It has been a strange year for all of us worldwide. And yet, there were many Korczak activities that took place in the US this year. The year is not over yet!
In this message, we would like to give you a summary of the known activities and ask you to let us know of any additional activities that have not yet come to our attention.
Also, please consider donating to the Janusz Korczak Association of the USA. The organization needs not only your good thoughts and your participation on the zoom calls, but also your donations so that we are able to bring programs to children, parents and educators throughout the year. Just click here to donate and we will be most grateful for your generosity.
In chronological order, Korczak USA activities, January–October 2020:
In March, Joyce Reilly visited Lyceum Kennedy International School in New York City and held a lesson for twenty-five children on Janusz Korczak and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (last live event of 2020).
In June, Marcia Talmage Schneider and Mariola Strahlberg were invited by 2nd and 3rd Generation of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors to talk about Janusz Korczak and Marcia’s book, Janusz Korczak: The Sculptor of Children’s Souls (via Zoom). You can listen to the recording here.
Make sure that you are friends with us on Facebook at facebook.com/korczakusa. We have lots of new posts.
For example, Dr. Kurt Bomze posted about Korczak’s 142nd birthday on July 22nd, on the Anniversary of the Liquidation of Korczak’s orphanage on August 5th, and on September 1st, he posted a beautiful article entitled “Kites for Our Times.”
August was a very busy month for us. Dr. Luciana Castrillon posted a special video on August 5th, entitled “On this Day in 1942.” Please check it out and pass it on to your friends. On August 6th, members of Korczak USA participated in the Korczak Film Discussion (on Zoom), organized by the 3rd Generation of the Descendants of Holocaust Survivors with guest speaker, Dr. Annette Insdorf and introductory remarks by Irving Roth, head of the Holocaust Resource Center, Temple Judea in Manhasset, NY. Dr. Insdorf, a film historian, has been teaching film at Columbia University. She talked about the Korczak movie and its director, Andrzej Wajda, as well as the reaction of her students when they see the movie. You can listen to her talk here.
Mariola Strahlberg posted information from Dr. Irina Demarkova and the Korczak Camp in Russia which took place during the summer.
Marcia Talmage Schneider and Mariola Strahlberg sent a proposal for a course at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City on Janusz Korczak and his educational practices.
Dr. Joop Berding from the Netherlands approached Daniel Berek, Dr. Kristen Poppo, Dr. Tatyana Tsyrlina Spady, and Mariola Strahlberg to write reviews for his new book, Janusz Korczak Educating for Justice. The book will be published in January of 2021. The publisher, Springer, accepted our reviews.
In September, Marcia Talmage Schneider gave another excellent talk about her book for the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires (on Zoom). Mariola asked her for a written copy of her talk and we plan to have the article available on Korczak USA’s website.
Brian Hull and Mary Tunner were approached by a movie producer with concrete plans to make their puppet show, Kaytek the Wizard, into a movie. Brian is also working on the King Matt I puppet show and will be participating in the international Zoom discussions about King Matt with A School of Life for the 21st Century, a new initiative from Israel.
Thanks to our new connections with the New York 3rd Generation of Descendants of the Holocaust Survivors (3GNY), and Barbara Wind, poet and retired director of Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest, New Jersey, Mariola was able to speak in Polish with Mrs. Nessa Ben Asher, nee Sylvia Tylbor (almost 96 years old this year) who met Janusz Korczak in the Warsaw Ghetto where she accompanied her mother on a delivery of soup to Korczak’s orphanage. She considers him a saint who daily begged for food for his children. She saw Korczak on the day that he, the children and staff were taken to Treblinka. Her mother was taken at the same time. She saw them walking calmly and quietly. At one point they even sang a song. People around cried seeing them. She saw Korczak being persuaded not to go onto the wagon and saw him refusing. According to Mrs. Ben Asher, in the ghetto everybody knew that all people being transported to Treblinka were going to die in a day or two. After the war Mrs. Ben Asher lived in Poland, and in 1966 immigrated to the US. She used to organize programs in schools where students would watch two movies, Wajda’s Korczak and Polanski’s Piano, and she would discuss these movies with them.
In 2021, plans are underway to create a Children’s Rights Trail in a rural area of upstate New York. In the spring, we will also be offering a three-part Korczak study seminar at Drew University in New Jersey. The seminar will be offered to New Jersey teachers as well as the university community and will provide Korczak’s biography, children’s rights and discussion on how to make Korczak’s ideas alive in classrooms.
We wish you a healthy and peaceful end of the year 2020, and please remember to donate to Korczak USA.
Mariola Strahlberg and Joyce Reilly