Korczak (1990) Script

He who pretends to sacrifice himself for a person or a cause is a liar.

One likes cards... another prefers women, someone else swears by race horses.

Me, I love children.

It's not a sacrifice in the least.

I do it not for them, but for me.

The need is mine.

Don't believe all those declarations about sacrifice.

They're false and misleading.

Good day.

Good day, Doctor.

I have an appointment with the director.

But, the... Dr. Goldszmit is expected.

Exactly. I am Dr. Goldszmit.

You are?

We are very happy with your collaboration, Doctor.

Please sit down.

Let me take this occasion to-

I have an idea:

You know "The Little Review", don't you? What a success!

The entire magazine is done by the children.

They write it, edit it, lay it out, everything.

Now a whole generation of Jewish children can read and write Polish perfectly.

I thought of something similar on radio.

I asked you here... to inform you that... we must suspend, temporarily, your broadcasts.


You understand... the political situation... in Poland... is... difficult...

Education is my business, not politics.

Nonetheless, your person has caused

...some controversy...

It was a mistake in agreeing to produce, not under my name, not under the pseudonym Korczak, but anonymously: as an "old doctor".

I thought that would suit everybody.

It's not me, not a Jew, just an old doctor.

Isn't that right?

Doctor, please don't misunderstand me.

The idea's not mine, nor my superiors.

There have been pressures...


Tell me!

What kind of pressures?

I see. So my proposal is meaningless.

For the moment... dear Doctor...

We ask that next week you tell your audience that it's the last program... that you must leave... or something...

Otherwise we'll be flooded with letters.

Your show was so popular that we fear protests.

Yes... you are afraid of everybody...

One more thing: after the broadcast... we'd like to hold a small reception, informal, just to express our gratitude.

I fought for years for the dignity of children.

I was asked a question:

And who today respects human beings?

What's going on?

Come with me.

What is it?

It's nothing... it's over.

A letter... from Maryna, for the Doctor.

I'll take it.

The doctor's busy.

His former students are here.

We had a date near the church.

I couldn't make it.

You promised!

I waited for you...

I was afraid they'd baptize me!

Doctor, we left "Our Home" confident in a world full of goodness and love.

We had left, still children, to fight for survival.

Doctor, all this...

...humanist education...

All these journals, tracts, tribunals...

...this illusion of democracy in Our Home...

We were defenseless.

You should speak out in favor of the proletariat.

Instead of insisting that the Poles are our brothers...

Doctor, they beat us up and smash our windows.

Samy, Joseph!

You're out too far!


Tell them!

Don't worry.

Wouldn't drowning be... the best solution for a Jewish orphan?

Watch this.


I don't wash Jewish shit!

It's not your job, it's for their parents to do.

So as substitute for these children's parents it's my job to do the washing.

But, sir...

Leave it... I'll do it.

No. I'm a doctor. I can stomach it.

It's Stefa!

Miss Stefa is back!

Call me "Mrs. Stefa"...

I can't be a "Miss" with so many children.



You're back?

What a surprise!

What are you doing here?

We came by bike.

Your skirt is too long.

Stefa, they're for us?

Yes, from the Kibbutz Aron.



I couldn't stay there. I kept dreaming of the children.

Everybody says war in Europe is inevitable and that we must expect the worst.

War is inevitable.

But as for the worst, I've seen three wars.

But a drunk striking a child, is that not the worst?

You see?

There are Jews who work.

They are free.

The world doesn't need oranges or labor, but a new faith.

There now, don't cry. Don't be afraid.

It's frightening, but beautiful.

Eh? Wait.

Don't be frightened.

Wait, wait!



You're a wizard.

Hello, Doctor.


Class will be held in the lab.

You're invited to the Roentgen lab.

When you are on edge, and exhausted... when the kids get on your nerves... when you get carried away... when you strike out of anger, or by lack of imagination...

Look and remember:

How a child's heart looks and behaves.

Warsaw, September 1939

Help me carry him.

Excuse me... You are Janusz Korczak?

I saw a newsreel about you.

Hand me my bag.

You know... I've read all your books...

I wanted to write to you for a long time...

I don't want to vex you, young man, my bag.


I never even dreamed of...

I wrote a poem... about what's happening.

Where is my rifle?

Bring his rifle.

