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Washignton - Obama Announces Holocaust Rescuer As A Recipient Of The Presidential Medal Of Freedom

Published on: April 23, 2012 11:22 AM
By: Press Release
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President Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel stop for a moment of silence in the Hall of Remembrance as they toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Monday, April 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Washington - Earlier today at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Barack Obama announced he will award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a former officer in the Polish Underground during World War II who was among the first to provide eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust to the world.  The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

President Obama said, “We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen—because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts; because so many others stood silent.  But let us also tell our children about the Righteous Among the Nations.  Among them was Jan Karski—a young Polish Catholic—who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself.  Jan Karski passed away more than a decade ago.  But today, I’m proud to announce that this spring I will honor him with America’s highest civilian honor—the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

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Karski served as an officer in the Polish Underground during World War II and carried among the first eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust to the world.  He worked as a courier, entering the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi Izbica transit camp, where he saw first-hand the atrocities occurring under Nazi occupation.  Karski later traveled to London to meet with the Polish government-in-exile and with British government officials.  He subsequently traveled to the United States and met with President Roosevelt.  Karski published Story of a Secret State, earned a Ph.D at Georgetown University, and became a professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.  Born in 1914, Karski became a U.S. citizen in 1954 and died in 2000.

Wanda Urbanska, Director of the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign, was notified recently of the President’s decision to award Karki with the Nation’s highest civilian honor.  The remainder of the honorees selected by the President will be announced over the coming weeks and the awards will be presented at a White House ceremony later this spring.

For more information about Dr. Karski or about the Campaign, consult the jankarski.net  website.



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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »

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 Apr 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM anonymous Says:

Mr. Karski entered the Warsaw Ghetto smuggled out Jews to safety. Eventually the Warsaw Jews were shipped to Treblinka

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 Apr 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM anonymous Says:

I million Jewish children were shot, gassed, clubbed to death during WWII and recently in the "Holy Land" a bearded , sidelock wearing Jew spat on an 8 year old little girl , reason prizus , she was wearing sandalim. I wish I could erase my vision during the Sperre in Lodz when for one week the Reichsautobahn trailers arrived empty in the morning in Lodz and in the afternoon packed with men, women and children left Baluta Rynek for Treblinka and guarded by Einsatzgruppen SS. Now they complain on this website about sirens and silence in Israel tha it is bitul Torah, shame on all of those but denouncing Israel in a German weekly magazine and asking for more money from the German government is al pi torah, degenerates

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