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 …

The Beloved Bard of Solidarity | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Beloved Bard of Solidarity

Jacek Kaczmarski Wrote the Soundtrack for Poland's Cold War-Era Resistance Movement

A microphone on a stand; a man with a guitar. The waiting audience is restless, shifting in seats as he tunes his instrument. He speaks one word—Kołysanka, lullaby in Polish. The …

The Damning Silence of Polish Americans | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Damning Silence of Polish Americans

My People Protested Tyranny in the 1980s. Why Didn’t They Step Up in 2020?

I march in the anti-police brutality protests in New York following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

These aren’t my first protests—far from it. As the child of Polish …

HOTEL WARSAW

In a room of gold, I am
smoking.

The parade of beautiful
boys and women

have long since gone.
Along with the letters

and packets
of photographs.

Yesterday
G. read my …

Were California and Poland Separated at Birth?

The Golden State’s Long-Lost Twin Is Much Farther East Than Texas or New York

California, I’d like to introduce you to the sister you never knew you had.

Her name is Poland.

No joke.

I see by the look on your face, California, that you are …

Our Dream Cup

For Three Weeks, Poland is the Center of Europe

We’re soccer crazy here in Wroclaw, where our city government has done nothing but “get ready for the Euro Cup” for years. Even the colleges let out a month early …