An End-of-the-Year Message from Mariola Strahlberg, President of the Janusz Korczak Association of the USA

Dear Supporters of the Janusz Korczak Association of the USA and Shining Mountain Center for Peaceful Childhood,

End of the year is the time for gratitude and giving. I am grateful that together we are making the world around us a better place for children and adults. A special thank you to our generous supporters for their amazing donations that allowed us to take 4 teenagers to Poland and Switzerland this year.

2013 was a big year for us. Together, we were able to establish Janusz Korczak Association of the USA, create a Facebook and LinkedIn presence, publish our first newsletter, and introduce many new people to Janusz Korczak ‘s educational ideas and our special way of working with children, parents, and teachers.

There is much more coming in 2014. We hope to add many new people to our Korczak Association. We are planning a one day pilot for a Korczak camp in the US, considering to take more Children to Korczak Camp in Poland and Youth Conference in Switzerland during the summer. Thanks to my association with the Rockland County School Health and Wellness Coalition, I will be bringing the Five Star Program © to the Head Start of Rockland, Rockland BOSCES, and Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Hospital. Plans are also under way for a one-day workshop for NJ school teachers, sponsored by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education to introduce them to Korczak’s pedagogical ideas with specific examples of lesson plans for their classrooms.

The more I learn about Janusz Korczak, the more amazed I am about his insights and the stronger I feel that our work together is of utmost importance. Consider this timely quote that I found on page 142 in “A Voice for the Child,” a collection of inspirational words of Korczak, compiled by Sandra Joseph in 1999:

“Politicians and legislators make rules and decisions about children which often fail to work.
But who asks the child for his opinion or consent?
Who is likely to take note of any advice or approval from such a naïve being?
What can a child possibly have to say?”

At least we can say and show that we do listen to children and try our best to help them. For our work to continue, your generosity is essential. Please consider Janusz Korczak Association in your year-end giving. Rest assures that each of your contributions will help promote knowledge of Korczak and children’ rights in the USA. Please send your tax deductible generous donations to:

Shining Mountain Center
c/o Janusz Korczak Association of the USA
11 Beckett Ct,
Monsey, NY 10952

I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful New Year 2014. I look forward to seeing or hearing from all of you soon. To those of you whom I did not meet personally, I look forward to welcoming you in person to our Korczak’s circle in 2014.

For the Janusz Korczak Association of the USA,

Mariola Strahlberg

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The Newsletter of the Janusz Korczak Association of Canada, No. 8 – A Scholarly Masterpiece

“Janusz Korczak exemplifies values we seek to inspire in every educator,” said Dr. Mark Edwards, University of British Columbia, at the unveiling ceremony of the bronze relief “Janusz Korczak and His Children”; the work, by renowned artist Marek Rona, is located in the Scarfe Building Lobby at the University of British Columbia, Department of Education.  This is just one of the ways in which The Janusz Korczak Association of Canada (www.januszkorczak.ca) has been active in 2012, the Year of Janusz Korczak.  This book comprises all the news of the association’s activities for 2012 and 2013.  This important publication chronicles the important conference, “Janusz Korczak: His Legacy and Children’s Rights,” the Janusz Korczak Association of Canada held on November 2, 2012, at the University of British Columbia.  Articles covering many aspects and perspectives of the life and work of Janusz Korczak include the following:

  • “Who Was Korczak,” a presentation by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz
  • “Korczak’s Home for Orphans as the Children’s Republic,” by noted Korczak scholar Dr. Olga Medvedeva-Nathoo
  • “To Care for the Soul of the Child.” By Dr. James Anglin
  • “It’s All about Adults – Reflections on Childhood in the 21st Century, by Dr. Anna Kindler
  • “Korczak’s Legacy: The Power of Play,” by Dr. Marilyn Capman
  • “Janusz Korczak – A Moral Exemplar,” by Dr. Theresa Rogers
  • “Research in Early Childhood Education and Children’s Rights,” by Judith Duncan
  • “Bibliography – An Academic Approach to Korczak’s Legacy,” by Dr. Galina Sanaeva
  • “The Misunderstood and Taken for Granted,” by Yakov Medvedev
  • Overviews of media coverage and the 2012 Annual Meeting.

In 2012, the British Columbia Pediatric Society granted an honorary membership to Janusz Korczak himself.  An article by group of UBC students, “Dr. Janusz Korczak and His Legacy,” gives a perspective on Korczak by young scholars; a short but important bibliography is included.

JKAC member Olga Medvedeva-Nathoo gives an overall perspective about Korczak’s life and reviews a theatrical production of King Matt the First performed in Vancouver in June 2012.  Included are beautiful poems and photographs of this important theatrical production.

Dr. Galina Sanaeva chronicles the many discussions a controversial article, “They Had a Conscience,” which appeared in the November 7, 2011, National Post.  Dr. Sanaeva also covers the news of a monument to Irena Sendler being erected in Poland.  Irena Sendler knew Korczak and held a life-long admiration for him. 

The past two years also saw the introduction of three books dedicated to Janusz Korczak, May Their Lot Be Lighter – Of Janusz Korczak and His Pupil, by Olga Medvedeva-Nathoo, a book of poems by Richard Mirabel, and Janusz Korczak: A Bibliography – English Sources, 1939–2012, edited by Olga Medvedeva-Nathoo and Galina Sanaeva, with contributions by Edyta Januszewska and Daniel Berek.  Each of these titles is reviewed in detail, with excerpts and illustrations.

The next section of this book covers Korczak events around the world, including the following:

  • The seminar Janusz Korczak and Children’s Rights in Contemporary Perspective, organized at the Consulate General of Poland on May 8, 2012
  • “My Journey as a Child Holocaust Survivor,” a lecture delivered by Dr. Robert Krell at the United Nations General Assembly, New York, on January 27, 2012.

This part is followed by “Korczak and the 21st Century,” which includes the following:

  • “If Janusz Korczak Would Be Alive Today,” by Dr. Zbigniew Rudnicki, and translated form the Polish into English for the first time.

“Korczak’s Traces in Canada” covers the legacy of Pan Doctor in Canada, with the following:

  • “We Are Not the Korczak Pioneers, or Who Was George Scheinman?” with a reprint of Mr. Scheinman’s 1973 article, “I Knew Janusz Korczak.”

Book reviews of Polish and German books are included, making these important works accessible to Korczakians who do not speak the languages:

  • Korczak – Proba Biografii, by Joanna Olzczak-Ronkier (who, along with Hanna Olczak, knew Korczak and Stefa)
  • Inspiracje Korcczakowskie, edited by Zbigniew Rudnicki
  • Janusz Korczak – Fotobiografia
  • Pamietniki Blumki (Blumka’s Journal), by Iwona Chmielewska
  • Tom Lasker. Abenteuer in Alter Welt, by Hans Georg Friedmann.

The final section is titled “Inspired by Korczak”; it includes the following:

  • An overview of the poetry of Tymoteusz Karpowicz, with selected poems translated
  • “King Machuch the First and the United States: A Theatrical Approach, or Against Stereotypes,” by Robert Weiss, along with an excerpt of his adaptation.
  • Poems by Dr. Joseph Albeck
  • Songs by Portuguese-Canadian singer and songwriter Awna Teixeira.

This 156-page periodical book contains a wealth of scholarship on material hitherto not accessible to the English-speaking world.  It also includes many fascinating photographs and illustrations, along with important bibliographies on new sources of literature on or related to Janusz Korczak.  The writers and editors of the Image have done a masterful job in creating an important contribution to the scholarship on Janusz Korczak.

Review of: The Newsletter of the Janusz Korczak Association of Canada, Annual Issue No. 8, 2012-2013.  For more information, go to http://www.januszcorczak.ca 

The Long Walk Marches On

The Long Walk Marches On

My heart aches for your passing but sings with joy with your greatness. You started a long walk to freedom and kept on waking; even after finding freedom, you continued your march for human justice. You are a titan among men, a Mohandas Gandhi, a Martin Luther King, Jr. Though I bid you farewell, Madiba, you will be in the hearts of people everywhere – most important, children.

The New York Times cover is right not to mention the word “death” on its eloquent front cover.