Jewish Journal


February 16, 2012

Jan Karski honored in Poland for WWII resistance work


Jan Karski at USHMM in 1994. Photo by E. Thomas Wood

Jan Karski at USHMM in 1994. Photo by E. Thomas Wood

The Polish Senate has posthumously honored World War II hero Jan Karski for his work in revealing details of the Nazi genocide taking place in Poland.

During a special meeting Wednesday of Upper House of the Polish Parliament, guests including United States’ Ambassador Lee Feinstein and Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld were briefed on the program to commemorate the centennial of Karski’s birth that will take place in 2014, Polish Radio reported.

In addition to special events, a monument will be erected in Warsaw in his memory, and a Warsaw street will be named after him.

The session also contained a briefing for the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign, to which 68 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 11 senators have already pledged their support.

Born Jan Kozielewski in Lodz, Karski adopted his nom-de-guerre after escaping from a German POW train and joining the resistance. Karski served as a courier between occupied Poland and the Polish government in exile. In 1942, he was chosen to inform the Polish prime minister of Nazi atrocities, after having himself smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto to see what was happening firsthand.

After World War II, Karski settled in the United States and taught at Georgetown University until his death in 2000.

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