From Polish Resistance Herald to Humanity’s Hero: Jan Karski’s Reports on the Holocaust to the World

a lecture by Dr Beate Müller (Newcastle University)

Jan Karski (1914-2000) was a Polish Catholic diplomat who acted as courier for the wartime Polish Government-in-Exile. Karski was smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto and into a concentration camp, where he became an eye-witness of the Nazi genocide. He reported on the situation in Poland and on the fate of Polish Jews, both to Polish politicians in France (1940), as well as to government leaders in London and Washington (1942/43).

After publishing a book about his mission as early as 1944 (Story of a Secret State), Karski maintained a long silence. But since the 1980s, Karski repeatedly testified to his wartime activities and experiences; he received numerous awards and became a celebrity among the ‘righteous’. The Polish government even declared 2014 the Jan Karski Year.

This talk will introduce the audience to Karski’s reports and will show how Karski’s own representations of his wartime mission changed over time, and how other people’s engagements with Karski’s work and his legacy developed.

Date: Wednesday 21 January 2015 6.15pm

Venue: Bewick Hall, City Library, Newcastle upon Tyne

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