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Encyclopedia > Jan Karski
Before a wall map of the Warsaw Ghetto at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jan Karski recalls his secret 1942 missions into the Nazi prison-city-within-a-city. Photo by E. Thomas Wood, 1994.
Before a wall map of the Warsaw Ghetto at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jan Karski recalls his secret 1942 missions into the Nazi prison-city-within-a-city. Photo by E. Thomas Wood, 1994.

Jan Karski (24 June 191413 July 2000), was a Polish World War II resistance fighter and scholar. In 1942 and 1943 Karski reported to the Polish government in exile and the Western Allies on the situation in Poland, especially the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the extermination camps. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 175th day of the year (176th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 194th day of the year (195th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... This article covers the Secret State of Poland during World War II. For the earlier secret state in Poland see: January Uprising This article is part of the series: Polish Secret State Categories: Historical stubs | Polish history | World War II resistance movements | National liberation movements ... A scholar is either a student or someone who has achieved a mastery of some academic discipline, perhaps receiving financial support through a scholarship. ... The Government of the Polish Republic in Exile was the government of Poland after the country had been occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during September-October 1939. ... The Western Allies were the democracies and their colonial peoples, within the broader coalition of Allies during World War II. The term is generally understood to refer to the countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations and Poland (from 1939), exiled forces from Occupied Europe (from 1940), the United States... The Ghetto Heroes Memorial in Warsaw The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of the Jewish ghettos established by Nazi Germany in the General Government during the Holocaust in World War II. Between 1940 and 1943, starvation, disease and deportations to concentration camps and extermination camps dropped the population of the... Majdanek - crematorium Extermination camp (German Vernichtungslager) was the term applied to a group of camps set up by Nazi Germany during World War II for the express purpose of killing the Jews of Europe, although members of some other groups whom the Nazis wished to exterminate, such as Roma (Gypsies...

Contents

Biography

Jan Karski was born as Jan Kozielewski on 24 June 1914[1] in Łódź. He grew up in a multi-cultural neighbourhood, where the majority of the population was then Jewish. After graduating from a local school, Kozielewski joined the Jan Kazimierz University of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) and graduated from the Legal and Diplomatic departments in 1935. During his compulsory military training he served in the NCO school for mounted artillery officers in Włodzimierz Wołyński. is the 175th day of the year (176th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Motto: Ex navicula navis (From a boat, a ship) Coordinates: , Country Poland Voivodeship Łódź Powiat city county Gmina Łódź City Rights 1423 Government  - Mayor Jerzy Kropiwnicki Area  - City 293. ... The building of the University. ... Motto: Semper fidelis Oblast Lviv Oblast Municipal government City council (Львівська міська рада) Mayor City chairman Lyubomyr Bunyak Area 171,01 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 808,900 ? 4786/km² Founded City rights 13th century 1353 Latitude Longitude 49°51′ N 24°01′ E Area code +0322 Car plates  ? Twin towns Corning, Freiburg... Lviv (Ukrainian: Львів, L’viv ; see Cities alternative names for other names) is a city in western Ukraine, the capital city of the Lviv Oblast (province) and one of the main cultural centres of Ukraine. ... Volodymyr-Volynskyi or Volodymyr-Volynsky (Ukrainian: Володимир-Волинський, Volodymyr-Volynskyi;Russian: Владимир-Волынский, Vladimir-Volinskij; Polish: WÅ‚odzimierz WoÅ‚yÅ„ski, ) is a city in Volyn Oblast, northwestern Ukraine, with a population of 38,000 (2004). ...


Kozielewski completed his education between 1936 and 1938 in different diplomatic posts in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and went on to join the Diplomatic Service. After a short period of scholarship, in January 1939 he started his work in the Polish ministry of foreign affairs. After the outbreak of World War II, Kozielewski was mobilized and served in a small artillery detachment in eastern Poland. Taken prisoner by the Red Army, he successfully concealed his true grade and, pretending to be an ordinary soldier, was handed over to the Germans during an exchange of Polish prisoners of war, in effect escaping the Katyn massacre. A minister for foreign affairs, or foreign minister, is a governmental cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign nation. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Katyn and Katyń redirect here. ...


World War II resistance

Jan Karski, 1944.
Jan Karski, 1944.

