Karski was a brilliant young diplomat when war broke out in 1939 with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Taken prisoner by the Soviet Red Army, which had simultaneously invaded from the East, Karski narrowly escaped the subsequent Katyn Forest Massacre. He became a member of the Polish Underground, the most significant resistance movement in occupied Europe, acting as a liaison and courier between the Underground and the Polish government-in-exile. He was twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto, and entered the Nazi’s Izbica transit camp disguised as a guard, witnessing first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust.
Karski’s courage and testimony, conveyed in a breathtaking manner in Story of a Secret State, offer the narrative of one of the world’s greatest eyewitnesses and an inspiration for all of humanity, emboldening each of us to rise to the challenge of standing up against evil and for human rights. This definitive editionwhich includes a foreword by Madeleine Albright, a biographical essay by Yale historian Timothy Snyder, an afterword by Zbigniew Brzezinski, previously unpublished photos, notes, further reading, and a glossaryis an apt legacy for this hero of conscience during the most fraught and fragile moment in modern history.
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|Publisher:||Georgetown University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
In the words of James Russell Lowell’s rousing hymn: 'Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.' Perhaps more than most of us, Jan Karski faced such a choice in the starkest of possible terms, and made his decision as courageously as one could. . . . Jan Karski was a patriot and a truth teller; may his words always be read and his legacy never forgotten.
Table of ContentsNote on the Text
Biographical Essay of Jan Karski
1. Defeat2. Prisoner in Russia3. Exchange and Escape4. Devastated Poland5. The Beginning6. Transformation7. Initiation8. Borecki9. Contact between Cells10. Mission to France11. The Underground State12. Caught by the Gestapo13. Torture14. The SS Hospital15. Rescue16. The "Gardener"17. Propoganda from the Country18. Execution of a Traitor19. The Four Branches of the Underground20. The Laskowa Apartment21. Assignment in Lublin22. Retribution23. The Secret Press24. My "Conspiratorial Apparatus"25. The Liaison Women26. Marriage per Procuram27. SchoolUnderground28. Parliament in Poland29. The Ghetto30. "To Die in Agony . . ."31. Unter den Linden Revisited32. Journey through France and Spain33. My Report to the World
What People are Saying About This
The notion that one person can make a difference is personified by Jan Karski, who I was privileged to have as my professorand guiding lightat Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Karski’s Story of a Secret State offers a glimpse into a time and place ruled by Nazi terror: Poland in the early 1940s. Karski risked his life to bear witness to Nazi atrocities against Jews, Catholics, and Polish dissidents. In disguise, he snuck into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi transfer camp, then reported his terrifying observations directly to British leaders and President Franklin Roosevelt, among the first reports of the holocaust to the civilized world. Georgetown’s edition of Story of a Secret State gives a new generation of readers the portrait of a genuine hero who truly made a difference.
The Anti-Defamation League is proud to have named its Jan Karski Courage to Care award for an extraordinary man, who put conscience to actionand his own life at riskto reveal the Holocaust to the West. Read his story and be inspired by Karski’s will, his spirit, and his commitment to humanity.
This gripping book gives a comprehensive account of the Nazi occupation of Poland by a young courier in the Polish Underground, who sought to bring home to Western statesmen the tragic fate of his country and of his Jewish fellow-citizens. It is essential reading for all those interested in the Second World War.
Within Jan Karski's stirring account of selfless heroism to expose the Holocaust, lie two compelling messages: It is possible for one man to bring to the world's attention unimaginable political evil. The harder and still relevant question raised by Karski's story is: How does one get the civilized world to respond?
I have been blessed to know many distinguished people, great artists, musicians, scholars, philosophers, political leaders and activists. Yet I have only known one man, whom I would truly call noble, my late colleague, Jan Karski. Story of a Secret State is both his most important book and his most failed book; important, because as a messenger from Poland, Karski tried to tell the world of what was happening in his native land to the Jews whose pleas he carried forth to the West. It was a warning issued while there was still time to act, still an opportunity to rescue or at least to protest. His most failed bookthough it was widely read and well received when publishedbecause we did not listen attentively enough to what this great man had to say. We must listen now even though it is too late.
"This gripping book gives a comprehensive account of the Nazi occupation of Poland by a young courier in the Polish Underground, who sought to bring home to Western statesmen the tragic fate of his country and of his Jewish fellow-citizens. It is essential reading for all those interested in the Second World War." Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University
"I have been blessed to know many distinguished people, great artists, musicians, scholars, philosophers, political leaders and activists. Yet I have only known one man, whom I would truly call noble, my late colleague, Jan Karski. Story of a Secret State is both his most important book and his most failed book; important, because as a messenger from Poland, Karski tried to tell the world of what was happening in his native land to the Jews whose pleas he carried forth to the West. It was a warning issued while there was still time to act, still an opportunity to rescue or at least to protest. His most failed book though it was widely read and well received when published because we did not listen attentively enough to what this great man had to say. We must listen now even though it is too late." Michael Berenbaum, Director, Sigi Ziering Institute; Professor of Jewish Studies, American Jewish University
A decade before Professor Karski began his remarkable tenure at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, he was already teaching by the power of examplewith lessons of heroism, resilience, and uncompromising leadership. All freedom-seeking people around the world should know Karski’s story.
Jan Karski’s brave account of the Nazi’s horrific crimes and one man’s heroic resistance strikes our collective conscience as strongly today as when he first published it over six decades ago. Today, millions around the world continue to thank and honor him for exposing the evil that was perpetuated throughout concentration camps. When President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Jan Karski the Medal of Freedom he recognized that Karski’s story is one of courage as much as compassion. This book is a stirring reminder that our world depends on both.
Jan Karski is well known as the 'courier from Poland who exposed the Holocaust,' but his work in the service of the underground Polish state, which flourished under the noses of the Nazis, equally deserves to find the limelight. Unlike its counterparts in other countries, The Polish Resistance Movement did not confine itself to military activities; it created a huge network of clandestine organizations, which functioned in the fields of culture, education, propaganda, justice and economics, and which undermined the social control of the German forces of occupation. Karski's book on this subject is a classic, providing an unmatched account of the wartime realities in a country that lay at the epicenter of the conflict.