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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

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  • PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

  • 15 April 2013

    For the first time outside Washington D.C. Americans can see the Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to Jan Karski. In May 2012, President Barack Obama bestowed this highest US civilian distinction on the legendary courier of the Polish Underground State. The event is accompanied by an exhibition showcasing Karski’s life and work.

    Dan Rutherford, Treasurer of the State of Illinois, and Paulina Kapuścińska, Polish Consul General in Chicago, inaugurated the event on Yom Hashoah, i.e. Holocaust Remembrance Day. The opening ceremony was also attended by Aaron Elster, a Holocaust survivor who had been hidden by a Polish family during WWII.

     

    “As a young officer, a courier for the Polish Underground State and an eyewitness, Jan Karski told the free world about the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland,” underscored Consul Kapuścińska. “Jan Karski drew up detailed reports for the Polish government-in-exile and provided an eyewitness account to the British foreign minister, later going to Washington D.C. to meet with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, at a time when it was still possible to save the inmates of Nazi German concentration camps in occupied Poland,” she added.

     

    Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford noted that Jan Karski was among thousands of Poles whom Yad Vashem recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.

     

    The exhibition devoted to the Medal of Freedom and Jan Karski was attended by many members of Polish and Jewish communities, as well as journalists.

     

    The exhibition will be on view at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago through 23 April 2013.

    Paulina Kapuścińska, Polish Consul General in Chicago
    Paulina Kapuścińska, Polish Consul General in Chicago
    Dan Rutherford, Treasurer of the State of Illinois
    Dan Rutherford, Treasurer of the State of Illinois

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