What the Jan Karski Gaffe Really Means

In the 1976 presidential debates, President Ford stated, "Poland is no longer under Communist domination."  Americans liked Gerald Ford, but this comment about Poland saddled him forever with the image of a clueless ignoramus.  Ford's "Polish Moment" may well have cost him a close presidential election. Barack Obama himself had a "Polish Moment" when, during a ceremony to honor the late Jan Karski, he spoke of "Polish death camps."  Karski was an extraordinary man.  His book, The Story of a Secret State, is harrowing, inspiring, horrifying, and noble.  Karski, writing in the middle of the Second World War, tells how an entire underground government was created in Nazi-occupied Poland and how, under the grimmest situation possible, the Polish people not only resisted the Nazis, but created an elaborate organization which made the French Resistance look pathetically lame. Karski, a Polish Catholic, also sought out Polish Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto before the 1943...(Read Full Article)

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