This wonderful historical novel dramatizes the struggles of real life historical figures, Dr. Korczak and Irena Sendler, who worked to help the orphans of the Warsaw ghetto.

In an attempt to isolate and starve the Jews, the Germans enclosed Warsaw’s Jewish population within 1.3 square miles. Janusz’s orphanage and school was relocated within these borders.

At first he and his colleague, Stefa, are hopeful that life would more or less remain the same. They are quickly disillusioned, however, as the situation turns more and more dire.

Janusz sees the best qualities and the worst qualities of human nature on display. He sees Jews that turn on themselves–the Jewish police–and one German officer who has qualms about what the Nazis are doing.

The same officer urges Janusz to save himself yet the doctor refuses to abandon his orphans.

“You do not leave a sick child in the night, and you do not leave children at a time like this.”

“Janusz Korczak.” People of the Holocaust, Gale, 1998. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 21 June 2023.