After crossing into General Government (the German-held part of Poland) in November 1939 he managed to escape a train to a POW camp and found his way to Warsaw. There he joined the ZWZ, the first resistance movement in occupied Europe and a predecessor of the Home Army (AK). About that time he adopted a nom de guerre of Jan Karski, which later became his legal name. Other noms de guerre used by him during World War II included Witold, Piasecki, Kwaśniewski, Znamierowski, Kruszewski and Kucharski. Jan Karski, 1944. ... The General Government (in full General government for the occupied Polish areas, in German Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) was the name given by Germany to the governing authority in Poland after its occupation by the Wehrmacht in September and October 1939. ... For other uses, see Warsaw (disambiguation) and Warszawa (disambiguation). ... ZwiÄ…zek Walki Zbrojnej (ZWZ; Association of Armed Struggle) was a cryptonym of the Polish Army formed in Poland after it was occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union as a result of the Polish Defensive War. ... A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to fighting an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign nation through either the use of physical force, or nonviolence. ... Armia Krajowa (the Home Army), abbreviated AK, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. ... A pseudonym or allonym is a name (sometimes legally adopted, sometimes purely fictitious) used by an individual as an alternative to their birth name. ...


In January 1940 Karski started to organize courier missions with dispatches from the Polish underground to the Polish government in exile, then based in Paris. As a courier, Karski made several secret trips between France, Britain and Poland. During one such mission in July 1940 he was arrested by the Gestapo in the Tatra mountains in Slovakia. Severely tortured, he was finally transported to a hospital in Nowy Sącz, from where he was smuggled out. After a short period of rehabilitation, he returned to active service in the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the Headquarters of the Home Army. This article is about the capital of France. ... The   (contraction of Geheime Staatspolizei: “secret state police”) was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. ... Tatra mountains - a mountain range, part of the Carpathian Mountains, between Poland and Slovakia. ... Coordinates: , Country Poland Voivodeship Lesser Poland Powiat City County Gmina Nowy SÄ…cz Estabilished 1292 City Rights 1292 Government  - Mayor Ryszard Nowak Area  - Town 57 km²  (22 sq mi) Population (2005)  - Town 84,594  - Density 1,484. ... For other meanings of Home Army see: Home Army (disambiguation) The Armia Krajowa or AK (Home Army) functioned as the pre-eminent underground military organization in German-occupied Poland, which functioned in all areas of the country from September 1939 until its disbanding in January 1945. ...


In the summer of 1942 Karski was chosen by Cyryl Ratajski, the Polish Government's Delegate at Home, to perform a secret mission to prime minister Władysław Sikorski in London. Karski was to contact Sikorski as well as various other Polish politicians and inform them about Nazi atrocities in occupied Poland. In order to gather evidence, Karski was twice smuggled by Jewish underground leaders into the Warsaw Ghetto for the purpose of showing him firsthand what was happening to the Polish Jews. Also, disguised as an Estonian camp guard, he visited what he thought was Bełżec death camp[2]. (It is now believed that he actually saw a nearby "sorting camp".) Monument of Cyryl Ratajski in Poznan Cyryl Ratajski ( 1875- 1942) was a Polish politician and lawyer. ... Government Delegates Office at Home (Polish Delegatura RzÄ…du Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na Kraj) was one of the agendas of the Polish Government in Exile during World War II. It was the highest authority of the Polish Secret State in occupied Poland and was headed by the Government Delegate at... WÅ‚adysÅ‚aw Eugeniusz Sikorski (May 20, 1881 – July 4, 1943; pronounced ) was a Polish military and political leader. ... Belzec was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. ...


In 1942 Karski reported to the Polish, British and U.S. governments on the situation in Poland, especially the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust of the Jews. He met with Polish politicians in exile including the prime minister, as well as members of political parties such as the PPS, SN, SP, SL, Jewish Bund and Poalej-Syjon. He also spoke to Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary, and included a detailed statement on what he had seen in Warsaw and Bełżec. In 1943 in London he met the then much known journalist Arthur Koestler. He then traveled to the United States and reported to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His report was a major factor in informing the West, but no action followed. Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS) was one of the most important Polish political parties 1890-1948. ... Stronnictwo Narodowe (National Party, SN) was a Polish political party formed in October 1928 after the transformation of ZwiÄ…zek Ludowo-Narodowy (National Peoples Association). ... Stronnictwo Pracy (Labor Party) was a Polish Christian democracy political party, active from 1937 in the Second Polish Republic and later part of the Polish government in exile. ... Stronnictwo Ludowe (SL, Peoples Party) was a Polish political party, active from 1931 in the Second Polish Republic. ... A Bundist demonstration, 1917 The General Jewish Labour Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia, in Yiddish the Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland (אַלגמײַנער ײדישער אַרבײטערסבונד אין ליטאַ, פוילין און רוסלאַנד), generally called The Bund (בונד) or the Jewish Labor Bund, was a Jewish political party operating in several European countries between the 1890s and the... For the eponymous hat, see Anthony Eden hat. ... Arthur Koestler (September 5, 1905, Budapest – March 3, 1983, London) was a Hungarian polymath who became a naturalized British subject. ... FDR redirects here. ...


