Patron

img_37031Jan Karski (24 April 1914 – 13 July 2000) was a Polish World War II resistance movement fighter and later professor at Georgetown University. In 1942 and 1943 Karski reported to the Polish government in exile and the Western Allies on the situation in German-occupied Poland, especially the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the secretive German extermination camps.

 

Jan Karski was born as Jan Kozielewski on 24 April 1914 in Łódź. He was raised a Catholic and remained one throughout his life. He grew up in a multi-cultural neighbourhood where the majority of the population was then Jewish.

After graduating from a local school Kozielewski joined the Jan Kazimierz University of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) and graduated from the Legal and Diplomatic departments in 1935. During his compulsory military training he served in the NCO school for mounted artillery officers in Włodzimierz Wołyński. He completed his education between 1936 and 1938 in different diplomatic posts in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and went on to join the Diplomatic Service. After a short period of resident scholarship, in January 1939 he started work in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

With the outbreak of World War II Kozielewski was mobilized and served in a small artillery detachment in eastern Poland. Taken prisoner by the Red Army, he successfully concealed his true rank by pretending to be an ordinary soldier and was handed over to the Germans during an exchange of Polish prisoners of war, in effect escaping the Katyn massacre.

 

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