Parenting Advice from a Polish Holocaust Hero
For today's parents, the plethora of advice and how-to guides can seem intimidating.
But years before Dr. Benjamin Spock and other gurus of child-rearing came on the scene, a renowned pediatrician in Poland pioneered the field by advocating that parents simply trust their instincts.
Janusz Korczak was a Jew born in 1878 in Warsaw. He went on to become a physician and one of Poland's most famous writers — not only of parenting guides, but of children's books, too.
A new book, Loving Every Child, compiles Korczak's writings, some of which were originally published in the 1920s.
Korczak was also the director of two orphanages. After the Nazis took control of Poland in September 1939, he received offers of refuge but refused to leave his young charges, who were forced into a Jewish ghetto. And when those 200 or so children were rounded up for deportation to the Treblinka concentration camp, Korczak famously accompanied them in a dignified march to the train station. Most of them, including Korczak, perished in Treblinka.
Sandra Joseph, a child psychologist in Britain, edited the new Korczak volume. Joseph was amazed at the simple wisdom and inspiration of Korczak's message: Children have a right to be taken seriously.
Joseph speaks with Debbie Elliott about Korczak's writings, his place as one of the first advocates of children's rights and how, in many ways, he was ahead of his time.
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