Florida Social Studies teachers yet again had an opportunity to learn about Jan Karski at the 2018 Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference, that took place on October 19-21 in Orlando, FL. The Jan Karski Educational Foundation presented books and educational materials at the exhibit hall, where other non-profit organizations devoted to education about less known historical figures and facts as well as coursebook publishers displayed their materials. JKEF’s Program Manager, Bozena U. Zaremba introduced Karski to dozens of teachers who stopped by the JKEF’s table and encouraged them to explore his incredible life story and legacy.
She also gave an inspiring presentation about Karski, “The Imperative of Courage and Compassion in Combating the Holocaust” to a group of 20 teachers. The presentation, based on the graphic novel Karski’s Mission: To Stop the Holocaust, focused on the values and qualities represented by the Polish emissary, such as moral backbone, integrity, honesty, courage, and most of all, compassion. The participants were mesmerized by the account of Karski’s emotional testimony about his visit to the Warsaw ghetto, where he witnessed brutality, starvation, and extreme poverty.
“The knowledge we learned was valuable, and [the] presentation was effective and kept everyone's attention. The irony is, of course, history can repeat itself when lessons aren’t learned. The Pittsburgh attack […] reminds us that world still has a great deal of healing to do, along with promoting respect and tolerance,” wrote Glen Wolff, the World History teacher at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, FL, who attended the Karski session.
Joselyn Naranjo of the Florida International University said: “I thought this was a wonderful presentation and it gave me another story to consider when presenting the history of the Holocaust to my pre-service teachers. Jan Karski’s story adds another human layer and example to present to students beyond those that are generally taught such as Anne Frank and Eli Weisel.”
Each participant received a copy of the graphic novel as well as other educational materials and resources.
The Jan Karski Educational Foundation wants to express gratitude to the organizers of the conference for creating an excellent platform for promoting the Karski legacy and the Foundation’s mission to those who shape the minds and hearts of our youth.