Janusz Korczak, 1878 -1942, Doctor, Author and Director of the Orphanage, Warsaw Ghetto.

Dare to dream...something will always come of it. Janusz Korczak.

On August 6th 1942 the Nazis entered the Warsaw Ghetto orphanage. They marched the 200 orphans with Janusz Korsczak and the staff to the station. They were all deported to the Treblinka death camp where everyone perished. I visited the orphanage in 2004 and wrote the poem below as a tribute to Korsczak and all who perished with him. 

A message to the children  

 

I cannot give you God

or a happy life

I cannot keep the truth from your gaze

but even as the pavements

weep beneath your feet

I can give you a longing for life

 

I can give you rhymes

and the comfort of my hand

I can give you pride

in the neat parting of your hair

before the final moment

when we take up our bags

I can give you courage to walk on.

 

Don’t ask me why tonight

just this once

no questions ‘til tomorrow

and when the morning comes

don’t look into the soldiers’ eyes

stare straight ahead

keep the flagpole steady

and we will reach the other side together.

 

© Miriam Halahmy

 

 

Orphanage, Warsaw ghetto, present day
Orphanage, Warsaw ghetto, present day
Memorial, Warsaw.
Memorial, Warsaw.
Jeffrey Segal reading an extract from Korczak's diary in the orphanage grounds.
Jeffrey Segal reading an extract from Korczak's diary in the orphanage grounds.

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