In 1994, Polish historian Stanisław M. Jankowski and I published a biography of Jan Karski (1914-2000).
Karski, who has been awarded the highest civilian honors given by his native Poland, Israel and the United States, was a young Roman Catholic working for the Polish underground movement in 1942 when he took it upon himself to become an eyewitness to the extermination of Europe’s Jews. He visited the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi concentration camp in disguise, then crossed occupied Europe to report on these horrors, meeting senior Allied leaders in London and later briefing U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt one-on-one at the White House.
Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust, in the original hardback and a 1996 paperback edition, sold about 10,000 copies in English-speaking countries and somewhat more than that number in three German editions. A sampling of reviews is at this link. According to library data site OCLC/Worldcat, the English-language edition is held in 735 libraries worldwide.
Spending time with Professor Karski before and after the book came out was one of the great privileges of my life. I came to know him well, learned much in his presence and had a lot of fun in his company. We enjoyed a close relationship in the last years of his life.
An updated edition of the book was published in June 2014, coinciding with celebrations of the centennial of Karski’s birth.
More on the book and on Professor Karski:
- Video excerpts from my 1996 interviews with Karski
- Books citing Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust
- Reviews of the book from the 1990s
- National Public Radio obituary of Jan Karski, 15 July 2000
- BBC feature on book, December 1994
- Karski reaches London, November 25, 1942 — an excerpt
- The true story of Story of a Secret State
- Audio of my talk on Karski at Georgetown University, October 21, 2011
My Karski-related speaking engagements in recent years:
- New York Public Library, November 22, 2014 (sponsored by Polish Cultural Institute)
- Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York, November 19, 2014 (sponsored by Polish Cultural Institute)
- Members’ Room, Library of Congress, October 23, 2014 (sponsored by Jan Karski Institute)
- Kosciuszko Foundation Center, Washington, DC, October 24, 2014
- Loyola University Chicago, September 19, 2014 (sponsored by Jan Karski Educational Foundation and Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago), with Senate Minority Leader Richard Durbin taking part
- Indiana State University, Terre Haute, July 6, 2014
- Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, May 8, 2014 (sponsored by Jan Karski Educational Foundation and Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Montreal)
- University of San Francisco, April 24, 2013
- Sonoma State University, April 23, 2013
- Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, April 28, 2012 (sponsored by Georgetown University, with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in attendance)
- Georgetown University, October 21, 2011
- Vanderbilt University Virtual School, March 19, 2009 (videoconference with four high-school classes across U.S.)
Forthcoming engagements in 2015 scheduled at Dartmouth College and in Memphis.