The Lesson of Jan Karski
Clark Young and Derek Goldman
With Madeleine Albright, Stuart Eizenstat, Aminatta Forna, Azar Nafisi, Leo J. O'Donovan, Samantha Power, Cynthia Schneider, Timothy Snyder, David Strathairn, and Deborah Tannen
A powerful remembrance of the lessons and legacy of Jan Karski, who risked his life to share the truth with the world--and a cautionary tale for our times.
Richly illustrated with stills from the black-and-white film adaptation of the acclaimed stage play, Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski tells the story of World War II hero, Holocaust witness, and Georgetown University professor Jan Karski.
A messenger of truth, Karski risked his life to carry his harrowing reports of the Holocaust from war-torn Poland to the Allied nations and, ultimately, the Oval Office, only to be ignored and disbelieved. Despite the West’s unwillingness to act, Karski continued to tell others about the atrocities he saw, and, after a period of silence, would do so for the remainder of his life. This play carries forward his legacy of bearing witness so that future generations might be inspired to follow his example and “shake the conscience of the world.”
Accompanying the text of the stage play in this volume are essays and conversations from leading diplomats, thinkers, artists, and writers who reckon with Karski’s legacy, including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, award-winning author Aminatta Forna, best-selling author Azar Nafisi, President Emeritus of Georgetown Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ, Ambassador Samantha Power, Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider, historian Timothy Snyder, Academy Award™ nominated actor David Strathairn, and best-selling author Deborah Tannen.
Foreword Samantha Power
The Simple Teaching of “An Insignificant Man” Madeleine Albright
Jan Karski: A Brief Biography Timothy Snyder
Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski
A Conversation on Remember This with Derek Goldman, David Strathairn, and Clark Young moderated by Deborah Tannen
Do Something, Anything Aminatta Forna
A Life in Service: The Inspiration of Jan Karski Stuart Eizentstat
Bearing Witness and Speaking Truth to Power: A Conversation Azar Nafisi and Cynthia Schneider
Afterword Leo O’Donovan, SJ
List of Contributors
"Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski is an essential reminder of what can happen if we let fascism, misinformation, and prejudice triumph. I was deeply moved to witness this brilliant production, anchored by David Strathairn's astonishing performance, which captures the soul of Jan Karski. It was a privilege for me because I knew Karski as a student and welcomed him to the US Capitol as a member of Congress. This important volume shows us that Karski's legacy of moral courage should always be a challenge to our conscience. We must bear witness to our history, face the truth, and act upon it."—Speaker Nancy Pelosi
"This film expresses in the most honest way the tragic dimension of Karski’s character and horror of the story he’s telling. Minimalistic, restrained, filmed with great discipline, and greatly acted by David Strathairn. I believe he is Karski, one of the most important figures of the 20th century."—Agnieszka Holland, award-winning filmmaker, in response to the film "Remember This"
"Recruited into the Polish Underground in the midst of the Second World War, Jan Karski was given a mission. He was to be a witness to the world, a witness to the Holocaust. Remember This takes us into the thoughts and inner struggles of Karski as he grappled with this mission. A true work of art, the play is disturbing, moving, and inspiring. It is a unique window into the life of this man, this hero, Jan Karski."—Anthony Clark Arend, professor of government and foreign service, Georgetown University
"A powerful play about Jan Karski, a man who rightfully deserves to be called a hero. The essays that accompany the script enhance readers’ understanding of his extraordinary attempt to try to stop a tragedy. If we all could be just a bit more like him, the world would be a better place."—Deborah E. Lipstadt, PhD, Dorot Professor of Holocaust Studies, Emory University
Madeleine AlbrightStuart EizenstatAminatta FornaAzar NafisiLeo J. O’Donovan, SJSamantha PowerCynthia P. SchneiderTimothy SnyderDavid StrathairnDeborah Tannen
Clark Young is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York, and originally from Portland, Maine. He cocreated every iteration of Remember This from Warsaw and New York City to London and Washington, DC.
Derek Goldman is the chair of Georgetown University’s Department of Performing Arts and director of the Theater and Performance Studies Program, and he is the cofounding director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. He is an award-winning international stage director, producer, playwright, and educator whose work has been seen off-Broadway, nationally, and at numerous leading theaters around the world.
184 pp., 5.5 x 8.5
184 pp., 5.5 x 8.5