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STORY OF A SECRET STATE by Jan Karski Kirkus Star


My Report to the World

by Jan Karski

Pub Date: March 15th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1589019836
Publisher: Georgetown Univ. Press

A well-deserved revival of the author’s 1944 best-seller.

A member of the Polish resistance after Germany’s 1939 conquest, Karski (1914–2000) witnessed unspeakable Nazi behavior and the courageous response of his countrymen before traveling to Britain and the United States with the first news of the Holocaust. He was a popular, educated 25-year-old diplomatic officer mobilized days before Hitler’s September 1 invasion. Caught up in the catastrophic rout, his unit retreated across the country and into the arms of the Red Army, which had invaded on September 17. Eventually transferred from a Soviet labor camp to a Nazi labor camp, he escaped and joined the fledgling Polish resistance. As a courier, he traveled through German lines to Paris to meet with the Polish exile government. He was caught by the Gestapo during his second mission and tortured to the point of attempting suicide. Rescued by the resistance, he spent months recuperating. Preparing for his third mission in 1942, he toured Poland at the request of Jewish resistance leaders and was a horrified witness to brutality and mass starvation inside the Warsaw ghetto and the early death camps. Karski traveled through Germany, France and Spain to London, where he delivered his report and microfilm evidence to Polish and British leaders before crossing the Atlantic in 1943 to do the same in the U.S. The mission received wide publicity, and many important figures urged action. Sadly, although Karski made his case personally to leading statesmen, including Franklin Roosevelt and Anthony Eden, the Allies did nothing.

A disturbing, unique, invaluable record of Poland's suffering and heroism during World War II.