But... why don't England and France do something?

It's strategic, isn't it?


I wrote a poem, about what we're going through.

Bring it to Our Home on Krochmalna Street.

You mustn't...

This is not the end, but the beginning.

Doctor, don't expose yourself.

What are you afraid of?

Your uniform: take it off. It's dangerous.

I don't see why.

I'm begging you.

You were never a military man. You found it primitive.

Things are different now.

Do you see anybody in an officer's uniform?

What did I teach you?

There's no one to wear it, so I have no right to take it off.

Everyone has betrayed us.

This is the uniform of the betrayed soldier.

By decree of the Governor General dated September 13, 1940: a Jewish quarter has been created in Warsaw where all Warsaw Jews and transferred Jews... must be relocated.

Jews established beyond this zone must move there before the 31 st of October, 1940.

Where is your armband?

I don't wear an armband.

Piotr Zalewski.


No, but...

Take your things down!

But, sir...

I've worked here for 22 years!

22 years!

Shut up!

Is she Polish?


Polish swine!


Please don't hit him, Officer!

We're all together.

We can't abandon them.

Take their things down!

I beg of you!

... only one package per person and sheets are authorized...

... the Judenrat will distribute the apartments...

Hold on to your backpack.

Be careful.

... the Polish Municipal Council and the Judenrat...

... are responsible for the smooth execution...

... of evacuation and relocation...

The potato cart!


The potatoes!

They've been stolen!

I'm going to the Gestapo.

You can't. Damn the potatoes!

Do you know what they cost?

This is scandalous I didn't know you rob orphans.

What's going on?

Your men took a wagon full of potatoes meant to feed 200 children for two weeks.

I demand the immediate restitution of these provisions.

One minute, that's an orphanage for Jews.

Yes, a Jewish orphanage.

How is that your business then?

I am the director.

The director?

You're not a Jew.

Yes, I am a Jew.

You have no armband.

There are human laws and divine laws.

Your insolence will land you in prison.

What are you doing here?

I came with Maryna to say good-bye.

That's wonderful.

I'll come see you.

I'll come to your place.

I'll find a way.

I am... very glad.

Where is he?

At the Gestapo.

They stole a cart.

Has he gone mad?

He's like that.

Lord, she resembles my dead daughter.

Pola, come, my dear.

Maybe I can take her to Our Home.

We didn't want to separate the kids.

Pola, I am an old friend of Stefa and the doctor, and I'd like you to come home with me.

There are children there.

Yes, Pola, you'll been fine with Maryna.

You can show her your stones.

Yes, yes.

And you won't have to do any cleaning.

I'd like to see your stones.

Yes, darling.

Tell Korczak he must accept.

We have papers and a hideout for him.

Yes, yes, yes.

I've left Our Home.

Excuse me.

I must keep the armband.

As long as you're with me, the Dr. won't mind.

He's not wearing one either.

Let's go, children!

I work for a dressmaker.

How shameful not to be able to accompany them.

Sweet Jesus! I'm going to die here!

My dear director. Calm down and get a hold of yourself.

They tricked us! The government...

They head for the hills, and leave us to be shot.

You'll live to see the end of the war.

How do you know?

I know, that's all.

You're not angry with me?


War brings its suffering and tragedy but, it erases the past, which, I believe, will not repeat itself.

I believe that never again will a Pole persecute his brother because he is a Jew.

And I am glad to be able to live that moment.

Goldszmit! Bring your things!

You must be strong.

God bless you, Doctor.

Good day, sir.

Your state of health requires your liberation.

I do not speak German.


...Dr. Korczak, I know your German is excellent.

I heard you at the Berlin conference in 1929, I think...

An exceptional lecture.

I think it changed my life.

But you must really be sick.

I am in perfect health.

Please undress.


Cardiac problems?

I am in perfect health.

Here is a certificate recommending your immediate release.

Watch yourself, Doctor.

Were you beaten?

I hope you'll wear your armband now.

We might be less lucky.

I will not put it on.



Have you no shame beating a child?

The doctor's coming.

The doctor!

The doctor, the doctor!

The doctor!

They're already used to it.

And where is Pola?

You've noticed? Maryna has taken her home.

She said she'd try to hide some of the others...

They'd have to be chosen.

Girls of "suitable" appearance.

