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Time for 10 Things, by Janusz Korczak

By Shlomo Maital


      Janusz Korczak was the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit (1878-1942), a Polish educator, author, medical doctor and teacher known as “Mr. Doctor”.  He wrote wonderful children’s books.   He spent many years working as director of an orphanage in Warsaw. He was offered sanctuary repeatedly – but refused it, and stayed with his orphans when the entire population of the institution was sent from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka extermination camp, where he and his children died. Here is how an eyewitness in the Ghetto described the roundup:

   Janusz Korczak was marching, his head bent forward, holding the hand of a child, without a hat, a leather belt around his waist, and wearing high boots. A few nurses were followed by two hundred children, dressed in clean and meticulously cared for clothes, as they were being carried to the altar.    ….When the group of orphans finally reached the Umschlagplatz, an SS officer recognized Korczak as the author of one of his favorite children’s books and offered to help him escape. By another version, the officer was acting officially, as the Nazi authorities had in mind some kind of “special treatment” for Korczak (some prominent Jews with international reputations were sent to Theresienstadt). Whatever the offer, Korczak once again refused. He boarded the trains with the children and was never heard from again.

   On my wall at work, I have a small plaque with these words written by Mr. Doctor. Perhaps they are worth sharing.  


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                                 Time for 10 Things

  1. Take time for work – it’s the price of success.
  2. Take time for thought – it’s the price of your power.
  3. Take time for playing – it’s the secret of your youthfulness.
  4. Take time for reading – it’s the foundation of your knowledge
  5. Take time for serenity – it will help you wash the dust from your eyes
  6. Take time for friendship and friends – it’s the fountain of your happiness
  7. Take time for fraternal love – friendship with someone nearby will ensure you   contribute meaningfully to others.
  8. Take time for dreaming – it will pull your soul up to the stars.
  9. Take time for laughter and playfulness — it will ease the burdens of life
  10. Take time for making plans — then you will have time to do the other nine.

   Rest in peace, Mr. Doctor.    

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital