Catalogue


Story of a secret state : my report to the world /
Jan Karski ; foreword by Madeleine Albright.
imprint
Washington, DC : Georgetown University Press, c2013.
description
xxi, 414 p. : ill., map.
ISBN
1589019830 (Cloth), 9781589019836 (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Washington, DC : Georgetown University Press, c2013.
isbn
1589019830 (Cloth)
9781589019836 (Cloth)
contents note
Foreword / by Madeleine Albright -- Biographical essay of Jan Karski / by Timothy Snyder -- Defeat -- Prisoner in Russia -- Exchange and escape -- Devastated Poland -- The beginning -- Transformation -- Initiation -- Borecki -- Contact between cells -- Mission to France -- The underground state -- Caught by the Gestapo -- Torture -- The SS hospital -- Rescue -- The "gardener" -- Propaganda from the country -- Execution of a traitor -- The four branches of the underground -- The Laskowa apartment -- Assignment in Lublin -- Retribution -- The secret press -- My "conspiratorial apparatus" -- The liaison women -- Marriage per procuram -- School / Underground -- Parliament in Poland -- The ghetto -- "To die in agony . . ." -- Unter den Linden revisited -- Journey through France and Spain -- My report to the world.
general note
Map on end-papers.
Originally published: 1944.
catalogue key
8785893
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter

"In the words of James Russell Lowell's rousing hymn: 'Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.' Perhaps more than most of us, Jan Karski faced such a choice in the starkest of possible terms, and made his decision as courageously as one could.... Jan Karski was a patriot and a truth teller; may his words always be read and his legacy never forgotten." -- from the Foreword by Madeleine Albright

