorite book or toy. An eye witness describes it thus:

A miracle occurred. Two hundred children did not cry out. Two hundred pure souls, condemned to death, did not weep. Not one of them ran away. None tried to hide. Like stricken swallows they clung to their teacher and mentor, to their father and brother, Janusz Korczak, so that he might protect and preserve them. Janusz Korczak was marching, his head bent forward, holding the hand of a child, without a hat, a leather belt around his waist, and wearing high boots. A few nurses were followed by two hundred children, dressed in clean and meticulously cared for clothes, as they were being carried to the altar. (...) On all sides the children were surrounded by Germans, Ukrainians, and this time also Jewish policemen. They whipped and fired shots at them. The very stones of the street wept at the sight of the procession.

It is not clear what happened to Korczak and the children on arrival at Treblinka, but it is believed that on arrival they were taken immediately to the gas chambers. A memorial to Korczak stands in the Pow?zki Cemetery in Warsaw.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and ambitious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.