Title: Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust
Primary Author: Wood, E. Thomas
Other Author(s): Janowski, Stanislaw M.
Published: 1994, John Wiley and Sons, New York
Copyright: E. Thomas Wood and Stanislaw M. Janowski
Type of Publication: book
Name of Publication:
Volume & Issue:
No. of Pages: 316
Language: English
Original Language:
Abstract: Karski's dire message was like Cassandra's unheeded. Karski was an agent for the Polish underground. He was chosen to be a messager on a special mission. He was taken on 2 visits to the Warsaw ghetto. The purgatory of the ghetto affected him deeply. He was smuggled into Izbica Lubelska, a holding camp for Belzec death camp, in a Ukrainian guard's uniform.

Karski's mission was to report on what he saw first to the Polish government-in-exile and then to the Allied powers. His goal was to get the Allies to take some act to stop the exterminations. In this he failed. He was fobbed off. He was disbelieved.

After hearing Karski's report Schwartzbart, a Pole and a Jew, telegraphed to New York "believe the unbelieveable". Zygielboigm, a labor leader whose family perished in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, committed suicide as an act of political protest to focus attention on the plight of the Jews. Yet, the people who mattered did not take any action.

After reporting in London Karski was sent to the United States. Even, Felix Frankfutter, a Supreme Court Justice and a Jew, refused to believe him.

Karski in retrospect wrote, "The Lord assigned me a role to speak and write during the war when--as it seemed to me--it might help. It did not...All murdered Jews became my family. I am a Christian Jew. My faith tells me the second original sin has been committed by humanity. This sin will haunt humanity to the end of time. It does haunt me. And I want it to be so."

What he saw changed him forever--fundamentally and spiritually. Already a super-Polish patriot and a religious man he saw the persecution of the Jews in almost a Biblical and Christlike context. He was given a chance to do something few people get, to do a great good. Through no fault of his own he failed.

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