A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust (Paperback)
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From National Book Award Finalist Albert Marrin comes the moving story of Janusz Korczak, the heroic Polish Jewish doctor who devoted his life to children, perishing with them in the Holocaust.
Janusz Korczak was more than a good doctor. He was a hero. The Dr. Spock of his day, he established orphanages run on his principle of honoring children and shared his ideas with the public in books and on the radio. He famously said that "children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today." Korczak was a man ahead of his time, whose work ultimately became the basis for the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
Korczak was also a Polish Jew on the eve of World War II. He turned down multiple opportunities for escape, standing by the children in his orphanage as they became confined to the Warsaw Ghetto. Dressing them in their Sabbath finest, he led their march to the trains and ultimately perished with his children in Treblinka.
But this book is much more than a biography. In it, renowned nonfiction master Albert Marrin examines not just Janusz Korczak's life but his ideology of children: that children are valuable in and of themselves, as individuals. He contrasts this with Adolf Hitler's life and his ideology of children: that children are nothing more than tools of the state.
And throughout, Marrin draws readers into the Warsaw Ghetto. What it was like. How it was run. How Jews within and Poles without responded. Who worked to save lives and who tried to enrich themselves on other people's suffering. And how one man came to represent the conscience and the soul of humanity.
Filled with black-and-white photographs, this is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose compassion in even the darkest hours reminds us what is possible.
About the Author
Albert Marrin is a beloved author of numerous works of nonfiction for young readers. His books include Flesh & Blood So Cheap, which was a National Book Award Finalist, and Uprooted, a Siebert Honor Book.
YALSA Excellence In Nonfiction Award Winner
“Painful yet profound.” –Booklist, Starred Review
“It’s a harrowing book, complete with harrowing photographs, that’s insightful about connections to other historical events without losing sight of its main topic; its emphasis on youth experience, both in Korczak’s orphanage and elsewhere, adds a dimension often undertreated in other explorations of the topic.” —Bulletin