FOR MEDIA RELEASE September 14, 2015
THE WORLD KNEW – JAN KARSKI’S MISSION FOR HUMANITY
ON DISPLAY IN ST. LOUIS AREA
FROM SEPTEMBER 24 TO NOVEMBER 14
The World Knew: Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity, a new exhibit will be on display at the Saint Louis University from Thursday, September 24, 2015 through Sunday, October 31, 2015 and at the Lindenwood University from Sunday, November 1, 2015 through Saturday, November 14, 2015.
The exhibit was created by the Polish History Museum in partnership with the Jan Karski Educational Foundation and with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Additional funding was provided by the National Endowment for Humanities. The 22-panel educational travelling exhibition reflects heavily on Jan Karski’s World War II memoir, Story of a Secret State, detailing his mission from the Polish Government in Exile.
ABOUT JAN KARSKI
The story of Polish-born diplomat and “citizen of the world” Jan Karski (1914-2000) is not well known today, remarkably, but he carried out one of the most monumental missions during World War II – a cross-continental trek to inform Western leaders in 1942 that the Holocaust was underway. Planned by the Polish Underground, the largest anti-Nazi resistance movement in occupied Europe, Karski was smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto and the vast Nazi system of industrialized slaughter to directly bear witness and report on what he had seen to the top leaders of the Allies. Along the way, he was captured, tortured, nearly executed, and managed daring escapes that allowed his message and evidence to be carried to the West. He presented his dramatic report in 1943 to the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, and was then sent to Washington where he met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt for an hour in the Oval Office. At the time Karski was sounding the alarm, most of Poland’s Jewish citizens had already been killed. But there was still time to save the few who survived.
Karski stayed in the U.S., eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. He was a professor of history and politics for over 40 years at Georgetown University, where he taught in the School of Foreign Service, influencing generations of future leaders. In his later life, he received many awards for his courage and was a controversial speaker on the callousness of the Allies toward the fate of the Jews in Europe. In June 1982, Jan Karski planted his tree on the Avenue of the Righteous among the Nations on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. In subsequent years, many significant honors were bestowed on him: the Anti-Defamation League Courage to Care Award (1988, which in 2012 was renamed the Jan Karski Courage to Care Award); the Pius XI Award (1990); the Eisenhower Liberation Medal (1991); the Wallenberg Medal (1991); and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012) conferred by President Barack Obama.
Karski, who lived to the age of 86, considered the inaction of the Free World to be mankind’s “second Original Sin.” His recorded testimony remains one of the most eloquent statements against war and calls for action when confronted with acts of discrimination and degradation, injustice, and brutality – preconditions for political murder and genocide.
The Saint Louis University exhibit will be on display at the Second Floor Gallery at Saint Louis University’s Pius XII Memorial Library, 3650 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis MO 63108 during regular Library operating hours: Monday – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Saint Louis University exhibit is co-sponsored by the Rubin and Gloria Feldman Education Institute of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, a department of the Jewish Federation, St. Louis, the Center for Intercultural Studies at Saint Louis University, and Saint Louis Polonia, Inc.
The Lindenwood University exhibit will be on display at the Lindenwood University’s Spellmann Center 209 S Kingshighway St, St. Charles, MO 63301. The exhibit at the Lindenwood University is co-sponsored by the Liberty & Ethics Center and the Center for International and Global Studies.
In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be several free programs including:
- September 24, 6:00 pm – Exhibition opening at the Second Floor Gallery at Saint Louis University’s Pius XII Memorial Library. Special guests: Andrzej Rojek – a Board Chairman of Jan Karski Educational Foundation; Robert Ogrodnik, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in St. Louis; and John Kurowski, founder and Managing Attorney of Kurowski Shultz, LLC in Swansea, Illinois and Visiting Professor of Law at the Nicolaus Copernicus School of Law and Administration in Torun, Poland.
- Thursday, October 1, 2015, 2:00 PM – Seminar “Remembrance, Responsibility and Reflection: The Moral Courage of Jan Karski” at the John K. Pruellage Courtroom, 12th Floor, Saint Louis University School of Law 100 North Tucker Boulevard St. Louis, Missouri 63101. The symposium will include :
- A screening of the new movie “Karski & The Lords of Humanity” by Sławomir Grünberg – an Emmy award winning producer and director.
- Panel discussion “Keeping the Legacy Alive Today” with special guests: Andrew Nagorski – an award-winning journalist and author who spent more than three decades as a foreign correspondent and editor for Newsweek Professor, Sławomir Grunberg and SLU Professor Monica Eppinger.
- Thursday, November 12, 2015 6:30 PM Symposium “Jan Karski: The Man Who Tried to Stop the Holocaust” at the Lindenwood University Anheuser-Busch leadership Room, Spellmann Center. The event, presented as part of Lindenwood University’s Center for International and Global Studies Speaker Series will feature two special guests: Mr. Andrzej Rojek – a Board Chairman of Jan Karski Educational Foundation and Thomas E. Wood, journalist, writer and the principal narrator of the 2015 documentary “Karski & The Lords of Humanity”.
|EXHIBIT MEDIA CONTACT
Michał Jan Rozbicki
Professor, History Department
Director, Center for Intercultural Studies
Saint Louis University
|SAINT LOUIS POLONIA CONTACT
ABOUT SAINT LOUIS POLONIA
Saint Louis Polonia, Inc. is Missouri nonprofit organization, with the purpose of promoting understanding and appreciation of the many contributions of Poles and Americans of Polish descent to world cultural heritage. Through our initiatives and partnerships with other organizations, we promote a variety of artistic, educational, cultural, and charitable projects that enhance our communities and respect our differences.