A Tree Grows in Lublin

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

A portrait of Jan Karski at Georgetown University. Photo by Carol Harrison, copyright and courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A portrait of Jan Karski at Georgetown University. Photo by Carol Harrison, copyright and courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Observation
Sept. 9 2014
About the author

Joshua Muravchik is the author most recently of Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism (Encounter).

On a mild, breezy day in Lublin this summer, the chief rabbi of Poland and the former chairman of the Polish conference of bishops presided at a tree-planting ceremony on the grounds of a primary school. The school is situated near the tombstone-shaped monument to the estimated 34,000 Jews of the Lublin ghetto who were slaughtered at Belzec in 1942. Inspired by the way Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum honors its “righteous among the nations,” this particular ceremony paid tribute to a man already honored at Yad Vashem and elsewhere in Israel. His name was Jan Kozielewski, but he was known as Jan Karski.

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More about: Eastern Europe, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Holocaust, Jewish history, Righteous Among the Nations