For fans of The Warsaw Orphan and The Tattooist of Auschwitz: the start of WWII changed everything in Poland irrevocably—except for one man’s capacity to love.
September 1, 1939. Sixty-year-old Janusz Korczak and the students and teachers at his Dom Sierot Jewish orphanage are outside enjoying a beautiful day in Warsaw. Hours later, their lives are altered forever when the Nazis invade. Suddenly treated as an outcast in his own city, Janusz—a respected leader known for his heroism and teaching—is determined to do whatever it takes to protect the children from the horrors to come.
When over four hundred thousand Jewish people are rounded up and forced to live in the 1.3-square-mile walled compound of the Warsaw ghetto, Janusz and his friends take drastic measures to shield the children from disease and starvation. With dignity and courage, the teachers and students of Dom Sierot create their own tiny army of love and bravely prepare to march toward the future—whatever it may hold.
Unforgettable, devastating, and inspired by a real-life hero of the Holocaust, The Teacher of Warsaw reminds the world that one single person can incite meaning, hope, and love.
Praise for The Teacher of Warsaw:
“Through meticulous research and with wisdom and care, Mario Escobar brings to life a heartbreaking story of love and extraordinary courage. I want everyone I know to read this book.” —Kelly Rimmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan
“A beautifully written, deeply emotional story of hope, love, and courage in the face of unspeakable horrors. That such self-sacrifice, dedication and goodness existed restores faith in humankind. Escobar's heart-rending yet uplifting tale is made all the more poignant by its authenticity. Bravo!” —Tea Cooper, award-winning and bestselling author of The Cartographer’s Secret
World War II historical fiction inspired by true eventsIncludes discussion questions for book clubs, a historical timeline, and notes from the authorBook length: 83,000 wordsAlso by author: Auschwitz Lullaby, Children of the Stars, Remember Me, The Librarian of Saint-Malo
The disappointing latest from Escobar (The Librarian of Saint-Malo) dramatizes the final years of real-life WWII hero Janusz Korczak and his work protecting orphans in the Warsaw ghetto. It's 1939 and Korczak, known as "Teacher," has spent decades as the director of a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw, but after Nazi Germany attacks Poland, Korczak and his coworkers struggle to protect the children from bomb raids and the horrors of war. Their hardships increase after the Nazis force all Jewish citizens including Korczak and the orphans to relocate to the ghetto. There, they must deal with overcrowding, typhus, and chronic hunger as Korczak does his best to keep the children's spirits up with dramatic story recitals and the ramshackle staging of Rabindranath Tagore's play The Post Office. Korczak will stop at nothing to protect the children, even as rumors swirl about plans to deport Jewish people to an obscure region up north called Treblinka. Frequent navel-gazing disrupts the story ("Does freedom really exist, or is it an idea invented by human beings?"), and some scenes feel disjointed and mechanical as they jump from plot point to plot point with little regard for narrative flow. Escobar's fans will hope he returns to form in his next outing.