To honour the hero, President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski opened an exhibition “Karski. Let’s not let the world forget” in Łódź, Karski’s birth city, on April 24th. The President also laid a wreath at the monument dedicated to Poles Who Rescued Jews.
The 28-year-old Karski, an eye witness of the Holocaust as a courier for the Polish Underground State, personally delivered detailed reports on German actions taken against the Jewish population to representatives of the British authorities and appealed to the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and the media to stop the Holocaust.
In July 1943, following the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis, Jan Karski went to Washington where he met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Karski’s actions and his report presenting findings from the Warsaw Ghetto which he infiltrated twice and the German transit camp in Izbica where he was smuggled as a guard, had not led to an Allied intervention. After World War II Jan Karski came to live in the US.
In 1998, Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, named Jan Karski a Righteous Among the Nations and presented his candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize. Jan Karski, whose real name was Jan Kozielewski, was born in 1914. It is not certain, however, whether the exact date of his birth was April 24 or June 24, since there are discrepancies between documents and family archives. He died in Washington on July 13, 2000, aged 86.
On December 6, 2013, Poland’s Parliament named 2014 the Year of Jan Karski, voting on a motion by Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski. The year 2014 will the height of a four-year campaign to restore the memory of the legendary emissary that was initiated by the Polish History Museum in cooperation with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Poland’s diplomacy has planned a number of events for 2014 to promote, together with partners, the accomplishments of Jan Karski (1914-2000). The year of commemorating the Polish hero was inaugurated on January 8 by an academic conference and an exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels.
Photo © Maciej Sadowski “Jan Karski. Photobiography”, VEDA, 2014
Learn more about Jan Karski: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Poland, Polish History Museum and the offical website of The Year of Jan Karski 2014
Source: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Poland