The “Karski Report” – Controversies and Interpretations Cover Image
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„Raport Karskiego” – kontrowersje i interpretacje
The “Karski Report” – Controversies and Interpretations

Author(s): Wojtek Rappak
Subject(s): History
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów & IFiS PAN
Keywords: Karski; Karski report; Stephen Wise; 1942 exchangees to Palestine; New York Times from 25 November 1942; Ignacy Schwarzbart; Martin Gilbert; David Engel

Summary/Abstract: Much has been said and written about Jan Karski, especially in 2014, his centennial year. The Karski story tells us about a hero of the Polish wartime resistance who risked his life to bring the terrible news about the Holocaust to Western leaders who remained indifferent. An essential part of the Karski story is an account of the ‘report’ which he brought to the West, the ‘Karski report’. However, when we examine archival evidence and follow a chain of events in November 1942, we see that the report is a two-page summary in English which the Polish Government issued on November 24 when it made an official announcement about the Warsaw ghetto deportations. Over the years, historians began to refer to this as the ‘Karski report’, but on the day it was issued, Karski had not yet arrived in London. The materials which Karski took with him from Warsaw were passed to a Polish agent in Paris on October 4th who then placed them on a separate route to London where we think they arrived just before November 14th. We know which documents the ‘Karski report’ was based on so if these were among the materials which arrived by November 14th and if that was the ‘post’ which Karski delivered to Paris, then it would be correct to say that these documents were carried through occupied Europe by Karski. But there is no reliable list of the contents of this ‘post’ and since there were a number of couriers carrying materials which were duplicated in order to increase their chances of reaching London, it is possible that the documents on which the ‘Karski report’ was based were brought to London by a courier other than Karski.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 96-130
  • Page Count: 35
  • Language: Polish