In July 1943, Karski again personally reported to Roosevelt about the situation in Poland. He also met with many other government and civic leaders in the United States, including Felix Frankfurter, Cordell Hull, William Joseph Donovan, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, and Stephen Wise. Karski also presented his report to media, bishops of various denominations, members of the Hollywood film industry and artists, but without success. Many of those he spoke to did not believe him, or supposed that his testimony was much exaggerated or was propaganda from the Polish government in exile. It is possible, however, that Karski's descriptions influenced FDR to create a War Refugee Board several months later in January of 1944. Felix Frankfurter (November 15, 1882 – February 22, 1965) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. ... Cordell Hull (October 2, 1871–July 23, 1955) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... For other people with similar names, see Wild Bill Major General William Joseph Donovan, KBE United States Army (January 1, 1883 – February 8, 1959) was an American soldier, lawyer and intelligence officer, best remembered today as wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). ... Samuel Cardinal Stritch greets a young parishioner. ... Stephen Samuel Wise (1874–1949) was a Hungarian- born U.S. rabbi and Zionist leader. ... ...


In 1944 Karski published Story of a Secret State, in which he related his experiences in wartime Poland. The book was initially to be made into a film, but this never occurred. The book proved to be a major success, with more than 400,000 copies sold in the United States until the end of WWII.


Life in the United States

After the war Karski was unable to return to communist-ruled Poland and made his home in the United States and began his studies at Georgetown University, where he received a PhD in 1952. He taught at Georgetown for 40 years in the areas of East European affairs, comparative government and international affairs, rising to become one of the most celebrated and notable members of its faculty. In 1954, he became a citizen of the United States. In 1985, he published the academic study The Great Powers and Poland. Georgetown University is an elite private research university located in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., United States. ...


His attempts at stopping the Holocaust were forgotten. It was not until 1978 that Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah re-discovered Karski's wartime service. In 1994, E. Thomas Wood and Stanisław M. Jankowski published Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust. After the fall of communism in Poland in 1989, Karski's wartime role was officially acknowledged there. He received the Order of the White Eagle (the highest Polish civil decoration) and the Order Virtuti Militari (the highest military decoration awarded for bravery in combat). He died in Washington, D.C. not long after the 1992 suicide of his long-time wife, Pola Nirenska, a Jewish Pole whose family had perished in the Holocaust. They had no children. Claude Lanzmann (born 1925 in Paris) is a Paris-based filmmaker. ... Shoah is a nine-hour documentary film completed by Claude Lanzmann in 1985 about the Holocaust (or Shoah). ... E. Thomas Wood (born October 9, 1963) is an American journalist, historian, and freelance writer. ... Order of the White Eagle (badge) The Order of the White Eagle (Polish Order OrÅ‚a BiaÅ‚ego) is Polands highest decoration awarded to both civilians and the military for their merits. ... Order of Virtuti Militari The Order of Virtuti Militari (Military Virtue) is Polands highest military decoration for valour in the face of the enemy, equivalent to the British Victoria Cross or the US Congressional Medal of Honor. ... For other uses, see Washington, D.C. (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ...


