korzak_memorial1

Besides writing about subjects pertaining to photography as related to social awareness and peace, I also would like to share some of my experiences traveling around the world for to photograph Peace Corps volunteers for my book “Making Peace with the World”. Starting with this blog installment I will share entries from my travel journals and write a little about those entries or share related photos.

Here is my journal entry from Saturday, April 25, 2010 written on a train traveling from Warsaw, Poland to Kiev, Ukraine. “Oh, back to Warsaw. So I am walking around this park and I see this really cool statue. It appears to be a man and he is helping children. It turned out to be a memorial for Dr. Janusza Korczaka. The man who ran an orphanage in the Jewish ghetto and was an advocate for the orphans. During WW II he stayed there and did everything he could to save the children, but in the end he went to the concentration camps with them. I read a book about him and it was so inspirational. I was impressed with how he treated the children - lots of his methods and beliefs parallel mine. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of this memorial to him. I took several pictures.”

One of the many things I like about traveling is how it creates opportunities of discovery. It also gives you the opportunity to experience places that you have read about it. I know that during my travels around the world I came to have a better understanding of things I had studied as a history major in college.

It is great when your interests coalesce with a moment in an unexpected way. This happened to me as I was traveling fro Germany to Ukraine. I took the train and had a stop in Warsaw, Poland for a night. I knew very little about Warsaw and had limited time to explore. As usual I walked about and took pictures.

While exploring Warsaw, Poland I came upon a memorial to Janusz Korczak. I have admired him every since I read “King of Children: A Biography of Janusz Korczak.” My interest in Korczak stems from my experience working with youth.  Besides working as a journalist and a photographer I have experience working with at risk youth. I intended to be a teacher and have also been interested in child psychology, but my lack of academic acumen has kept me from pursing either. Many of my views and practices in working with children are parallel to his. He was a great man.

When I came across this memorial to Korczak I had to get a good photo of it because of my admiration for the man. He was truly an inspirational person. Here is more information about him:  ”Janusz Korczak was born Henryk Goldsmit in Warsaw on July 22, 1878. During his youth, he played with children who were poor and lived in bad neighborhoods; his passion for helping disadvantaged youth continued into his adulthood. He studied medicine and also had a promising career in literature. When he gave up his career in literature and medicine, he changed his name to Janusz Korczak, a pseudonym derived from a 19th century novel, Janasz Korczak and the pretty Swordsweeperlady.

In 1912, Korczak established a Jewish orphanage, Dom Sierot, in a building which he designed to advance his progressive educational theories. He envisioned a world in which children structured their own world and became experts in their own matters. Jewish children between the ages of seven and fourteen were allowed to live there while attending Polish public school and government-sponsored Jewish schools, known as “Sabbath” schools. The orphanage opened a summer camp in 1921, which remained in operation until the summer of 1940.”