History

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Two months before Jan Karski's death, the first scholarship in Jan Karskiís name was awarded. The recipient was a student at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. The next recipients were teachers from Jedwabne, Poland. Each of these recipients were awarded $5,000.

In 2002, a statue of Jan Karski, financed by the directors of The Jan Karski Institute for Tolerance and Dialogue, was unveiled by the former prime minister of Poland, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, at Georgetown University.

Shortly afterward, The Jan Karski Award for Valor and Compassion was created to commemorate the heritage of this great man. A former student of Professor Karski, Dr. Kenneth Adelman, first proposed this idea. Dr. Adelman was joined by Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick who chaired the Jan Karski Award Committee while Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski chaired the Honorary Committee.

Four winners were selected for these awards. They included: Susan Pullock who was personally responsible for bringing thousands of Ethiopian Jews to safety, Janine Ochojska who was known for providing relief to victims of wars and natural disasters, Irena Sandler, a heroine of the Warsaw ghetto who brought more than 2,500 Jewish children to safety during World War II, and the well-known Cuban dissident, Mr. Dagoberto Valdez, honored for his peaceful efforts to bring about political change in Cuba. Each of the recipients was awarded $10,000 at a special award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Finally in 2004, The Jan Karski Institute for Tolerance and Dialogue was established. In 2010, The Jan Karski Institute was also establish in Poland with our support.

This legacy has continued and in 2012, three students graduated (all of whom had been awarded the Jan Karski Scholarship). These graduates were: Katarzyna Fraczek, Magda Lechowska, and Maciej Fraczek, after all having attended Felician College in Rutherford, New Jersey.

The first recipient of the Jan Karski award since the establishment of the Jan Karski Institute for Tolerance and Dialogue was the former President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Through our efforts, two schools in Poland have been named after Jan Karski, one in Kielce and the other in the Jan Karskiís home city: Lodz. They both have established special tolerance programs and sponsor an annual "Jan Karski Day."

The institute has since developed and supports a number of programs and activities. Among these were exhibits at Georgetown University in 2013 during the publication of the book, Story of a Secret State.

All of these programs and awards couldnít be achieved without Kaya Mirecka Ploss, Chair of the Jan Karski Award, the first Executive Director of the Jan Karski Institute, a friend, and the executor of the Will and Testament of Jan Karski.




Jan Karski in 1944