Karski bench unveiled in Warsaw

A bench dedicated to Jan Karski, the WW II Polish underground courier who informed the West of the plight of Polish Jewry under Nazi occupation, was unveiled in Warsaw, Tuesday.

President of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz with director of the Polish History Museum Robert Kostro unveil Karski's Bench: photo - PAP/Pawel Supernak

President of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz with director of the Polish History Museum Robert Kostro unveil Karski’s Bench: photo – PAP/Pawel Supernak

“I am convinced that unveiling Karski’s bench today will serve to preserve the memory of the Polish courier,” president of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz -Waltz said at the ceremony by the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Israeli ambassador to Poland Zvi Rav-Ner also attended the ceremony.

Jan Karski was the nom de guerre of Jan Kozielewski, who became a courier for the Polish underground after the Nazi’s invaded Poland in 1939.

As the Nazis began to implement their ‘final solution’ in Poland, the Polish Home Army gave Karski the task of clandestinely travelling to the West to inform about the dire situation in the country, including the extermination of Jews.

In November 1942, Karski reached London and delivered the report to the Polish government-in-exile, and set out to inform Winston Churchill, other politicians and journalists of the horrors that were occurring in Poland.

After the war Karski settled in the United States and wrote his book on the Polish Underground, Story of a Secret State, with a long chapter on the Jewish Holocaust by Nazis in Poland.

“Our emissary dramatically appealed for help for Jews murdered by the Nazis in the ghettos and camps. Unfortunately, many of those who listened to him simply do not believe the information about the Holocaust of the Jews,” Gronkiewicz-Waltz said at the unveiling ceremony.

The bench in Warsaw is the third in Poland and the sixth worldwide to commemorate the work done by Jan Karski during WW II.

The ceremony took place the day before the start of a two-day visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Poland. (pg)

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