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Karskis Among Us

Karskis Among Us

If you find yourself in a circumstance, whatever it is, and you can do something to make a difference, let Karski’s story be one of those that inspires you to try.[1]  

On April 24, Jan Karski would have turned 106. During the current pandemic, courage, selflessness, empathy, responsibility, and dedication to public service—the values which embody Jan Karski—are resonating with extraordinary strength. Just like the emissary of the Polish Underground during WWII, people around the world demonstrate compassion and courage, risking their lives to help save the lives of others.

"These heroes are doctors, nurses and medical staff, as well as scientists, who work on the vaccine and cure for the coronavirus,” says Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, President of Fundacja Edukacyjna Jana Karskiego in Poland, sister organization of Jan Karski Educational Foundation. “They are also volunteers who help in nursing homes or do grocery shopping for their neighbors. These heroes often act anonymously and can be found in all cultures, religions, and political systems. They often have no idea who Karski was and what he did. Still, he is present in them.”

“Let’s take the opportunity to recognize all those heroes; let’s show them respect; let them be an example for all of us,” adds Andrzej Rojek, Chair of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation’s Board.

While facing the challenges of the year 2020, we are celebrating Jan Karski’s birthday with all of these heroes in our midst. We are confident that his legacy is universal and relevant today. It opens our eyes to the suffering of others and makes us look for the interest of others above our own. It reminds us that fear can often be replaced with courage and action.

 The photo collage based on Jan Karski photograph from 1943 (Hoover Institution)

 [1] Sir. Martin Gilbert (1936-2015), British historian, Professor of History at Oxford University