In July of 1934 the kibbutz prepared to receive a very significant guest from Poland, Janusz Korczak . Dr. Korczak and his colleague, Stefania (Stefa) Wilczynska, ran an orphanage in Warsaw, Poland. Because they perceived a similarity between their approach to children and the approach of the kibbutz , both Korczak and Wilczynska decided to visit Ein Harod on several occasions. Ms. Wilczynska’s last visit to Ein Harod was in 1938, just before the outbreak of World War II.
TESTIMONY: “A SPECIAL GUEST”
“Korczak is coming, Korczak is coming.”
Dr. Korczak, Ms. Wilczynska, and the adults of the kibbutz alike each trusted children and treated them as individuals who could contribute to the community at large. They gave the children responsibilities and choices. At night, Dr. Korczak gave lectures to the adults about progressive issues such as child nutrition, coping with learning disabilities, and the role of the educator. Both the children and the adults of Ein Harod looked up to Dr. Korzcak. He was a leader and inspiration to all.
Even after Dr. Korczak left the kibbutz and returned to Poland, the Ein Harod community continued to feel his presence. He and his lectures had reaffirmed the important role of the child within the Zionist movement.