Court confirms Janusz Korczak was killed in Treblinka
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Court confirms Janusz Korczak was killed in Treblinka

Official date of death of Polish-Jewish humanitarian changed to reflect that he died in the Holocaust

Janusz Korczak monument in Warsaw, 27 October 2010 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jan Bohdan Chmielewski, public domain)
Janusz Korczak monument in Warsaw, 27 October 2010 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jan Bohdan Chmielewski, public domain)

WARSAW — A Polish court changed the date of death of the martyred Polish-Jewish humanitarian Janusz Korczak to reflect he was killed in the Treblinka concentration camp.

The Lublin District Court on Friday confirmed that Korczak died on August 7, 1942, not May 9, 1946, as a postwar court had ruled.

The date of death was changed at the request of the Modern Poland Foundation in a case that has been ongoing since 2012.

Janusz Korczak, the pseudonym of Henryk Goldszmit, was a doctor, teacher, writer and humanitarian. During the Holocaust he ran an orphanage for Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto. Though he was offered sanctuary by the Polish underground, he chose to go with his more than 190 orphaned children when they were transported to Treblinka. He was killed together with the children when they arrived at the Nazi camp on August 7, 1942.

Postwar Polish courts set the dates of those who died during the war, but whose deaths were not officially documented, as one year after the end of the war.

“Leaving the recognition of Henryk Goldszmit’s death as May 9, 1946, distorts the historical reality,” said Judge Katarzyna Makarzec of the Lublin court.

The Modern Poland Foundation brought the case to court because it wants to publish the works of Korczak on the Internet. According to Polish law, copyrights expire 70 years after the author’s death.

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