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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

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  • 18 November 2013

    Canadian recognition to Jan Karski - plan announced by Minister Jason Kenney

     

     

     

    On Nov. 14th, 2013 an exhibition was inaugurated at the CWM commemorating life and legacy of Jan Karski, Polish underground courier, who wanted to make a difference in times of horror, who risked his life trying to stop the Holocaust. Drawing heavily on Karski’s war memoir Story of a Secret State, the exhibition details his final mission from German occupied Poland when he was charged with bringing an eyewitness account of the Holocaust to skeptical Allied leaders, including British foreign secretary Anthony Eden and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It recounts his secret visits to the ghetto in Warsaw and to a transit camp of Izbica Lubelska, where, in his own words, “the chaos, the squalor, the hideousness of it all was indescribable.”      

     

    The opening of the exhibition was honored by the presence of Minister Jacek Michałowski, Chief of the Chancellery of the President of Poland, and Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal. While opening the exhibit The Director General of the CWM James Whitham stressed, that “Jan Karski’s story is one of courage and compassion”. His legacy lies in his values: courage in the face of adversity, tolerance toward all people, and speaking truth to those in power. Citing Jan Karski’s words “I was an insignificant little man. My mission was important”, Ambassador of Poland Marcin Bosacki recognized that Karski is one of numerous examples of Poles who acted in face of evil and injustice. Over 6 thousand Poles were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations, those who gave shelter to Jews persecuted by the Germans. For his endeavors to safe the Jews Jan Karski was also recognized with this title. And in 2012, he was posthumously awarded by the US President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. These awards may have a chance to be matched soon by a Canadian award for Karski. While speaking during the panel discussion accompanying the exhibition on Nov.17 th, at the CWM, Hon. Minister Jason Kenney presented the initiative to be undertaken by the Canadian Parliament to award Jan Karski with the title “Hero of Humanity”.

    “Breaking the silence” was the motif of remarks by the Irwin Cotler, who moderated the panel discussion of experts presenting in detail the history of Polish underground and Karski’s wartime missions. Members of the panel included Holocaust Survivor Pinchas Gutter,  Andrzej Żbikowski, Professor at Jewish Historical Institute (Poland), Dr. Gideon Greif from Yad Vashem Institute, Jan Grabowski, Professor of History at the University of Ottawa and Wanda Urbanska President of Jan Karski Educational Foundation. A special guest to the exhibit was Kaja Mirecka-Ploss, honorary Chair of Jan Karski Institute for Tolerance and Dialogue and a long-time friend of Karski.

     

    The exhibition THE WORLD KNEW — Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity was produced by the Polish History Museum in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland and the Jan Karski Educational Foundation. Support was provided by the Canadian Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Shoah Committee of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, the Embassies of Israel and the United States of America, the Canadian Polish Congress, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Department of History of the University of Ottawa. Presentation of the exhibit in Ottawa has been a part of Holocaust Education Month program.

    The story of Jan Karski will be presented in Canada during multiple events in the following year, celebrating Karski’s centennial.

     

    More photos from the opening of the exhibition here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/polishembassyca/sets/72157637764711824/

     

     

    Media on  the exhibition:

    Ottawa citizen:

    Canadian War Museum Special Exhibition Honours Polish Resistance Hero by David Pugliese: http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/11/14/canadian-war-museum-special-exhibition-honours-polish-resistance-hero/

    Resister spread word of Nazi horrors by Tom Spears: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Resister+spread+word+Nazi+horrors/9170317/story.html

    Macleans Magazine: Jan Karski’s futile mission to stop the Holocaust, by Michael Petrou: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/11/18/jan-karskis-futile-mission-to-stop-the-holocaust/

    Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish): Kanada. Wystawę "Świat wiedział" o Janie Karskim otwarto w Ottawie, by Anna Lach: http://wyborcza.pl/1,91446,14955912,Kanada__Wystawe__Swiat_wiedzial__o_Janie_Karskim_otwarto.html

    Centretown News: Museum exhibit tells story of horrors in Warsaw Ghetto by Tyler Difleyv: http://www.centretownnews.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4163&Itemid=94

    Related links:

    Canadian War Museum: http://www.warmuseum.ca/event/the-world-knew-jan-karskis-mission-for-humanity/

    Museum of Polish History: http://www.karski.muzhp.pl/karski_en/home.html

    Jan Karski Educational Foundation http://www.jankarski.net/en

    The Jan Karski Institute for Tolerance and Dialogue: http://jankarskiinstituteus.org/

    Google Cultural Institute on Jan Karski: http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/?hl=en#!exhibit:exhibitId=QR_UaCtP&position=0%2C-1&urlStub=Jan%20Karski.%20Humanity's%20Hero&hl=en

    http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/?hl=fr#!exhibit:exhibitId=QR_UaCtP&position=0%2C-1&urlStub=Jan%20Karski%2C%20h%C3%A9ros%20de%20l'humanit%C3%A9&hl=en

    You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnbeBRhULzc

    Ambassador Marcin Bosacki
    Ambassador Marcin Bosacki
    Jacek Michałowski, Tim Uppal, Marcin Bosacki, Jam
    Jacek Michałowski, Tim Uppal, Marcin Bosacki, Jam
    Jacek Michałowski, Wanda Urbanska, Tomasz Grasza
    Jacek Michałowski, Wanda Urbanska, Tomasz Grasza
    James Whitham, Diane Sovereign, Mina Cohn, Jarosł
    James Whitham, Diane Sovereign, Mina Cohn, Jarosł
    Jason Kenney, Wanda Urbanska
    Jason Kenney, Wanda Urbanska
    Andrzej Żbikowski
    Andrzej Żbikowski
    Wanda Urbanska, Jason Kenney, Mina Cohn, Pinchas Gutter
    Wanda Urbanska, Jason Kenney, Mina Cohn, Pinchas Gutter
    James Whitham, Diane Sovereign, Mina Cohn, Jarosł
    James Whitham, Diane Sovereign, Mina Cohn, Jarosł
    Jan Grabowski
    Jan Grabowski
    Jason Kenney
    Jason Kenney
    Jason Kenney, Wanda Urbanska
    Jason Kenney, Wanda Urbanska
    Jason Kenney at Jan Karski exhibit
    Jason Kenney at Jan Karski exhibit
    Kaja Mirecka-Ploss
    Kaja Mirecka-Ploss
    Karski panel2
    Karski panel2
    Karski panel
    Karski panel
    panelists
    panelists
    panelists2
    panelists2

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