‘Whilst we can remember the past, we cannot write the future. Only our children, the future of our community, can do that.” -Janusz Korczak
We all hold on to memories from our past, memories of experiences that have had a resounding impact on our lives.
I have a clear memory of being in Israel at 19 years of age and visiting Yad Vashem. I was walking through the outdoor garden exhibits and came upon the statue of Janusz Korczak – a larger than life memorial of him standing with wide outstretched arms, embracing children, his eyes filled with sorrow and compassion. That day, I learned that he was a pediatrician and an educator. He ran an orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, and had a unique way of working with them. He believed in a democratic approach, honouring the children’s individuality and giving each of them a voice to be heard. I learned that he was offered sanctuary by the Nazis and how he chose to stay with the children of the orphanage, ultimately accompanying them to the gas chambers of Treblinka on August 7, 1942. [Read more…]