A special Holocaust memorial exhibition on the life and work of Dr. Janusz Korczak is being sponsored by the Jewish Community of Japan and the Japan Korczak Memorial Committee from April 14-21. April 16th is Yom HaShoah, the day observed by the world-wide Jewish community as a memorial to the six million Jews killed during World War II.
Dr. Janusz Korczak, a Jewish doctor in Warsaw, Poland, was a world famous educator, writer, and social activist. He devoted his life to children, particularly through the orphanages he directed in Warsaw before and during World War II. He championed children's rights by improving education. He wrote, "If you want to reform the world, you have to reform education."
In August 1942, when 200 Jewish orphans under his care were ordered to be transferred to Treblinka Extermination Camp, he refused offers to save his own life. He could not abandon his children at this tragic time and he accompanied them to their death. Reports indicate that Dr. Korczak dressed his children in their finest clothes, told them he was taking them on an outing, and urged them to sing with him and his staff as they marched to the railroad cars that would carry them and 4000 other children from Warsaw to the gas chambers of Treblinka.
In Ghetto Diary, Korczak's last book published after his death, he wrote: "I am angry with nobody; I don't wish anyone evil." Until the end of his life, he believed in the potential for good in each human being. He cherished the rabbinic teaching that suggests that when everyone acts inhuman, a strong individual should act more human.
At Treblinka, large rocks have been arranged as a memorial to the 840,000 Jews murdered there. The rocks are inscribed only with the names of the cities and countries from which the victims came. Just one person's name appears. One rock reads, "Janusz Korczak and the Children."
The exhibition is open to the public. The hours are: Sunday, April 14, 11:30 am - 8 pm, Monday 10 - 5, Tuesday through Thursday 10 - 8, Friday, 10 - 3, closed Saturday April 20 and open Sunday April 21 10 - 8.
The exhibition will be at the Jewish Community Center at 8-8 Hiroo 3-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150. The JCC is located near the Hiroo Station on the Hibiya subway line and near Shibuya Station. For details of the exhibition or directions to the JCC, call 03-3400-2559 or fax 03-3400-1827. There will be immediate admission for those who purchase tickets in advance. Admission is 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for students.
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