How do you imagine that?

Will we make a selection?

They're ruthless, but surely will spare the children.

And even if... We'll be with them.


Maryna and your friends out there feel you should hide on the Aryan side.

Doctor, you must. It's not to save your life.

It's your duty.

You must survive.

To even think I would abandon you...

It's a joke.


Out of the question.

What will become of them?

It's terrible begging from the Judenrat.

So many people in need... I'm ashamed to ask.

What does that mean?

"I'm ashamed."

Our children are at stake!

Beginning tomorrow the gate will be closed for good.

The windows on the street will be blocked up.

We will put up a wall as they have done.

No child will go out alone.

They must be protected.

But... that's impossible.

We will do the impossible.

Total isolation is impossible.

But we must keep ourselves busy indoors.

I count on you, Esther.

The same activities as at Krochmalna.

Breakfast, measurements, then... classes and activities.

I'll see to the provisions and funds.

You don't know me well, excepting maybe Stefa in the old days.

We despaired so often.

A miracle could happen again.

I have strange dreams about food, you know... though a year ago I never thought about eating.

I know those dreams.

Full of raspberries and buckwheat...

Rabbit in white wine, with red cabbage No, red wine.


And an ice-cream cone.

I tasted champagne three times in my life and haven't had ice-cream in 20 years.

How foolish we were.

I'm scared.

Is there shooting?

No, no. Go to sleep.

No one's shooting. Sleep, sleep.

Where am I?

In my room, in my bed.

Do you want your own bed?

Am I bothering you?

You don't bother me.

Now you're going to sleep, all right?

Now Left Thumb says to Right Thumb: Good night.

And Left Hand says to Right Hand:

Good night, sleep tight.

And Left Hand puts Right Hand to sleep and Right Hand puts Left Hand to sleep.

Yes, like that.

Left Hand puts Head to sleep.

And says:

Sweet dreams, Head.

Good night.

Go to sleep, dear Head.


"The grandmother with a gasp On her deathbed could still ask If in Heaven's glade The Uhlans still parade Oh, Uhlan boy, your noble grace Puts every young girl on your trace"

And this one?

"No house or hearth exists Where a Jewish girl doesn't long for a Uhlan kiss."

Mama, leave him alone.


One, maybe two sacks of wheat is all I can provide.

And only for you. But this is the last time!

But I counted on more.

Max, dinner is ready.


Will you stay to dinner?

No, no, thank you.

If the rich and humane won't help us...

Whom can we rely on?

It's your duty, not only to Jewish children and the nation, but to yourself.

Do you know what philanthropy brings me?

Thousands of relatives from places I never heard of.

They come from all over.

They're displaced and all come here.

I'm cursed.



I wish I had nothing and that they see I have nothing... and that all this should stop!

Please... if you don't want me to hate you: never come again.

Three sacks?


And 300 zlotys.

Good day.

Good day, doctor.

Is that human sausage? Too cheap to be horse-meat.

I didn't see it made.

It's rotten. You're a thief.

Just what do you want?

This is not a shop and you are not a client and I'm not selling you anything and that is not money.

Nothing gained, nothing lost.

What good is cheating?

Must keep busy, no?

They'll kill him, kill him.

Did you see where he went? Behind the wall.

I can't die before I find him a home.

He'll be safe with you.

I beg you.

Why are you crying? You shouldn't.

Shlomo, this is the doctor.

He'll take you to his house.


Nothing doing!

I'm going nowhere.

Doctor promised you'd bring me food every day.

They have lots of food.

He has lice.

He shouldn't go out. He could bring back typhus.

If you only knew where I go.

You promised.


Sit down.

Did you ever count your scars?

No. Why?

It would be worthwhile.

They are a warrior's souvenirs of battles and great exploits.

A dog bit you here?

How d'you know?

I know a lot.

It was a large German shepherd where I was going through a hole in the wall.

And this was from barbed wire?


That was a fence with a nail.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven... eight, nine, ten.

About twenty.

After quick examination.

Not bad. You can dress.

And this?

I've always had it.

Papa said it's a sign that one will be a great man.

His grandpa had it: he was a great rabbi.

You want to be a rabbi?

Rabbis only read.

You don't like to read?

Prefer to travel?

How d'you know?

I know.

I once dreamed of great voyages and about changing the world.


