Polish Language Blog

US Medal of Freedom for Jan Karski Posted by on Apr 20, 2012 in Culture

Jan Karski, the Polish WW II resistance fighter, is to be posthumously awarded with the US Medal of Freedom, America’s top civilian honour, by President Barack Obama.

Award to Jan Karski – the man who tried to warn the West about the Holocuast being perpetrated by the German Nazis in occupied Poland – was announced by President Obama during a ceremony at the Holocaust Museum in Washington.

“I’m proud to announce that this spring I will honour [Karski] with America’s highest civilian honour—the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Obama said during a tour of the museum, Monday.

“We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen—because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts; because so many others stood silent,” Obama said.

“But let us also tell our children about the Righteous Among the Nations [those who saved Jews during WW II]. Among them was Jan Karski—a young Polish Catholic—who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself.”

Jan Karski, who died in 2000, was a courier for the Polish Underground and escaped occupied by Poland and made it to London, where he gave eyewitness accounts of the horrific conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto to the Polish-government-in-exile and British government.

After the war, Karski settled in the United States and became a lecturer at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.