Roman Wroblewski remembers his father, the man who saved Korczak’s Ghetto Diary so we could remember him. Dr. Korczak’s last entry was August 4, 1942:
I have watered the flowers, the poor orphanage pants, the pants of the Jewish orphanage. The parched soil breathed with relief.
A guard watched me as I worked. Does that peaceful work of mine at six o’clock in the morning annoy him or move him?
He stands looking on, his legs wide apart.
. . .
A cloudy morning. Five thirty.
Seemingly an ordinary beginning of a day. I say to Hanna: “Good morning!”
In response, a look of surprise.
I plead: “Smile.”
They are ill, pale, lung-sick smiles.
You drank, and plenty, gentleman officers, you relished your drinking – here’s to the blood you’ve shed – and, dancing, you jingled your medals to cheer the infamy to which you were too blind to see.
. . .
Our father who is in heaven…
This prayer was carved out of hunger and misery.
Our daily bread.
I am watering the flowers. My bald head in the window. What s splendid target.
He has a rifle. Why is he standing and looking on calmly?
He has no orders to shoot.
And, perhaps, he was a village teacher in civilian life, or a notary, a street sweeper in Leipzig, a waiter in Cologne?
Perhaps he doesn’t even know that things are – as they are?
He may have arrived only yesterday, from far away….
And the last photo of Janusz Korczak shows a very worn man, but his spirit still shone.
And to note: On this day, in 1944, Anne Frank and her family were arrested. Here’s the article from the Anne Frank House.