The extraordinary memoir of a Polish resistance fighter who gave the first eyewitness report on the Holocaust to the Allies is to be published for the first time in Britain, and is to be made into a film by the producer of The King’s Speech.The Story of a Secret State, by Jan Karski, was published in 1944 in America. Karski, a devout Catholic, risked his life with the Polish underground and was involved in high-level secret missions to the Polish government-in-exile in London. A prisoner of the Russians and Nazis, and brutally tortured by the SS, he escaped from Poland and in 1943 was sent to London with a hidden microfilm revealing conditions under the Nazis and in particular the relentless persecution of Europe’s Jews by the Third Reich.As a member of the resistance and to learn the fate of Polish Jews, Karski was smuggled by Jewish underground leaders into the Warsaw ghetto and infiltrated the Belzec death camp dressed as an Estonian guard. He travelled across occupied Europe to England, and eventually to America. Karski personally reported to the Polish prime minister in London, General Sikorski, Britain’s foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, the US president, Franklin Roosevelt, and many other prominent figures. His description of the systematic annihilation of Jews was met with incredulity.The drama of Karski’s story has inspired the producer of The King’s Speech, Iain Canning, to immortalise his role in another historic epic. Canning is believed to have just acquired the rights to the memoir from Penguin, who will publish the book next month. Film insiders said that Ralph Fiennes, who was Oscar-nominated for Schindler’s List, was a likely contender for Karski.The Story of a Secret State sold 400,000 copies in three months in the United States while the war still raged. In the postwar period, having been traumatised by memories he described as “my permanent possessions”, Karski preferred silence, rather than to relive the horrors. But he revised his book before his death in 2000, expanding it with material he could not reveal during the war.