I'd have suppressed money and poverty... and leave only justice.

It won't work.

You know that already. I didn't know it then.

I only understood that much later.

But one must try.


Oh yes?

And you're famous?

Yes, a little but I may become more famous.

You're already old.

Yes, that's true.

But, you see, an old man can sometimes succeed, no?

19 and a half, Doctor.

Good, make a note of that, Anette.



This is Shlomo, our new friend. Show him the house.

If I had a gun...

He may be innocent...

He's there under orders.

So what can he do?

Did you hear the doctor?

He may be a teacher... or a gardener... or a butcher.

It's the doctor who says so.

We do the cleaning ourselves.

This is the dining room.

I built the closet myself, and the stool.

It's junk, isn't it?

What's the matter with you?

Wanna fight?

I don't fight kids.

How old are you anyway?

12 and a half.

So what?

You're small for your age.

I'm here since I was 7.

I didn't ask to come.


If you insist, yes, I'm afraid of you.

I don't like cowards.

"Thursday next: court session."


Yes. Our court. We also have a council.

We elect judges every 3 months.

If they win our confidence they can do a second term.

I was a judge three times.

I even judged the doctor for having scolded a girl, in anger.

Paragraph 100.

He had to apologize.

Say, who is this doctor, anyway?

You don't know him?

How could I?

Everybody knows him.

He's... the world's greatest Pole.

But he's a Jew.

...And the greatest Jew.

If the doctor agrees...

Show me.

Abram, it's a matter of days.

Sabinka can wait.

No. This is a debt of honor.

Or else I take him to court.


19 and a half.


What's going on?

You keep eating but only get thinner.

Maybe it's the work, Doctor.

You want less work?

Nothing doing.

I work a lot.

Too bad.

You also work too much?

How much did I lose?

25 and a half.

Last time it was 27.

Doctor, there!


It moved.


Will you buy it?

No, no.


I don't want a loose tooth.

It'll fall out soon.

When it does, I'll buy it. Run along.

You should have bought it.

I can't buy loose teeth.

It's no bargain.


What is it?

Buy it.

But if you lose it, you won't pay me back.

No, I'll be careful.

You might swallow it. A bread crust will do it.

I won't eat any crusts.

Abram, you obviously have problems.

Yes, doctor.

Here's 50 groszy. A lot of money.

That used to buy you an ice-cream and two cakes.

Give it here!

Where is Dr. Korczak?

He's in court.


In court. There.

Even if Sabinka stole in the past it doesn't mean she'll steal again.

Zuza misses her chocolate, there's none left.

But Esther should know better than to accuse without proof.

Do you pardon the accused?


Good day.

I thought the children didn't accuse the teachers.

Teachers are tyrants.

Here the children defend themselves.

Doctor, I can't continue.

How can I maintain authority if the children judge me?

The Court asks that you don't talk here.

Come to my room, or else they'll charge me with contempt of court.


I know our position is morally untenable.

But, believe me, I adopted it aware of my responsibilities.

Without me, without us, the others would be worse.

The choice is not between good and evil but of the lesser evil.

The Council and myself are responsible for thousands of lives.

I am fully aware of the fact... that the majority, at least half, have little chance of seeing the end of the war.

I know that the poor and the deported will die first.

We try to save as many as we can.

Save the elite, save the young, the children.

We are working in that direction.

God and History will judge if we have not committed a tragic error.

From now on... from now on... we have no right to doubt.

Our situation is dreadful. German demands increase:

The rich refuse to pay taxes and we must squeeze them from the poor who are dying of hunger and cold.

Bourgeois rabble.

No solidarity.

How could you create a Jewish police?

We had no choice.

The Germans would be more ruthless.

The President is right.

And Geppner... is doing all he can for the orphanage provisions.

You have priority.

Doctor, couldn't you find a little room for a few dozen children?


I have 200 living in a building meant for 100.

I cannot endanger the health of my children.

Just a few children, then.

The most needy.

The Dzielna orphanage is a real death ward.

The personnel steal everything.

A pack of swine, sure of their impunity.

You realize the situation is abnormal.

Gentlemen, you accept this abnormality somewhat too easily.

I must ensure maximum safety for my children.

There are over 100,000 ghetto children.

Unfortunately I cannot take care of them all.

