A Belittling of the Pole Jan Karski’s Herculean Efforts to Warn the World About the Unfolding German-Made Holocaust.

  • The Western Allies and the Holocaust JAN KARSKI’S MISSION TO THE WEST, 1942-1944  by David Engel  –  Published 1990 by Holocaust and Genocide Studies 5(4)363-380. Edition Language: English.


A Belittling of the Pole Jan Karski’s Herculean Efforts to Warn the World About the Unfolding German-Made Holocaust. Ingratitude or What? Silence on Jewish Leaders’ Ignoring of Karski’s Warnings

This article comes across as an attempt to pass the buck: To shift the blame away from the American Jewish leaders that refused to heed Jan Karski’s warnings–by instead trying to impugn the motives behind Jan Karski’s mission. In fact, Engel is conspicuously silent about the American Jewish leaders’ disregard of evidence for the fact of the unfolding Holocaust.


David Engel treats his reader to these rather patronizing words:

“In reality, however, Karski’s own contemporary confidential reports on his activities reveal that Jewish matters occupied a relatively small portion of his attention, both in Britain and in the United States.” (p. 364).


But wait. It gets even better. Engel continues,

“Moreover, they indicate that whatever consideration Karski did devote to the murder of the Jews by the Nazis was given primarily as a result of his own initiative or of that of individuals outside official Polish circles; the Polish Government-in-Exile, on the other hand, does not appear to have been interested in employing its courier as the striker of a tocsin for the fate of its mortally threatened Jewish citizens.” (p. 364).

So Karski evidently had endangered himself by wandering into a Nazi camp, to see firsthand what was going on, just for the heck of it.


“The peripheral nature of Karski’s official obligations regarding the Jewish situation was revealed also in his discussions with British public figures. In a five page report on these meetings submitted to the Government-in-Exile he mentioned Jews only in passing under the list of subjects discussed, stressing to a far greater extent what he had told his listeners about German terror against Poles and about the nature of Polish resistance to the Nazi occupation.” (p. 366).

Oh dear! So other people were suffering, and not only the Jews.


“Schwarzbart quoted Karski as saying that he had ‚to agree that there is a substantial difference between the sufferings of the Poles and the sufferings of the Jews: one can fittingly speak about a biological liquidation of the Polish intelligentsia, whereas you have to speak in relation to Jews about the liquidation of the whole people” (p. 366).

And so we have the standard Holocaust supremacist meme, only this time imposed retroactively on Karski. Just because the Jews were, as it were, being targeted for total annihilation while Poles (at this stage of the German occupation, that is) were not, this is supposed to make Jewish suffering special and qualitatively different from Polish suffering.

[If we are to divide the dead and have a victimhood Olympics, why not accord Poles the top spot because, whereas most Jews who died did so quickly from German gas or bullets, most Poles who died did so in slow, agonizing fashion in German prisons and concentration camps?]



“What Karski did not point out is that, according to the preponderance of contemporary evidence and postwar testimonies, generally the German occupiers had difficulty telling Jews from Poles and had to depend upon Polish informants to identify Jews by their ‚Semitic features.’” (p. 379).

Engel forgets that, owing to centuries of self-imposed apartheid, most Polish Jews easily gave themselves away by their obvious physiognomy and their weak Polish-language skills. As for Aryan-appearing Jews, the Jewish informers were even better than the Polish ones in exposing them to the Germans.


Many Poles feel that Jews are ungrateful for Polish rescue efforts during the Nazi German made Holocaust. This article, published by the prestigious YAD VASHEM, graphically corroborates such opinions.


Jan Peczkis

Published with the author’s permission.


– More reviews by Jan Peczkis on PCO  ….. .


  • Title image: JAN KARSKI, the late Georgetown profesor for 40 years, one of the first to provide eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust posthumously honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Photo source: georgetown.edu / selected by wg.pco

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