At the core exhibition of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which celebrated its official inauguration two weeks ago, there is a special corner devoted to Jan Karski, the officer of the Polish underground who was one of the first to alert the Western allies of the atrocities being committed by the Nazis in occupied Poland.
Karski also appears in the form of a lifelike statue outside the building, equipped with a sound device so that visitors can listen to his experiences before and during the Holocaust.
Yet, not one of Karski’s relatives was invited to the inauguration of the museum on October 28, Karski’s niece, Dr. Wieslawa Kozielewska-Trzaska has told the Forverts via email. “Nobody from the museum ever contacted me,” she wrote.
Kozielewski was Karski’s birth name befiore taking on his nom de guerre during World War II.
Kozielewska-Trzaska, an 80-year old physician in Gdansk, is the daughter of Karski’s brother as well as his goddaughter. Since Karski’s death in 2000 at the age of 86, she is Karski’s closest living relative and a spokesperson for the family. Karski’s wife, Pola, had passed away eight years before him and they had no children.
This isn’t the first time that Karski’s family wasn’t asked to attend an event honoring his legacy, she says. In 2012, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by an American president, to Karski. But instead of reaching out to one of Karski’s relatives to accept the medal, the Polish government had sent a former Polish foreign minister with Jewish roots, Adam Daniel Rotfeld, to accept the honor.
“Watching Polish TV, I learned that the Presidential Medal honoring Jan Karski was going to be presented at the White House to somebody from the Polish foreign ministry because ‘Karski had no family’. I was shocked,” his niece said.
There was also an incident in 2013, regarding a plan by the Polish Foreign Ministry to replace Karski’s gravestone, apparently without the family’s permission.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 30, 2012, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski declared that he would assume patronage over a new gravestone to Jan Karski and provide financial support to build it during a quiet wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of the WW II hero of the Polish Underground. “The project, overseen by an Honorary Committee set up for this purpose, is due to be completed in 2014, before the 100th anniversary of the birth of the legendary emissary of the Polish Underground State,” the release stated.
Kozielewska-Trzaska was dismayed by this. “A group of people unknown to the family, together with the Polish ambassador in the USA, tried to remove the gravestone chosen by Jan Karski himself,” she remarked. “They tried to explain it was authorized by the Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski who also promised to pay for it from the ministry budget.”
“After my strong public protest, they stopped his action,” she added.
The question, as to whether these three incidents were somehow related, depends on whom you ask.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/208986/jan-karskis-relatives-angry-at-snub-by-polish-jewi/?p=all#ixzz3IsNZAToY