Dr. Korczak and his deputy Stefania Wilczynska, as well as the entire staff of the Warsaw orphanage, were given the choice to evade the children’s deportation, but they refused. They were transported together with the children to the gas chambers of Treblinka.
Stefania was born in 1886, in Poland. She completed her studies at the University of Liège, Belgium. In 1909, she met Dr. Janusz Korczak and the two formed a bond. At the onset of World War I, Korczak was enlisted; Stefania was left to run the orphanage, which had expanded and now housed some 150 children. In 1935, she visited the Land of Israel and lived at Ein Harod until 1939. With the Nazi occupation, the members of Ein Harod arranged for Stefania to leave Poland, but she declined and instead moved to the Warsaw Ghetto along with Dr. Korczak and the children. On 5 August 1942, the order to deport the orphans was handed down. Stefania, Dr. Korczak, and the other staff members marched with the 192 orphans to the Umschlagplatz, with Stefania in charge of the group of nine- to twelve-year-old children. All were murdered.
My dear, we are well. I work a little at the orphanage while Korczak is doing a great deal. I have not arrived because I do not want to leave without the children.
Date 2 April 1940