St-Petersburg Festival of Tolerance 2008

The Festival of Tolerance dedicated to Korczak

In St-Petersburg, Russia, the yearly Festival of Tolerance was dedicated this year 2008 to the 130th anniversary of the birth of Korczak. The report by Irina Gurvich (Korczak Association in STP).

Irina GurvichThe Festival of Tolerance dedicated to the 130 year anniversary of Janusz Korczak took place on November 12th – 14th in St. Petersburg, organizer by the Jewish charitable organization of St. Petersburg "Eva".

The festival was held with the support and direct participation of such organizations as:

  • The Korczak Information and Cultural Center of Tolerance
  • St. Petersburg Korczak Society
  • Central Library named after K. Paustovsky
  • Interregional Scientific and Educational Center and the Foundation "Holocaust", and many others.

The festival took place in ESOD House of Jewish Culture, which is the center of Jewish cultural life of St. Petersburg. The festival included the following compositions:
The festival included an exhibition titled "Janusz Korczak - A heart given to children", children's drawing contest dedicated to the life and work of Janusz Korczak. The exhibition was organized by our center with Eva.

Exhibition Janusz Korczak a heart given to children

We had a lot of excursions for schoolchildren and teachers. About 500 people attended the exhibition.

About 500 visitorsАlla Gurvich, director of the Korczak Information and Cultural Center of Tolerance, told schoolchildren about Janusz Korczak, his personality, his books known in Russia, about his unique experience of raising orphans, the pedagogical ideas contained in books "How to love a child" and "The child's right to respect". The children learned about the major principles of Korczak's educational ideas and his life's main work - House of orphans.

There also was a literary/musical composition "Korczak" - presented by a Jewish cultural center "Aleph" (the city of Rostov-on-Don). The composition is based on a poem "Kaddish" by Alexander Galich (the poem's dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and Janusz Korczak, who shared the fate of his children). The composition "Korczak" became diplomant of the First International Festival of Jewish drama theaters in Moscow.

A composition based on a poemThere also was a screening of the film "Korczak" by Andrzej Wajda, provided by The Korczak Information and Cultural Center of Tolerance.

The second day of the festival was a day of workshops for teachers of St. Petersburg schools - "The lessons of the Holocaust - the road to Tolerance", which was focused on such topics as:
  • Criteria for tolerance
  • Intolerance and its manifestations
  • Janusz Korczak and the Humanistic Education

 Michael EpsteinThe host of the round table "Parenting in a spirit of tolerance" was Michael Epstein. He, along with Valery Puzyrevskim, held a seminar for teachers "Janusz Korczak and humanistic education".

The exhibition "The lessons of the Holocaust" has also been held by The Korczak Information and Cultural Center of Tolerance. The Center presented a lot of books, articles, photos and other materials.

Closing the festival ended with a solemn giving of certificates to the participants and organizers of the festival. We would like to note that such a festival markedly contributes to the raising the cultural level and the development of the Petersburg schools, universities, professors, students and schoolchildren.

Irina Gurvich/Ирина Гурвич

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