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  • 10 December 2014

    As the Year of Jan Karski nears its end, a special supplement devoted to the heroic Polish courier appeared in the international edition of the prestigious New York Times.

    In the material published by The New York Times, historian Michael Fleming brings us closer to the story of Jan Karski, the first eye-witness who relayed information about the Nazi Holocaust atrocity to the West. A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Rotfeld, writes about Jan Karski as a person embodying the noblest facets of the Polish spirit, who serves as a source of inspiration.


    The publication also contains a message by Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Grzegorz Schetyna. The chief of Polish diplomacy holds Karski up as a role model to follow in the modern world, in which every person and every nation has the duty not to turn a blind eye to genocide.


    The New York Times supplement features a photo of the original report written by Jan Karski and the first page of the Morgenthau report (US Secretary of the Treasury). Morgenthau was inspired by Karski’s account and he pushed the US president to boost help for the Jews in Europe.


    The summary of the Year of Jan Karski – the man who wanted to stop the Holocaust


    The Year of Jan Karski was established by the Polish Sejm on 6 December 2013. In the past twelve months a number of events have been organised to commemorate the Polish courier—the man who tried to stop the Holocaust. The year 2014 is the culmination of the four-year campaign to restore the memory of the legendary Polish emissary. The campaign was started by the Polish History Museum in cooperation with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


    The Year of Jan Karski was inaugurated on 8 January 2014 with a scientific conference and an exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels. The preparation of the event was a joint effort of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the European Union and the Polish History Museum. The exhibition Jan Karski. The Man of Freedom was first shown there. It was then presented in several European countries, Japan, Canada and the United States.


    Jan Karski was honoured by Georgetown University in Washington, where he lectured for over 40 years as a professor in the School of Foreign Service. University authorities decided to re-publish Karski’s book Story of a Secret State, which became a bestseller after its first US publication in 1944. The ceremony for this occasion was attended by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Professor Zbigniew Brzeziński, Polish Ambassador in Washington Richard Schnepf and Rabbi Harold S. White.


    At an annual conference of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance on 15 May 2014 in London, a “Karski event” was organised to commemorate the legendary courier. Additionally, at that time the Guardian published a supplement devoted entirely to Jan Karski. The supplement was a joint effort of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish History Museum.


    A conference “Memory and Remembrance” devoted to Jan Karski’s and Rafał Lemkin’s legacy was held in Warsaw between 5 and 7 November 2014. Eminent World War II historians, people of culture and diplomats were in attendance. Among other things, the conference featured a video message from the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski.


    International celebration of the Year of Jan Karski is capped on 10 December 2014 by a publication about Jan Karski in The New York Times magazine. The publication was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


    The Year of Jan Karski was a unique opportunity to present one of the most venerated individuals in history of Poland to the world. The events mentioned above were a small portion of a huge number of initiatives that encompassed Poland and a dozen countries around the world.


    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively participated in organising these initiatives from the very beginning, collaborating with dozens of domestic and foreign partners.


    See the publication in The New York Times.


    "Jan Karski: Humanity's hero a century on ran on December 10, 2014 in the International New York Times. It was produced by the T Brand Studio international department of the New York Times and did not involve the editorial departments"


    Personal Report to the President Roosevelt from January 15, 1944. From the Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Diaries


    More information about the Year of Jan Karski.




    MFA Press Office



    Photo: Jan Karski photo from  Photobiography by Maciej Sadowski

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