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The Warsaw Voice » Hit of the month » December 21, 2012
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In the Face of Death
December 21, 2012   
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Noc całego życia (Night of a Lifetime), a play that premiered at the Jewish Theater in Warsaw in November, recounts the last night in the life of Janusz Korczak, a Polish-Jewish children’s author, educator and pediatrician who was killed in the Nazi death camp in Treblinka.

The night referred to in the title was when Korczak examined his conscience after he and children from the Home of Orphans in Warsaw were taken to the death camp. Korczak declined a proposal to be released and chose to stay with his charges until the end, staying faithful to his humanistic ideals. Like a movie, Korczak’s entire life flashes before his eyes, scene after scene.

“My idea was to show, on stage, the reflections of a man at the end of his life,” Szymon Szurmiej, the director of the play, said at the premiere.

“It is not easy to put together a play with both an educational and moral message using just a diary. The story of Janusz Korczak is a story of many dimensions where facts and dates play a minor role, giving way to the spiritual aspect.”

Noc całego życia is a sad and thought-provoking play, showing Korczak through his own thoughts, as recorded in a diary he kept. Though Korczak died at Treblinka, his dairy survived.

Estera Rachel and Ida Kamińska Jewish Theater
12/16 Grzybowski Sq., tel. 22 526-20-49, 22 526-20-34
Next performance Jan. 16 at 1 p.m.
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