Albert Marrin has crafted a gripping narrative of the life and death of Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor in the Warsaw Ghetto. He was not only a physician, he ran an orphanage in Warsaw for Jewish children. As the horrors of the Nazi regime moved closer, Dr. Korczak was given numerous opportunities to escape, but he would not go without his charges. Ultimately, he led them to Treblinka Camp, dying by gas along with the children in 1942. The book not only shows the nightmares of the Holocaust and the Warsaw Ghetto, but also the beauty of an individual soul committed to caring for others who cannot care for themselves. Albert Marrin writes of the circumstances surrounding Dr. Kroczak, his belief of the value of children as human beings. And with this history Marrin also shows how the disregard for children continues to shape beliefs in 20th and 21st Century conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. Though there are many books about the Holocaust, this is one that shines through. It shares not only the life story of a lesser known hero of the Holocaust but also the possibility of the human spirit.
Albert Marrin is a prolific author for young adults. Other titles include Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and its Legacy, a Nations Book Award Finalist, and Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II, A Sibert Honor Book, and Very, Very, Very Dreadful: the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
--reviewed by Ruth