What will you do after the war?

I'll look after German orphans.

"To the Jewish community:

I request a teaching post at the orphanage on Dzielna street.

Thanks to my experience, I am even used to working with criminals and idiots.

I expect this kind of personnel... who stay only out of cowardice... and inertia, will leave the orphanage on their own..."

Doctor, pee-pee.

"For wages: 2 meals a day, but I can even do without them."

Dostoyevsky says that our dreams come true in the course of time.

But deformed, unrecognizable...

But I still recognize my pre-war dreams...

I never went to China, China came to me... through misery, persecution of orphans and death.

I accepted this extra job in Dzielna street: that butcher shop of children, that morgue.

I don't want to dwell on that.

Describing the suffering of others is like a theft.

As if we hadn't enough misery already.


Don't go in. My husband was at the Gestapo all night.

He's asleep in his study.

As you know...

As you surely know...

Every day the bodies of dozens... of children are found.

Either children without family, dead of hunger, cold, and disease.

Or children abandoned by destitute parents unable to bury them.

Or children wounded by the Germans while climbing the wall.

The hospitals are overcrowded... and refuse these dying children.

So we must organize some death wards.

It would be neither difficult or costly.

We just need a room with shelves, as in a shop.

It's feasible.

There are many empty shops now.

We can lay the dying children on the shelves.

We need an attendant and coal to heat the room.

If we can't save these children let us at least ensure them a decent death.

Do you understand? A decent, dignified death.


Where did you get this from?

It wasn't Sabinka! Trying to get away!

Piece of trash!

What is it?


A bit late for a walk.

Shlomo bet he would get over the wall.

And he did it.

Oh, he's bleeding.

I'll take care of him.

Am I hungry!

So are we.


See if Stefa is in the kitchen.

We're coming.

Superb eggs, Natka.

Yes, really good.


You're a good cook, Natka.

You serve him eggs while he steals chocolate.

That's not true!

I found it...

and I wanted to-

I believe you.

Now eat while the eggs are warm.


Come here a minute.

I'll be right back.

Beautiful. How did you get it?

I bought it, cheap.

From the ghetto, probably.

I don't know.

Here, for you.

Thank you.


I wanted to ask you... not to... not to come anymore to the shop.

The mistress asked about you.

I said you're my brother.

But she knows you're a Jew.

It will get me in trouble.

You know...

Don't be angry!


Move over, son.

"Dear Ewka:

I thought you believed in my love

...I wanted to go to America... after the war and come back for you in a big car.

Now I know that was a childish dream.

Everything separates us now.

I have nothing to live for.

It's not you, but my fate..."

That's enough!

Stop it!

Go to my room! Right now!

What happened?


You're nearly the eldest here...

You've never fought. Now you hit even Natka.


What's happened?

He's in love, Madam.

That's why he fought?

He's not in love with Natka, but Ewa, from Our Home.

That's why he's angry.

I don't want to be a Jew.

Natka, do you want to bring him to court?


I don't want to.


Why did I come here... Lord...

And she alone there...

without me...


Your mother died in peace, knowing you were here.

She never could do anything herself...

It was me...

Without me...


Joseph stopped me.

And you, too.

And we ate eggs.

I came as they were taking her away.

One hour.

One little hour.

They took her clothes...

buried her naked...



what's the matter?

What is it?

I want to die.

Have you ever thought of suicide?

Several times.

When my mother died, I wanted to kill myself along with my sister.

I was afraid she would suffer all alone. She refused.

Do you love Ewka?


How do you know?

I used to be able to talk to her normally.

Now I get embarrassed.

Do you know... if Natka loves you?

I know.

You see, it's like that.

Death is easy and life is terribly difficult.

Do children have the right to die?

Of course.

They often die with more dignity than adults.

I realized that at the hospital.

Go to bed.

You're too good and worthy a man to kill yourself over a woman.

A man, you said?

Of course.

You are a man.

Shlomo's mother is dead.

Take him to work in the Aryan zone. He's small but strong.

I should know.

Sleep well, my man.

I was five, when my canary died.

I wanted to put a cross on its grave.

The servant said no, because it was only a bird, a being inferior to a man, and it was a sin even to cry over it.

Worse, the concierge's son said that the canary was a Jew and me, a Jew as well.

