Warszawa (Warsaw): Nakladem Ksiegarni Powszechne, 1906 [i.e 1907]. First edition. Hardcover. Small octavo. 347, pp. Contemporary 3/4 leather over marbled paper covered boards, with gold lettering and ruling to spine. Raised bands. Original illustrated wrappers by Lewand bound in. Decorative initials.
Janusz Korczak was the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit, a Polish-born doctor, author and educator, who believed that children should always be listened to and respected, and this belief was reflected in his work. Korczak's early years were marked by the increasing madness of his father. After the latter was institutionalized, he had to become the man of the house. The result was that Henryk lost his childhood as he never had the freedom and innocence of the child. In an attempt to recover that lost childhood, he spent the rest of his life caring for children and living in their world.
Partially autobiographical, "Dziecko salonu" (Child of the Drawing Room) is the author's first literary success. The book tells the story of a child who has “lost his soul” in conforming to his parents’ wishes. When he becomes an adult, he rebels and enters a world of experience among all classes of people; this choice finally leads him to discover his vocation as a writer. "Dziecko salonu" clearly reflects Goldszmit’s own experiences as he too, was in the process of winning his independence from an overbearing mother by becoming an author as well as a doctor. He chose pediatrics for his specialty*. 5 copies of the first edition found worldwide on Worldcat.
Binding rubbed along edges and spine. Previous owner's signature in ink on title (not affecting lettering). Sporadic foxing and smudges along paper margin (not affecting lettering). Text in Polish. Binding in overall fair to good-, interior in good to very good condition. f to vg. Item #41033
* In 1910, Korczak gave up his lucrative private medical practice to become the director of an orphanage for Jewish children. He participated in the planning of the facility and the methods that would be used to educate the children. The orphanage opened in 1912, and Korczak began to create the Children’s Republic of which he had dreamed. Children were to govern themselves, to have their own court and newspaper, and even to decide which of the teachers should be retained or dismissed. Korczak had some difficulties with members of the Jewish community, who thought that the orphanage was “too Polish” because Korczak had not limited the school to Jewish orphans. Korczak was a Jew but also a patriotic Pole, and he tried to overcome differences between the groups in Poland. Furthermore, in Korczak’s view a child had no divisive nationality or religion but automatically belonged to the world of children. In October 1940, a year after the Nazis invaded Poland, the orphanage was to be moved inside the Warsaw ghetto. From then on and for almost two years, Korczak was seen every single day with a bag in his hand, trying to get food for his children. On August 5th 1942, the Nazis issued an order for everyone to leave the orphanage. Korczak, along with his assistant Stefania Wilczynska and ten other teachers gathered the 200 orphans and walked to the railway station. There, they were all packed into cattle wagons and sent to Treblinka. They were to be never seen again.