Why a Polish Resistance Fighter’s ‘Failure’ to Stop the Holocaust Resonates Today

Jan Karski, and a New Play About His Life, Remind Us of the Importance of Truth, Valor, and Memory

A man leaps into the air. The theater audience gasps, then relaxes as he safely lands. Jan Karski—scholar, diplomat, World War II Polish Resistance fighter, and the messenger who brought news of the then-secret Holocaust to the world when there was still time to stop it—has just escaped from Gestapo custody into the literal arms of Polish Resistance fighters, who will nurse him back to health.

The actor playing Karski, David Strathairn, tells the audience in Karski’s melodious Eastern European accent that after the escape, the Gestapo rounded up 100 Poles …

Going Back to Blair Mountain | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Going Back to Blair Mountain

The Largest Armed Labor Uprising in American History Is Finally Getting the Remembrance It Deserves

For most people, the memory of the largest armed labor uprising in American history is unknown, buried beneath the dirt of West Virginia’s Blair Mountain alongside bullet casings and relics …

How to Treat the ‘Wounds to the Soul’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How to Treat the ‘Wounds to the Soul’

A Therapist Assembles an Emotional Toolbox to Help Us Grapple With Collective Trauma

he subterranean strata of U.S. wrongdoing run deep—the genocide of Native Americans, the long history of slavery and racism, the effects of xenophobia, the illegal wars of aggression around the …

Ukraine in My Blood and on My Mind

A Foreign Correspondent’s Family Served Russian Imperialism, and Then Was Destroyed By It

This is the second of two essays exploring the intertwined histories of Russia and Ukraine, told through one family’s history. Read the first essay …

Could a Truth Commission Unite America? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Could a Truth Commission Unite America?

How Fractured Nations and Communities Reckon with History and Move Toward Repair

Can democracy stand the test of time? Many factors have triggered the deep schism in American politics today. But a root cause of our faltering democracy may be our failure …

Looking Deportation in the Face

The Fence Between Tijuana and San Diego Reminded Childhood Arrivals of Their Exile—Until They Used It to Share Their Stories



The archive, it keeps growing. Another story. This time, Jorge. Yesterday it was Angel, the day before that, Ruben, Andy, Hector, Alex.

I first met Jorge in June 2017, at …