December 5, 2015
1.Д-р Анна Процик
Віце-Президент і Директор Секції Історичних
Суспільних і Правничих наук НТШ-А
2.Професор Майкл Шпорер про Яна Карського
University of Maryland
Президент Товариства Яна Карського і біограф
4.Перегляд уривків фільму
«Моя місія” (1996)
Ян Карський професора політології Джоржтавнського університету, “Праведника миру” (1982), кавалера ордену Польщі “Білий орел” та ордену США “Медаль свободи”, номінанта на Нобелівську премію миру (1998)
Цього року Польща вшановує пам’ять Яна Карського (справжнє прізвище – Козелевський), відомого широкому загалу у якості одного з найвідоміших героїв Руху Опору, посла підпільної польської держави, урядовий осередок якої був сконцентрований під час Другої світової війни у Лондоні.
Будучи свідком доби найвищого варварства та знищення мільйонів людей, Карський запровадив цілком нову моральну мірку для тих, хто жив в часі Другої світової війни. Він засвідчив перед світом західних союзників про один з найбільших злочинів проти людства, а саме: про цілеспрямоване знищення єврейського народу нацистами.
|Анна Процик, Вальдемар П’ясецький і Майкл Шпорер|
“Ян Карський * Jan Karski”
|Майкл Шпорер||Вальдемар П’ясецький|
|Вальдемар П’ясецький, Анна Процик, і Майкл Шпорер|
Why are Karski’s values looking forward to the emerging global consensus on human rights? In giving basically stateless Jews a voice, Karski as a witness to the Final Solution and a representative of an Allied government made inaction on the Jewish question impossible— or at the very least a matter of conscience. While it is often said that his mission was in vein—and Karski believed it even after British historian Martin Gilbert showed him that three weeks after receiving of his report, the Allied powers US, Britain and Russia took the unprecedented step of jointly condemned Nazi Germany’s implementation of the Final Solution. For Karski, the condemnation was probably not have been enough, not what the desperate Jewish leaders asked for on the eve of the Ghetto Uprising. However, it cannot be said his mission had no impact.
Karski’s voicing the appeal of the powerless facing death he knew he could not stop added to the gravity of the situation. The hopes of what the Allied leaders could do were probably greater than they could or were willing to deliver. They were far less powerful than they had imagined themselves weighing risks. This commonly happens to people, especially in desperate or impossible situations. It wasn’t only a question that stopping the extermination of the Jews did not fit into the war plans, even though FDR, according to Karski’s account of their meeting, may have thought that way. Finishing the war as quickly as possible and punishing the guilty also addressed Jewish concerns; he promised punitive action but did not see the urgency.
For Karski it was a question of lives recorded in his mind “here and now.” If lives didn’t figure in the calculation what did? His mission was driven by what he had witnessed. If anything, the uniqueness of the Holocaust was that eliminating Jews became a priority for the Nazis, once inconceivable madness accepted as the new normal. For some at least it became more urgent than winning the war, actually intensifying with German withdrawal from occupied territories. It was an achievement, perhaps shielding failure and private inadequacies—difficult to explain.
Reality had to fit the myth of Aryan superiority over the lesser races. We often use myth as a kind of ego defense shield against admitting deeply-felt failure, or to augment a weakened identity. Putin’s war in Ukraine is an example of that kind of shielding in our time; it is as much Russia struggling with itself, its myths and national identity, as with Ukraine. What is Russia without its roots in Kiev and Novgorod Rus?
In the role as the official witness reporting on the Holocaust, perhaps unintentionally, Karski became the voice of the underrepresented, initially European Jews during WWII, but really of any “invisible” peoples or ethnic groups. In retrospect, we can extend such reasoning to the captive nations of Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, the Roma, the Kurds, the Yazidi, and the Crimean Tatars among many others. FDR’s Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who arranged Karski’s meeting with the president after reading his report, incorporated emissary’s observations about the plight of stateless persons in his draft of the UN Charter that he was drafting in March 1943. It led inevitably to the formation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Much literature about mass victimization is understandably a lament, which leads
to romanticizing causes of genocidal acts, or to disregarding them entirely. Perhaps this is why an important point is missed. Karski’s mission demonstrates that the Jews weren’t wholly abandoned—and not only by individuals like Karski who were courageous enough to cross to their side of the wire. As Karski explained to Claude Lanzmann, in the fragment left out of Shoah that later became The Karski Report, a separate film, he did not act individually. Karski was on official witness representing a state, acted on orders of its leaders and was advised by its ambassadors. It was an occupied state to be sure; but its armies and institutional structures legitimized it. That state depended on Allied powers, but it was the fourth largest Allied fighting force.
Seen in this wider context, Karski’s mission puts Yalta agreement in a very different light. For while the report was an urgent plea to take immediate action to stop the wanton killing of Jews, it also included occupied Poland. As it turned out, it also applied to the hopeless situation in which Karski’s homeland found itself after WWII in spite of Allied promises. This point of Karski’s legacy is worth emphasizing because it gets lost in the grand Holocaust narrative: Countries that did not fit in the global agenda of great powers could suffer similar fate to the Jews.
It is not as if the Allies didn’t know, or weren’t warned about, the consequences of the abandonment of countries like Poland—or the other captive nations—to the Soviets. This tough lesson, which Karski communicated, has profound implications for Ukraine as a whole. Expediency triumphed at Yalta after the war was over, not promises, or the country’s major contribution to the Allied victory, and for nearly half a century Poland lived with the vestiges of the war.
This is also the Karski lesson that transcends its time: Countries like Ukraine today can potentially be forced from outside to be less independent than they aspire to become, endure the traumas of conflict and humiliation, and even be broken up, essentially following the Crimea example. The promises and binding agreements recede into the past that few remember. Who today even knows of the poll, which included the Russian majority, taken by Crimean TV on the eve of the intervention that did not favor its separation from Ukraine? Sergei Aksyonov a.k.a. Goblin, a small-time hustler with mafia connections, is still the Prime Minister even though support for him was miniscule prior to the annexation/
Few remember the victims, and lives lost in conflicts, however horrendous up close, become local, reduced, even petty, when they are distant from us.
Michael Szporer is a Member of Jan Karski Society, Professor of Communications at University of Maryland University College, and Director Emeritus of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Jan Karski na Manhattanie. Promocja biografii bohatera.
Amerykanski portal polakow
Jan Karski na Manhattanie. Promocja biografii bohatera.