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-01-07:
First published to instant acclaim in 1944, Karski's memoir-supplemented here with photos, facsimiles, and a foreword by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright-tells of the four years (1939-1943) he served as the leading liaison officer in the Polish Underground during Nazi occupation. Only 25 in 1939, Karski recounts his work linking various aspects of the underground's extensive administrative, political, and economic apparatuses, as well his capture and subsequent torture at the hands of the Gestapo (he likens being beaten by a rubber stick to "the sensation produced when a dentist's drill strikes a nerve, but infinitely multiplied and spread over the entire nervous system"). After his capture, Karski was twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto, where he was horrified to discover "hunger, misery, the atrocious stench of decomposing bodies, [and] the pitiful moans of dying children." He also briefly entered the Chelmno death camps, where he witnessed Jews being murdered in cattle cars through asphyxiation and burning by quicklime. Sent in 1942-1943 to London and Washington, D.C., where he met with British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and FDR, respectively, Karski delivered the first shocking eyewitness reports of the Holocaust to the Western world. Briskly paced, this is a gripping and immediate account of Nazi brutality from a brave leader of the resistance. Karski, who died in 2000, was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. B&w photos & illus. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A decade before Professor Karski began his remarkable tenure at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, he was already teaching by the power of example -- with lessons of heroism, resilience, and uncompromising leadership. All freedom-seeking people around the world should know Karski's story." -- President Bill Clinton
"Jan Karski is well known as the 'courier from Poland who exposed the Holocaust,' but his work in the service of the underground Polish state, which flourished under the noses of the Nazis, equally deserves to find the limelight. Unlike its counterparts in other countries, The Polish Resistance Movement did not confine itself to military activities; it created a huge network of clandestine organizations, which functioned in the fields of culture, education, propaganda, justice and economics, and which undermined the social control of the German forces of occupation. Karski's book on this subject is a classic, providing an unmatched account of the wartime realities in a country that lay at the epicenter of the conflict." -- Norman Davies , St. Antony's College, Oxford, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
"Briskly paced, this is a gripping and immediate account of Nazi brutality from a brave leader of the resistance. (Starred Review)" -- Publishers Weekly , 01/07/2013
"Jan Karski's brave account of the Nazi's horrific crimes and one man's heroic resistance strikes our collective conscience as strongly today as when he first published it over six decades ago. Today, millions around the world continue to thank and honor him for exposing the evil that was perpetuated throughout concentration camps. When President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Jan Karski the Medal of Freedom he recognized that Karski's story is one of courage as much as compassion. This book is a stirring reminder that our world depends on both." -- Rahm Emanuel , Mayor, City of Chicago
"The notion that one person can make a difference is personified by Jan Karski, who I was privileged to have as my professor -- and guiding light -- at Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Karski's Story of a Secret State offers a glimpse into a time and place ruled by Nazi terror: Poland in the early 1940s. Karski risked his life to bear witness to Nazi atrocities against Jews, Catholics, and Polish dissidents. In disguise, he snuck into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi transfer camp, then reported his terrifying observations directly to British leaders and President Franklin Roosevelt, among the first reports of the holocaust to the civilized world. Georgetown's edition of Story of a Secret State gives a new generation of readers the portrait of a genuine hero who truly made a difference." -- Pat Quinn , Governor of Illinois; Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1971
"Within Jan Karski's stirring account of selfless heroism to expose the Holocaust, lie two compelling messages: It is possible for one man to bring to the world's attention unimaginable political evil. The harder and still relevant question raised by Karski's story is: How does one get the civilized world to respond?" -- Daniel Henninger , Wall Street Journal
"The Anti-Defamation League is proud to have named its Jan Karski Courage to Care award for an extraordinary man, who put conscience to action -- and his own life at risk -- to reveal the Holocaust to West. Read his story and be inspired by Karski's will, his spirit, and his commitment to humanity." -- Abraham H. Foxman , National Director, Anti-Defamation League
"The Anti-Defamation League is proud to have named its Jan Karski Courage to Care award for an extraordinary man, who put conscience to action -- and his own life at risk -- to reveal the Holocaust to the West. Read his story and be inspired by Karski's will, his spirit, and his commitment to humanity." -- Abraham H. Foxman , National Director, Anti-Defamation League
"Stands in the absolute first rank of books about the resistance in World War II. If you wish to read about a man more courageous and honourable than Jan Karski, I would have no idea who to recommend." -- Alan Furst , author of The Polish Officer , reviewing a previous edition or volume
"A disturbing, unique, invaluable record of Poland's suffering and heroism during World War II. (Starred Review)" -- Kirkus Reviews , 01/15/2013
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, January 2013
Booklist, March 2013
Kirkus Reviews, April 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Jan Karski's Story of a Secret State stands as one of the most poignant and inspiring memoirs of World War II and the Holocaust. With elements of a spy thriller, documenting his experiences in the Polish Underground, and as one of the first accounts of the systematic slaughter of the Jews by the German Nazis, this volume is a remarkable testimony of one man's courage and a nation's struggle for resistance against overwhelming oppression. Karski was a brilliant young diplomat when war broke out in 1939 with Hitler's invasion of Poland. Taken prisoner by the Soviet Red Army, which had simultaneously invaded from the East, Karski narrowly escaped the subsequent Katyn Forest Massacre. He became a member of the Polish Underground, the most significant resistance movement in occupied Europe, acting as a liaison and courier between the Underground and the Polish government-in-exile. He was twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto, and entered the Nazi's Izbica transit camp disguised as a guard, witnessing first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust. Karski's courage and testimony, conveyed in a breathtaking manner in Story of a Secret State , offer the narrative of one of the world's greatest eyewitnesses and an inspiration for all of humanity, emboldening each of us to rise to the challenge of standing up against evil and for human rights. This definitive edition -- which includes a foreword by Madeleine Albright, a biographical essay by Yale historian Timothy Snyder, an afterword by Zbigniew Brzezinski, previously unpublished photos, notes, further reading, and a glossary -- is an apt legacy for this hero of conscience during the most fraught and fragile moment in modern history.
Main Description
Jan Karski's Story of a Secret State stands as one of the most poignant and inspiring memoirs of World War II and the Holocaust. With elements of a spy thriller, documenting his experiences in the Polish Underground, and as one of the first accounts of the systematic slaughter of the Jews by the German Nazis, this volume is a remarkable testimony of one man's courage and a nation's struggle for resistance against overwhelming oppression. Karski was a brilliant young student, training to be a diplomat, when war broke out in 1939 with Hitler's invasion of Poland. Taken prisoner by the Soviet Red Army, which had simultaneously invaded from the East, Karski narrowly escaped the subsequent Katyn Forest Massacre. He became a member of the Polish Underground, the most significant resistance movement in occupied Europe, acting as a liaison and courier between the Underground and the Polish government-in-exile. He was twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto, and entered the Nazi's Izbica transit camp disguised as a guard, witnessing first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust. Karski's courage and testimony, conveyed in a breathtaking manner in Story of a Secret State , offer the narrative of one of the world's greatest eyewitnesses and an inspiration for all of humanity, emboldening each of us to rise to the challenge of standing up against evil and for human rights. This definitive edition'which includes a foreword by Madeleine Albright, a biographical essay by Yale historian Timothy Snyder, an afterword by Zbigniew Brzezinski, previously unpublished photos, notes, further reading, and a glossary'is an apt legacy for this hero of conscience during the most fraught and fragile moment in modern history.
Table of Contents
Note on the Textp. xi
Publisher's Notep. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Forewordp. xvii
Biographical Essay of Jan Karskip. xxv
Defeatp. 1
Prisoner in Russiap. 15
Exchange and Escapep. 28
Devastated Polandp. 45
The Beginningp. 54
Transformationp. 66
Initiationp. 73
Boreckip. 79
Contact between Cellsp. 89
Mission to Francep. 101
The Underground Statep. 117
Caught by the Gestapop. 127
Torturep. 136
The SS Hospitalp. 156
Rescuep. 168
The "Gardener"p. 180
Propaganda from the Countryp. 189
Execution of a Traitorp. 207
The Four Branches of the Undergroundp. 218
The Laskowa Apartmentp. 225
Assignment in Lublinp. 232
Retributionp. 240
The Secret Pressp. 250
My "Conspiratorial Apparatus"p. 260
The Liaison Womenp. 265
Marriage per Procuramp. 272
School-Undergroundp. 277
Parliament in Polandp. 293
The Ghettop. 302
"To Die in Agony…"p. 320
Unter den Linden Revisitedp. 335
Journey through France and Spainp. 340
My Report to the Worldp. 358
Notesp. 367
Glossaryp. 385
Further Readingp. 397
Afterwordp. 401
Indexp. 403
Illustrations follow pagep. 188
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem