Exhibition at the Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen
16th October - 5th November 2017. This exhibition gives an example of personal bravery and a fierce sense of resistance against evil in very dark times.
Jan Karski became a courier for the Polish Underground resistance in the struggle for his country. After being tortured by the Nazis, he escaped and continued smuggling information out of Poland which he sent to the Polish Government in exile in France and then in England. He infiltrated Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto to witness its horrors: “degradation, starvation and death.” This exhibition gives an example of personal bravery and a fierce sense of resistance against evil in very dark times. In 1942 Karski personally delivered his accounts about the Holocaust to the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and a year later to the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His reports were not believed.
Karski’s book, Story of a Secret State, was published in 1944 in the United States and became an overnight best-seller. His lifetime of service to humanity – as an emissary, as a distinguished educator at Georgetown University, and as a voice of conscience – places him in the first rank of world figures from the twentieth century. He received the Order of the White Eagle, the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari and the Home Army Cross. He died in 2000, aged 86. Karski’s extraordinary legacy was recognized by President Barack Obama in 2012, when he was decorated posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour.
The exhibition has toured to Stormont Palace and the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, and will be on display at the Sir Duncan Rice Library in Aberdeen from 16 October 2017.