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The Warsaw Voice » Society » April 29, 2009
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Pole Who Warned of Holocaust Honored in US
April 29, 2009   
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An intersection in New York City’s Manhattan district was April 16 officially named after the late Polish diplomat and wartime resistance fighter Jan Karski, the first to alert the West of the mass murder of Jews by German Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II. The intersection of Madison Avenue and 37th Street is now called Jan Karski Corner.

In autumn 1942, Karski, a diplomat and member of the Polish resistance movement, went on a mission to Britain and the United States where he reported as an eyewitness on the situation in occupied Poland and the mass murder of Jews by Germans. In July 1943, he met with U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Karski appealed to the highest authorities of the allied states to help Jews. He argued that the allied powers should present an ultimatum to Germany threatening to bomb German cities unless the Nazis stopped murdering Jews. He also called for bombing railway lines leading to death camps, and for delivering weapons to resistance units. However, Karski’s efforts did not persuade the Allies to take the kind of action he requested.

After the war, Karski took up residence in the United States and became a faculty member at Georgetown University in Washington, where he taught international affairs and the theory of communism for 40 years.

In 1982, he received the title of Righteous Among the Nations and planted a symbolic tree at the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem. In 1995, he received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest state decoration. In 1998, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Karski died in Washington in July 2000 at the age of 86. Jan Karski Corner is the first place in Manhattan to be named after a Pole.
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