Former Jan Karski Educational Foundation President Wanda Urbanska was recently interviewed on the Beamz.live podcast platform by host Gregg Stebben, who reports live from Ukraine, Poland, and the US on topics related to Ukraine and Poland. Stebben traveled to Poland to investigate and report on the situation there and has been interviewing key players for their opinions on the conflict and related subjects.
Stebben asked Urbanska about Jan Karski and related his WWII wartime missions to the current conflict. Urbanska described Karski’s background and how she led the campaign to obtain a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for Karski from President Obama, which was awarded in 2012.
Urbanska also told listeners about how Karski’s background was relevant to his later work. She and Stebben discussed the historical context of the war and how Karski and his colleagues in the Polish Underground acted to try to make Western leaders understand the tragedy underway in Nazi-occupied Poland.
She explained how prior occupations within Central Europe had equipped the Ukrainians and Poles with skills to undermine occupiers; this was evident in the Polish Underground, the largest resistance movement during WWII, and in the surprising strength that the Ukrainians have recently shown against the Russian invasion.
Urbanska discussed Karski’s 1944 best-selling book Story of a Secret State – the Foundation partnered with Georgetown University Press under the leadership of Dr. Richard Brown to publish a 2013 edition of the book – and the importance of that undertaking. She also showed the graphic novel project, Karski’s Mission to Stop the Holocaust, which the Foundation published and continues to promote.
“I wish every student in America were required to read this,” she said. Stebben retorted: “Every student in the world!”
Urbanska also mentioned that if Karski were alive today, he could share more insights about Ukraine. Karski went to the University of Lviv, which then was in Poland and now is in Ukraine, so as a diplomat, he was very familiar with the country and its historical context.
Here is the link to the show, which is in English and about a half-hour long.
To learn more about Jan Karski and the Jan Karski Educational Foundation and to order the graphic novel, explore the Foundation’s website.