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.
Plans are underway to publish an updated edition of the book in 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, 25 November 1942 — an excerpt
- The true story of Story of a Secret State
- Audio of my talk on Karski at Georgetown University, 21 October 2011