He, a Pole and a Catholic, he would go to Heaven, and me, I would go... not to Hell, but into the darkness.

And I was afraid of the dark.

What news?

It's going to be hard to save him.

I told you not to open the windows.

Of course, he caught cold.

No, the windows were shut tight and I didn't let him go out.

I took the child in, Doctor, and I began to love him and now I see that I will lose him.

Please block up the doors as I asked.

I asked you for flour last week.

I can't multiply the bread.

What do you want?

I'm giving you what I can.

Even more than that.

The Council accuses me of favoring the children.

Look: the squirrel is sitting leaning on his tail, picking up peas and nibbling at them.

Fine. One moment, Abram.

Convince us that you want to go out.

There's the sun outside, and trees, mountains, flowers, everything.

You miss all that.

And we must believe that being outside is essential for you.

I'm not fine with uncle?

Yes, he's kind, buys you toys, feeds you, but it's like a prison to you.

Do you understand?

Yes. It's just like in the ghetto.

Yes, just like that.

Fine, go on.

The bell.

Now for the last act.

Open the doors and windows!

How do you feel, my boy?

Fine, doctor.

Now all the windows are open.

And now, not a word.

Sleep comes to the boy.

I sit by his side.


I come with flowers.

May I leave them?


Thank you. That was-

Who wrote... this play?

The Hindu, Tagore.

I chose it, in a sense, to familiarize the children with death...

so they accept it as something...


Come in.


We want to get married.

I don't know what advice to give you.

Words are so poor, so feeble.

I cannot give you...

I cannot give you God, because you must find Him in your soul.

I cannot give you... a homeland, you must find it through your heart and thoughts.


I cannot give you love,

because there is no love without forgiveness, and this pain is yours.

What can I give you?

The desire of a better life which doesn't exist now but will exist one day.

May this desire lead you to God, to love, to the homeland.


I'm a teacher at the orphanage!

Let me go! I'm a teacher!

Go warn the doctor!

Don't go in. The Germans are here.

No, thank you...

Excuse me...

It's the constant tension... Excuse me.


No one knows... what we...

They want him to sign the deportation order.

Deportation, my God!

Will they really deport most of the inhabitants?

We will defend ourselves.

Czerniakow is negotiating...

Look how he negotiates...

Our teacher, Esterka Winogronow, has been arrested.

I know...

I can do nothing.

Do you understand?

I can do nothing.

Should I find someone else, should I?

Have somebody else condemned? Is that it?

That's my choice! That's my power!

Sacrifice somebody in another's place.

You think there is still something in our power?


How much longer...?

Try the Gestapo.

There may be a chance to get her out, for a large bribe.

And the orphanages?

I will answer for them with my life.

"What have I done to You, O Lord...

That You forsake me at this moment, When my feet Are caught in the bramble, When my hands and heart bleed?

I call out: Mankind!

No answer.

I call out:


And nothing.

And in one last appeal, I shout:


And? Nothing.


We must try

despite all-

We must try Try to live.

Come what may."

My God!

No armband? Why not?

Allow me...

Come one moment.

Just one moment, please.


Itzek Szulc.

You recognized me, of course.

The same Szulc.

Serve us, Itzek.

Most are smugglers, quite rich, fully aware they can die at any moment. They enjoy while they can.

There's Yellow Ruben and his golden fingers.

His business is flourishing.

Imagine the money in the ghetto!

He deals with the Aryans.

And what merchandise!

The other is Gancwajch: Jewish Gestapo.

He wants to replace Czerniakow, become master of the ghetto.

Talk to him. He loves artists.

I think it's my turn.



Waiter! A platter!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Among us tonight is Dr. Korczak, the famous writer and teacher.

You've all heard of him.

I'll be brief: he needs money.

And money is what we have.

Anyone contributing less than 100 zlotys... will have me to deal with.

Mr. Gancwajch!

Yes, Mr. Gancwajch!

Why, of course...


...join us!

Yes, yes, you're invited.

No, no...

Thank you, but I must be going.

Doctor, I...

I love artists.

Do you know who Gancwajch is?

The benefactor of the ghetto.

Know who keeps the orphanages from deportation?


I know how to speak to the Germans.

The dregs must perish, and the artists will live.


See how moved I am?

In the name of the Jewish Combat Organization!

