Among the educators who have shaped education in the last century, the Jewish-Polish Janusz Korczak stands out as an exceptional man, a noble teacher, philosopher, and educator who in his institutions applied his philosophy and vision, his long experience as a physician and as a teacher, his great love of children, and his conviction of the child's right to liberty. He sacrificed his own personal happiness for his work, for his teaching, and for the happiness of his students; his educational creation ended when his soul united with those of his students in death, as they all took their last journey together, when Korczak and his children were transported to the gas chambers of Treblinka in August 1942. He refused Nazi offers of liberation and clemency and chose to die with his orphans. The Gate of Light is a re-examination of Korczak's life, philosophy, literary creation, and educational accomplishment, which have a relevance to the humanist mission of education everywhere. Anyone wishing to understand Korczak's philosophy of education must become acquainted with the secrets of the educator's life - full of hesitation and crisis, pain and sacrifice, transcendence and purity. His was a life of great love, sanctified by a brutal death, which he proudly faced.
Korczak neither affiliated himself with any particular educational school, nor identified with any recognized method. His approach to children and his views on education were always original. His ideas, summarized in his diaries and notebooks, enable us to study his teaching methods, examining its contradictions, illuminate the many excesses of his practical teaching, and grasp the great sincerity and truth in Korczak's teachings.