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German Jewish Group Protests Giving Jewish Award Fund to Poles

The West German Central Council of Jews is contesting a decision of the German Book Trade Committee to transmit the committee’s 1972 Peace Award, awarded posthumously to Polish-Jewish intellectual Janusz Korczak, to the Warsaw Korczak Committee. The Central Council is against giving the $3500 prize money to a Polish organization “as long as Jews are being discriminated against in Poland,” a Council official said.

Korczak, a teacher and poet in Poland, volunteered in 1942 to accompany Jewish children to the Treblinka gas chambers. He was chosen for this year’s peace prize by the German Book Trade Committee, which awards the prize annually to an outstanding international personality for his contributions towards peace. Since Korczak has no living relatives, the committee decided to give his prize money to the Polish body, established in Korczak’s memory.

However, that decision has drawn strong protest from the Central Council of Jews, which is suggesting that the money be given to the Korczak Committee in Germany, the International Red Cross for the suffering children of Bangladesh, or to UNICEF.

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