Death to traitors!

They wanted to kill me!

Did you see that?

They wanted to kill me!




Oh, him! A light wound.

Shit! They were scared, eh?

What were you doing with these traitors?

I need money for the orphanage.

They have more than anybody.

You also think we shouldn't harass the Germans?

The Judenrat wants to send us like sheep to the slaughter.

They say the old must be sacrificed for the young, the poor for the rich, the sick for the healthy.

"Jews, do not rebel, for vengeance will strike the innocent."

They should be killed like mad dogs.

Are you... the only one of our boys in the Organization?

Yes, thanks to your education, they cannot even fight.

I understand you, but understand me too.

I will see the Devil himself to save my children.

And your dignity?

I have no dignity.

I have 200 children.

No dignity!

My dear!


What is it?

Nothing. I'm resting a little.

If I get up I have to take a step, put one leg in front of the other...

then start again-

It's exhausting.

My dear, my only,

you're going... to kill yourself.

You must take care, you can't go on like this.

You write at night, and see these scoundrels in the day.

I beg you...

I implore you...

It's not good to be... a Jew... and worse to be an old Jew, and worse yet, to be a sick old Jew.

But the worst of all, is to be a sick old Jew with 200 dependent children.

No matter.

I've had a good day.

A very good day.


Listen to me!


Don't let the Germans trick you!

Don't allow yourselves to be deported!

I'm from Lachwia...


Klonowa Street...

Number 12.

I ran away from Lachwia...

I'll go see the girls.

...to scream the truth!

Death! They're preparing your death!

They have...


And they stoke them with Jews!


Maybe... the children should be dispersed?

Some still have family.

Others might leave the ghetto... and have a chance.

The children must stay with their people.

If the nation dies, they have no chance, no future.

All we can do...

is to meet our defeat with dignity.

Then in that case, let's disperse the children.


They'll be exposed to fear and pain.


And maybe...

They promised to preserve the orphanages.

That's right.

Go to bed.

Good night.


Sleep well.

Good night.

I thought I wouldn't make it.

It's more difficult than ever.

I have papers for you.

You must!

Do you hear me? You must hide!

And if they really are being sent East?

Hard labor in the fields... is good for the Jews.

Like in Palestine.

Doctor, please, I'm begging you, by all that's holy.

You must understand.

The hideout is ready.

The guard is bribed. Jerzy will pick you up tomorrow.

I'd hoped we'd not bring this up again. I told Jerzy.

How could you propose such a thing?

What would you think of a mother who abandons her child?

How can I leave 200 children in this moment of tragedy?

How can somebody like you, so close to me, so familiar, fail to understand that?

Reinforcements have arrived.

Latvians, and Ascars.

The mass deportations are starting.

That's how it's been everywhere.

Czerniakow assured me they'd be spared.

I saw Kohn and Gancwajch yesterday.

They gave me their word.

Interesting. How would he react if I nodded and waved to him?

My bald head would make a perfect target.

He has a rifle.

Why does he stand there so quietly?

He has no orders.

Thank you, our Father, for the enigma of Your tale.

I am happy as a child, I don't call you Great, or Just, or Good.

I say: my God.

I say "my" and feel confident.

What is it?

Fine, gentlemen, let us have fifteen minutes.


...a quarter of an hour.


We're going on an outing.

Put on your best clothes, take your satchels.

We're in a hurry, so take only what you need.

Doctor, this an excellent Swiss passport.

Everything's arranged. Come with us. A real passport.

Itzek, Itzek, go down and get the dogs away.

Tell them not to push the children. They'll walk in file, by themselves.

Doctor, this is really a very good...

Do what I ask.

What's happening?

They're taking the orphans away.

And Korczak? And Our Home?

Come in, come in.

They couldn't get the doctor away.




I'm in the Ghetto.

They're taking the orphans.


I don't know.


The Doctor...


All the children.

They're carrying the green flag.

The other orphanages are behind them.

Hello, Maryna?


They're headed for the Umschlag. We must act.


I can't... Call you back.

Maryna, they're still alive!

Call Czerniakow.

He knows the truth.

Message for Dr. Korczak!

Call him.

Who is Dr. Korczak?

Doctor Korczak?


I have an American passport!

Korczak died with his children in the gas chambers of Treblinka in August 1942.