The Good Doctor of Warsaw

Good Doctor

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Uncovering the world of Janusz Korczak, in literature, memory and music

Elisabeth Gifford explores the writing of her new novel The Good Doctor of Warsaw (Atlantic Books) using oral memories, documents and research in the Library. It evokes something of pre-war Warsaw’s now lost Jewish community and the life of Janusz Korczak, who cared for 200 orphans in the ghetto. The event features live music from Živorad Nikolic and Susi Evans from the world acclaimed She’Koyokh klezmer band.

Janusz Korczak, a Polish-Jewish Dr Barnardo, was an early pioneer of child welfare and empathetic education. He signed the first Children’s Bill of Rights in Geneva, 1927, still in use today. He published widely for children and adults, including The Child’s Right to Respect, and broadcast on Polish radio. He ran two world famous children homes in Warsaw. Korczak understood that a society that decides not to care for the child is in danger of flying apart, which is what happened when the Nazi Reich decided to murder 4,000 children in one day in the Warsaw ghetto where Korczak’s orphanage stood out as a beacon of love and respect. Korczak was offered his escape, but refused to leave his children and stayed with them when they were taken on the trains to comfort them, and died with them at Treblinka. He educational teachings are still followed across the world today. His story is also fictionalised Jim Shepard's The Book of Aron.

Elisabeth Gifford has an MA in creative writing from RHUL. Her first historical novel Secrets of the Sea House was shortlisted for the Crown debut historical fiction award. 

She’Koyokh Duo Živorad (Žika) Nikolic (accordion) and Susi Evans (clarinet) are two members of She’Koyokh, – a Yiddish word meaning 'nice one!' – a London-based group who are 'amongst the finest klezmer ensembles on the planet' (The Australian). Žika and Susi are both graduates of the Royal Academy of Music. Žika is a classical accordionist, an ambassador for Serbian traditional music in the UK and a member of Balkan group Paprika. Susi is one of the UK’s top klezmer clarinetists and in demand as a teacher and band-leader. She is a founder member of the London Klezmer Quartet and is Assistant Head of Faculty at this year's Klezfest London.


Name: The Good Doctor of Warsaw
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £10.00
Member: £10.00
Senior 60+: £8.00
Student: £7.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
Under 18: £7.00
Friend of the British Library: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546