21/01/2020 27/02/2020

Exhibition honouring Polish WWII courier opens in Rome

An exhibition honouring Jan Karski, a Polish Home Army (AK) soldier and a courier for the wartime Polish Underground State during WWII, who informed the Allies about the Holocaust, opened in Rome on Tuesday.

The exhibition "Jan Karski. Mission for Humanity" was prepared by the Polish Institute in cooperation with Rome's city authorities. The opening was accompanied by a meeting devoted to Karski, the author of a report about the Holocaust in Nazi German-occupied Poland for the Allies.

Present at the event were Poland's Ambassador to Italy Anna Maria Anders and Jadwiga Pinderska-Lech of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.

The exhibition will close on February 27.

To learn the fate of Polish Jews, Karski was smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto by the Jewish underground and to the German Belzec death camp. He travelled across occupied Europe to England, and eventually to the US. Karski personally reported to the Polish PM in London, General Władysław Sikorski, Britain's Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, US President Franklin Roosevelt and many other prominent figures. His description of the systematic annihilation of European Jews was met with disbelief and passivity.

After the war, Karski remained in Washington, D.C., became an American citizen and taught at Georgetown University for nearly 40 years. In 1994, he was granted an honorary citizenship of Israel. Karski was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. He died in 2000 in Washington.