Ten year old boys have sharp ears and discerning senses to ferret out thwe "ring of a ciounterfeit coin" and could smell misplaced idealism. No more of bnaive romanticism about children.He was helpless at camp despite his reading those numerous books on child psychology.Note the descriptions of the most unlikely emerging boys. Note the variety of their characters and life situations illustrated by their descriptions.The most unlikely emerged as leaders,and the unruly were considerate of others.Note the gentle 12 year old Kruk,prince among the boys.A wholesome environment and the children blossomed. Look at these Jewish bastard boys more carefully, Korczak thought as the Polish peasant offered him his field to eat their meal. They are not the children you think they are. They are Jewish bastards who are not allowed to play in the city parks. Coachmen hit them with their whips, pedestrians push them off the sidewalks, superintendents chase them from their courtyards with brooms. These are not children, these are Moshkis- little Jews, yes. And not only aren´t you chasing them from under your trees, you are inviting them into your field." QUOTE The countryside brought out the poetry of the Polish and Yiddish languages as the city brought out the curses of both languages.janusz Korczak had the ifrst chance to test the effectiveness of a children's newspaper.
It was his lowest moment: "I was not a novice in the educational field; I
had been tutoring for years and had read numerous books on child psychology. Yet
there I was helpless" confounded bv the mvstery of the šberschHE HE
eries."collective soul of a child´ s community." He had come filled with
"ideals," but the boys´ sharp ears had caught the "ring of a counterfeit coin."
Conspiracy, rebellion, teachtery, reprisals were life´s reply to his "reveries."
As he struggled to win the confidence of the campers, he knew he would never
again be naively romantic about children.
By the end of the first week, the
most unlikely boys had emerged as leaders and the most unruly ones began to show
consideration for others. Aaron, who had weak lungs and lived with his mother, a
factory worker, was in his glory recounting the fairy tales he had heard while
convalescing in the courtyard of his tenement. Weintraub, who lost a leg after
being shot on the street, had learned to play checkers in the hospital and
organized some tournaments. Chaim, the biggest troublemaker, always defended
Mordko, who had sad black eyes, was awkward at games, and conversed with a
cuckoo in the woods. Ugly Anzel came to be accepted as someone who had become
nasty and fat because of the mean way he had been treated by other children. And
the gentle nature of twelve- year-old Kruk, who already worked in a factory and
looked after his incorrigible eight-year-old brother at camp, won him the title
of Prince among the boys.
"In life there are two kingdoms," Korczak wrote.
"There is the kingdom of pleasure, balls, salons, and beautiful clothes, where
for centuries the richest, happiest, and laziest have been called princes. But
there is also that other kingdom of hunger, troubles, and hard work. its princes
know from early childhood how much a pound of bread costs, how to take care of
younger brothers and sisters, how to work. Kruk and his friends are princes in
the kingdom of sad thoughts and black bread-hereditary princes."
gratified to see how rapidly his young princes blossomed in that wholesome
environment: "Yesterday-a caveman; today-a good sport. Yesterday-timid, fearful,
solemn; a week later-bold, lively, bursting with initiative and song."
morning, as the children were on their way to a distant forest, they stopped to
eat by a railroad track. The cinders stirred up by the wind fell into their
breakfast. A peasant passing by said: "Children, don´t sit where it´s so dusty.
My field is much nicer."
"But if we walk on your land, we´ll trample
whatever is growing there," one child replied."Oh, how much harm can you do if
you´re barefoot? Go along. It´s my field, I give you permission."Korczak, the
counselor, was moved by the offer. He was thinking:"Oh, Polish peasant, look at
those boye more closely. They are not the children you think they are. They are
Jewish bastards who are not allowed to play in the city parks. Coachmen hit them
with their whips, pedestrians push them off the sidewalks, superintendents chase
them from their courtyards with brooms. These are not children, these are
Moshkis- little Jews, yes. And not only aren´t you chasing them from under your
trees, you are inviting them into your field."
"What kind of things do you
do in Warsaw?" the peasant asked the boys. And he told them where they could
find the best berries.
Such encounters helped the young campers´ Polish as
well as their spirits. They may have heard only Polish curses in Warsaw-"Jewish
bastards!" "Drop dead!" -but in the country, Korczak wrote, "the Polish language
smiles at the children with the greenness of the trees and the gold of the
wheat. It is mixed with birdsong, starlight, and fresh river breezes. Polish
words, like wild flowers, rearrange themselves into meadows."The same was true
for Yiddish-"so noisy and full of curses on the streets of Warsaw"-which became
softer, even poetic, as the children played together in the countryside.
campers were amazed when a W arsaw newspaper arrived with news about them on the
first page: "Mamelok climbed up to the window and looked into the kitchen;
Hawelkie and Szekielewski don>>t want to eat kasha; Boruch had a fight
with his brother Mordko; Butterman forgave Yemen for hitting him; the new dog
escaped his chain, but Franek grabbed him." There were also articles about the
joys of going barefoot in the country, and the history of summer camps.
older boys caught on that the counselors had written the paper, but the little
ones were very impressed that their activities were being reported in Warsaw.
And Janusz Korczak, whose idea it was, had his first chance to test the
effectiveness of a children"s newspaper.