Jan Karski meets British and US leaders

KarskiJan Kozielewski – or Jan Karski, as was his nom de guerre and later his official name – was a Polish soldier turned resistance movement fighter during the Second World War. Having escaped a train headed for a POW camp, Karski found his way to Warsaw and took up arms with the resistance there. In 1942, he was selected by the Polish Government Delegate’s Office at Home, Cyryl Ratajski, to inform the Polish Prime Minister-in-exile, Władysław Sikorski, and other politicians about Nazi atrocities in occupied Poland.


To collect evidence for his mission, Karski was twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto to observe the treatment of Poland’s Jews for himself. He also disguised himself as an Estonian camp guard and visited what he thought to be Bełżec death camp, but later was thought to have been a transit point for the camp. Nevertheless, Karksi was in no doubt about what was happening to the Jews of Poland. From 1942, Karski informed the Polish, British and American governments about the situation in Poland, most notably the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto and the extermination of Polish Jews. He had obtained a microfilm with information from the underground specifically related to these exterminations. He held meetings with the Polish Prime Minister, delegates from different political parties and the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. In July 1943, Karski also met with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt questioned him on aspects such as the condition of the horses in Poland, but asked nothing about the Jews. Unfortunately, however, many were sceptical of Karski’s accounts, and so not great action was taken after learning of these horrible events.

The Envoy
Jan Karski
The Righteous Among the Nations
Yad Vashem
Background on Karski being recognized as Righteous Among Nations, and being bestowed with an honorary Israeli citizenship

Jan Karski
The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture
University of Michigan

Jan Karski 1914-2000
Jewish Virtual Library

The Jan Karski Institute
The Mission of the Institute is to keep the legacy of Jan Karski alive by advancing tolerance, dialogue and understanding through a variety of programs, activities and awards leading to reconciliation and peace by means of diplomacy.Projects include: tolerance education for young people, an annual lecture series on acts of conscience, films and videos promoting tolerance and dialogue, an annual award program and other projects and activities.

Jan Karski Educational Foundation
The mission of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation is to instil in people – especially youth – the values of leadership, courage and integrity, as exemplified by the life of Jan Karski.

Jan Karski. Humanity’s Hero
Polish History Museum
The contents of this package of online information, which is based on the life of Dr. Jan Karski, cover the pre-War period, World War II, the Holocaust and the post-War period

Teaching Aids
Lesson Plans
Jan Karski. Humanity’s Hero
Polish History Museum

Jan Karski, a silent messenger
Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Holocaust Witness Jan Karski’s Confrontation with FDR
According to this account, President Roosevelt viewed the suffering of the Jews in Germany and Europe as just another unfortunate aspect of what civilians suffer in every war. He did not believe it was justified for the US to use any resources to rescue Jews from the Nazis

Youtube Video:
 Jan Karski about his meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1943

Youtube Video:
 Holocaust Rescue and Aid Provider Jan Karski Testimony

Jan Karski
The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous

Report On Meeting of Jewish Leaders with Roosevelt
(December 8, 1942)
Jewish Virtual Library

Eyewitness to genocide: He was first to warn of the Holocaust but no one believed him. How many lives could have been saved?
Daily Mail Online

Movies and Interviews related to Jan Karski
The Jan Karski Institute

Karski Videos
Jan Karski Educational Foundation



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