Repeated times, friends urged Janusz Korczak to escape before the Nazis deported him to a death camp. As an internationally famous author and intellectual, the Jewish pediatrician, head of a Warsaw orphanage, would get special treatment — if he wanted it.
But Janusz determined to stay with his charges, 192 Jewish orphans. When Nazis deported them to the Treblinka extermination camp, Janusz lied to the tykes. He told them to wear their finest clothes because they were going on a field trip. They filed out in pairs that August day of 1942. At the head, according to one observer, one kid played a violin. At the tail, Janusz carried a couple of the younger kids who were not so able to walk. They ignored their fate because Janusz didn´t want them to suffer crying.
For the kids, there was no hope. But Janusz could have saved himself. Urban legend holds it that an SS officer, who loved Janusz´s children´s book, urged him to flee to freedom. He refused. He would stay with his kids to the end — and die with them. This year, 2012, is 100 years since he opened his orphanage.
Janusz — for his kids — paid the ultimate price. What are you UNwilling to do — for God?