Jan Karski, the Pole who told FDR about the Shoah


Jan Karski, the Pole who told FDR to his face about the Holocaust, and still wondered if he'd done enough.

A year before its publication in 1944, Karski had presented the essential message of his book in private audiences with British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as with Western opinion leaders and prominent members of the Jewish community. Yet neither the book nor these private briefings succeeded either in halting the slaughter of the Jews or in rescuing the freedom (and postwar territorial integrity) of Poland. As a result, the war’s end left Karski with an all but unbearable sense of frustration, which he dealt with by vowing never to talk further of what he had witnessed of the Holocaust or of his own wartime struggle in defense of Poland.