07 January 2014

Jan Karski. Photobiography by Maciej Sadowski

Category: New publications, XXw, Albums and photos, Holocaust, News, Grants, fellowships, Reviews

The life story told in pictures of the Polish Underground State emissary who detailed for Western leaders his nation’s organized resistance and brought them early eyewitness evidence of German atrocities against Jews in Poland – acclaimed in our day as the man “who tried to stop the Holocaust.” 

The amazing story of Jan Karski, ranked by Newsweek among the 100 most-distinguished figures of the 20th century, was returned to the world's attention first in 1985 by the provocative documentary Shoah by Claude Lanzmann, then again two decades later in the novel The Messenger by Yannick Haenel, which became a best-seller in France where it received top literary awards in 2009.

Karski was a courier for the Polish Underground State during the Second World War – among the most important, completing a dangerous mission to the free world that holds an important message in our day. After a request from Jewish underground leaders in 1942, he entered the Warsaw ghetto twice then the transit camp in Izbica Lubelska where the Germans were sending Jews to the Bełżec and Sobibór death camps. Those terrifying experiences changed Karski's life, and horrifying memories from those days always stayed with him. He reported the tragic fate of Jews in the Holocaust, delivering their leaders' pleas for help to the most important representatives of Allied forces – among them U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and representatives of political and social circles in the U.K. and the U.S. Though his efforts didn’t bring success – the fate of European Jews continued on its infamous course – his efforts to overcome ignorance and indifference to their suffering sets an uncompromising example today. 

The new book by Maciej Sadowski utilizes the best characteristics of artistic and biographic literature, composed as a masterful biographical tale. The author uses unique iconographic material – photos, documents, diplomas, honors and decorations that are juxtaposed with excerpts from Karski’s books, writings, public speeches and film interviews. The volume complements archival photos with the main biographical narration to refer to key places and events and to persons who played decisive roles in Karski’s life. The author closes his story about Karski with two chronologies: iconographic portraits of his subject and a detailed sequence of life facts and incidents. The introduction to the book is by the former foreign minister of Poland, Adam Daniel Rotfeld, and the concluding essay, "Jan Karski. Romantic Realist," is by renowned Polish and U.S. journalist Maciej Wierzyński.

Maciej Sadowski (born 1948) – graphic designer and artist, philosopher and the creator of a new form of biography album that he terms the Photobiography. Sadowski collaborates with major Polish publishers as a designer and author. His cycle of albums dedicated to great figures of recent Polish history, culture and science includes Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Photobiography (2011), Janusz Korczak. Photobiography (2012), Ryszard Kapuściński. Photobiography (2013) and Jan Karski. Photobiography (2014).



Title: Jan Karski. Photobiography

Author: Maciej Sadowski

Publisher: Veda 

First edition, 196 pages, 89 zł, format 225x286 mm, linen hardcover, dust jacket, book marker

ISBN 978-83-64109-08-9







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