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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • POLISH DIPLOMACY ARCHIVE

  • 10 December 2017

    On December 10, 1942, the Polish government-in-exile appealed to signatory states of the United Nations Declaration with a request to prevent crimes being committed against the Jewish population in German-occupied Poland. On the 75th anniversary of the note’s submission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is presenting an image of the original note, kept in The National Archives in London.

    The note, signed by the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Edward Raczyński, is formally dated 9 December 1942. It was delivered, however, on the following day (10 December 1942) and it was also published on that date. The creation of the note was closely related to Jan Karski's arrival in London in November 1942. Karski's accounts and the microfilms he brought with him detailed the tragic situation of the Jewish population in occupied Poland. Edward Raczyński handed over information on this to the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden during a meeting on 1 December 1942. Raczyński also proposed organising a multilateral conference to share information about the crimes being committed. In the absence of a British reaction, the Polish government decided to send the note to the signatory states of the United Nations Declaration.

     

    The note (imprecisely called the Karski Report) contained information about the current situation of Jews in occupied Poland and laid out German crimes. It also listed the ways in which the Polish government had provided information and made protests, and called on Western states to stop the crimes. In the final paragraphs, the Polish government called not only for the condemnation of the murders and the punishment of the guilty parties, but also appealed for measures that would stop the mass extermination methods.

     

    The note met with widespread press commentary, and the reaction of Allied governments was the announcement on 17 December 1942 of a special declaration in which severe punishment of the guilty was made.

     

    To publicise the facts about the genocide of the Jews in occupied Poland (apart from the official submission of the note), the Polish authorities also published a large number of special brochures in English and distributed them through Polish diplomatic and consular missions. The 16-page booklet consisted of an introduction and four documents concerning the extermination of the Jewish population on Polish territory under German occupation.

     

    The most important of the documents in the brochure was, of course, Raczyński's note from 10 December 1942. The brochure also contained the text of the joint declaration of the Allied states of 17 December 1942, an excerpt of the statement of Deputy Prime Minister Stanisław Mikołajczyk on 27 November 1942 and a text by Edward Raczyński from 17 December 1942.

     

    The full content of the brochure in PDF format: The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland

     

    A documentary film has been made devoted to Edward Raczyński which includes segments on statements regarding the persecution of civilians. Excerpt 6.25-6.50 shows the speech of 13 January 1942 in St. James's Palace, excerpt 7.35-8.46 concerns the note from 10 December 1942 and the figure of Jan Karski.

     

     

     

    Compiled by: Historical Section, Bureau of Archives and Information Management

    Edward Raczyński was an experienced diplomat who had served in the Polish foreign service since 1919. As the ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United Kingdom, he presented his credentials on 1 November 1934. In the picture with General Władysław Sikorski, November 1939. (The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum - IPMS).
    Edward Raczyński was an experienced diplomat who had served in the Polish foreign service since 1919. As the ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United Kingdom, he presented his credentials on 1 November 1934. In the picture with General Władysław Sikorski, November 1939. (The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum - IPMS).
    Cover of the file in the National Archives containing the original note of Edward Raczyński (Archiwum Ministerstwa Spraw Zagranicznych - AMSZ).
    Cover of the file in the National Archives containing the original note of Edward Raczyński (Archiwum Ministerstwa Spraw Zagranicznych - AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 1, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 1, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 2, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 2, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 3, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 3, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 4, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 4, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 5, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 5, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 6, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 6, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 7, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 7, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 8, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 8, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 9, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Note of Ambassador Edward Raczyński to the Foreign Office, page 9, 9 December 1942. (AMSZ).
    Special publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs containing Raczyński's note, the cover of the copy kept at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw (AMSZ).
    Special publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs containing Raczyński's note, the cover of the copy kept at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw (AMSZ).
    The second point of Raczyński's note included a reference to the conference of representatives of nine coalition states in St. James's Palace on 13 January 1942 regarding the punishment of those guilty of the atrocities perpetrated on civilians during the war. The picture shows the participants of the meeting, on the left behind the table are: the USSR ambassador to the Polish government in exile Aleksander Bogomolov, the Chinese ambassador to the Polish government in exile Wunz King, the US ambassador to the Polish government-in-exile Anthony Biddle, the British minister of foreign affairs Anthony Eden, the Canadian high commissioner in the United Kingdom Vincent Massey, the Australian high commissioner in the United Kingdom Stanley Bruce, the New Zealand high commissioner in the United Kingdom William Joseph Jordan, the South African high commissioner Sidney Waterson and Edward Cavendish as Prince of Devonshire, Undersecretary of State for the Dominions. On the right, representatives of Belgium, the Free France Committee, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland (ambassador Edward Raczyński and prime minister Władysław Sikorski), Norway, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia (IPMS).
    The second point of Raczyński's note included a reference to the conference of representatives of nine coalition states in St. James's Palace on 13 January 1942 regarding the punishment of those guilty of the atrocities perpetrated on civilians during the war. The picture shows the participants of the meeting, on the left behind the table are: the USSR ambassador to the Polish government in exile Aleksander Bogomolov, the Chinese ambassador to the Polish government in exile Wunz King, the US ambassador to the Polish government-in-exile Anthony Biddle, the British minister of foreign affairs Anthony Eden, the Canadian high commissioner in the United Kingdom Vincent Massey, the Australian high commissioner in the United Kingdom Stanley Bruce, the New Zealand high commissioner in the United Kingdom William Joseph Jordan, the South African high commissioner Sidney Waterson and Edward Cavendish as Prince of Devonshire, Undersecretary of State for the Dominions. On the right, representatives of Belgium, the Free France Committee, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland (ambassador Edward Raczyński and prime minister Władysław Sikorski), Norway, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia (IPMS).
    On May 29, 2012, the United States president Barack Obama awarded Jan Karski posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom in memory of his services. Pictured, the obverse of the medal (AMSZ).
    On May 29, 2012, the United States president Barack Obama awarded Jan Karski posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom in memory of his services. Pictured, the obverse of the medal (AMSZ).
    On 29 May 2012, the United States president Barack Obama awarded Jan Karski posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom in memory of his services. Pictured, the reverse of the medal (AMSZ).
    On 29 May 2012, the United States president Barack Obama awarded Jan Karski posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom in memory of his services. Pictured, the reverse of the medal (AMSZ).

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