Orphans' Home


August 12, 2022

Orphanage - a Warsaw orphanage for Jewish children, established by Stefania Wilczyńska and Janusz Korczak, operating in the years 1912–1942.


In 1906 (the period of the Kingdom of Poland), the Aid for Orphans Society (located at 2 Franciszkańska Street) decided to build its own home for children. On May 12, 1910, it was purchased at ul. Krochmalna 92 ​​square for the amount of 24,000 rubles. A Construction Commission was established under the leadership of Isaac Eliasberg. It also included Janusz Korczak. On June 14, 1911, the cornerstone was laid for a building intended for 106 children. On October 7, 1912, Janusz Korczak, director of the Orphans' Home, and Stefania Wilczyńska, the head teacher, introduced the first pupils - 85 Jewish children. In the basement there were: a kitchen, a laundry room, a boiler room, changing rooms for children, a changing room and a bathing room. On the ground floor, the largest area was occupied by a recreation room, also serving as a dining room. There were homework classes and an office here. There was a shop in a tiny room. The house was initially located at ul. Krochmalna 92. On the first floor, students lived, the second floor was occupied by two huge bedrooms (boys and girls). Next to the girls' bedroom, there was Stefania Wilczyńska's room and an isolation room for the sick. Korczak's room, who lived here until 1932, was in the attic. From 1914 Korczak was in the Russian army. He returned home in 1919. During Korczak's absence, the house was managed by Stefania Wilczyńska, during World War I and during his trips to Palestine in 1934 and 1936. After the outbreak of World War II, Warsaw was under German occupation. After the ghetto was created by the Germans in October 1940, the Orphans' Home found itself on the Aryan side. Not far from the border of the ghetto, at ul. Chłodna 33, there was the building of the J. and M. Roesler. There was an exchange of premises between the Orphans' Home and the School of Economics, and Janusz Korczak and the school's headmaster undertook to return the buildings undamaged to each other. The transfer of the Orphans' Home from Krochmalna to the ghetto took place in the last two days of October or at the beginning of November 1940. The new premises were smaller, not adapted to the needs of a care facility for children. Several Jewish families also lived there. On October 21, 1941, the Germans issued an order to tighten the boundaries of the ghetto and to exclude from it, among others the areas on the west side of ul. Żelazna. The Orphans' Home at ul. Chłodna was moved to the building of the Society for Mutual Assistance of Commercial and Industrial Workers at ul. Sienna 16 (with a second entrance from ul. Śliska 9). It was the third seat of the Orphans' Home. From this place, Korczak, ten educators and 192 orphans on August 5 or 6, 1942 were driven to the Umschlagplatz, from where they were transported to the extermination camp in Treblinka, where they died. School of Roeslerów does not exist, and its building at ul. Chłodna 33 was destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising. Today there is a memorial stone with an inscription in this place. The building of the Society for Mutual Assistance of Commercial and Industrial Workers, damaged during the war, was demolished in the early 1950s due to the construction of the Palace of Culture and Science. Today, in this place, there is a square and a fragment of the north-eastern wing of the palace occupied by the Lalka Theater. On August 5, 2012, a plaque commemorating the last seat of the Orphans' Home in the Warsaw Ghetto was unveiled at the entrance to the theater. The attic of the Orphans' Home was demolished during World War II and has not been rebuilt. Currently, the building is located at ul. Jaktorowska 6 and houses the Janusz Korczak Orphanage No. 2 and the Korczakianum Documentation and Research Center.