Why no rescue

During an interview with Hannah Rosen in 1995 Karski said about the failure of most of the Jews' rescue from massmurder:

It was easy for the Nazis to kill Jews, because they did it. The allies considered it impossible and too costly to rescue the Jews, because they didn't do it. The Jews were abandoned by all governments, church hierarchies and societies, but thousands of Jews survived because thousands of individuals in Poland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland helped to save Jews. Now, every government and church says, "We tried to help the Jews," because they are ashamed, they want to keep their reputations. They didn't help, because six million Jews perished, but those in the government, in the churches they survived. No one did enough. [3]

Honors

In honour of his efforts on behalf of Polish Jews, Karski was made an honorary citizen of Israel in 1994. In Jerusalem a tree bearing his name was planted in 1982 in the Alley of the Righteous Among the Nations. For other uses, see Jerusalem (disambiguation). ... Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חסידי אומות העולם, Hasidei Umot HaOlam), in contemporary usage, is a term often used to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust in order to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. ...


Georgetown University, Oregon State University, Baltimore Hebrew College, Hebrew College of America, Warsaw University, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, and University of Łódź all awarded him honorary doctorates. Oregon State University (OSU) is a four-year research and degree-granting public university, located in Corvallis, Oregon (USA). ... Baltimore Hebrew University was founded as Baltimore Hebrew College and Teachers Training School in 1919 to promote Jewish scholarship and academic excellence, it continues to be the only institution of higher learning in Maryland devoted solely to all aspects of Judaic and Hebraic studies. ... Warsaw University (Polish: ) is one of the largest universities in Poland. ... Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (in Polish Universytet Marii Curie-SkÅ‚odowskiej, commonly shortened to UMCS) was founded October 23, 1944 in Lublin. ... The University of Łódź was founded May 24, 1945 in Łódź, as a continuation of the achievements and traditions of educational institutions functioning in Łódź in the interwar period - the Teacher Training Institute (1921-1928), the Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences (1924-1928) and a division of the... Honoris causa (plural: Causae) is a Latin term meaning for the sake of honor, abbreviated as . ...


Notes

  1. ^ Sometimes the date is incorrectly given as 24 April, after his false wartime documents.
  2. ^ Karski himself identified the camp as Bełżec death camp in his book published in the USA during the war, even though he knew at the time that it was not Bełżec. However, the descriptions he gave are incompatible with what is known about Bełżec and his biographers Wood and Jankowski later proposed that Karski had actually rather been in the Izbica Lubelska "sorting camp". Many historians have accepted this theory, as did Karski himself.
  3. ^ Interview with Jan Karski. Retrieved on 2007-09-30.

Belzec was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. ... Izbica is a village in Poland, between Zamość and Krasnystaw, in the Lublin Voivodship. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • E. Thomas Wood & Stanisław M. Jankowski (1994). Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 316. ISBN 0-471-01856-2. 
  • Jan Karski (2001). Story of a Secret State. Simon Publications, 391. ISBN 1-931541-39-6. 

See also

Polish Secret State (also known as Polish Underground State; Polish Polskie Państwo Podziemne) is a term coined by Jan Karski in his book Story of a Secret State; it is used to refer to all underground resistance organizations in Poland during World War II, both military and civilian. ... Witold Pilecki (May 13, 1901 – May 25, 1948; pronounced [vitɔld pileʦki]; codenames Roman Jezierski, Tomasz Serafiński, Druh, Witold) was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, founder of the resistance movement Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) and member of the Home... kobe is the best NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yesssssssssss not because KG is. ... Szmul Zygielbojm (Zygelbojm) (1895 – May 12, 1943) was a Jewish-Polish socialist politician, leader of Bund and a member of the Warsaw and Łódź city councils in interwar Poland. ... Cover of Bernays 1928 book, Propaganda. ... This is a per country list of people who helped victims to escape from the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, often called rescuers. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, has recognized over 20,000 Righteous Among the Nations. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Jan Karski Dies at 86; Warned West About Holocaust (2348 words)
Jan Karski at the opening of a 1944 exhibition on the Polish underground, for which he served as a liaison officer to Poland's government-in-exile in London.
Karski later said that the Jews' proposals were "bitter and unrealistic," as if they knew such a program could not and would not be carried out, and that he had told them their five points went beyond international law.
Karski established a $5,000 annual prize to be awarded by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research to authors documenting or interpreting Jewish contributions to Polish culture and science.
Jan Karski at AllExperts (1300 words)
In 1942 and 1943 Karski reported to the Polish government in exile and the British and U.S. governments on the situation in Poland, especially the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust of the.
Jan Kozielewski was born on 24 June, 1914, in Łódź.
After the war Karski was unable to return to communist-ruled Poland and made his home in the United States and began his studies at Georgetown University, where he received a PhD in 1952.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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