The World Knew: Jan Karski’s Mission For Humanity

The exhibit presents the story of Jan Karski and the events that led to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s assertion that “Thanks to him, more than one generation continues to believe in humanity.” During World War II, as a courier of the Polish Underground State and emissary of the Polish government-in-exile, Jan Karski traveled undercover to the West to transmit secret material on life in occupied Poland. To bear witness, the Underground smuggled Karski inside the Nazis’ vast system of industrialized slaughter. He was one of the first people to inform the world about the German Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews. Karski did not manage to stop Holocaust, but the history of his mission remains relevant to this day, as it proves that one can refuse to be indifferent when confronted with evil.

The exhibition was created by the Polish History Museum in partnership with the Jan Karski Educational Foundation and the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Additional funding was provided by the National Endowment for Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition publication do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, the UW Libraries, and UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.