The art associated with this station relates to Human Rights.
The capitol building is undergoing significant renovation. Thus, while I was approaching it from the north side, I had to walk around to the south side to enter the building.
I had learned about Karski first when I was in Kielce, Poland and found a statue of him.
Here I first saw a picture of what he looked like at age 28.
By this time he had already lived a lifetime of experiences. He was born in Łódż and christened in the Catholic church as Jan Kozielewski. Karski is a name he adopted when he became part of the Polish Underground during World War II. At the time he was growing up Łódż was a very multi-ethnic city with a majority population of Jewish people.
His father died when he was six years old and his older brother, Marian, became a father figure for him. His mother, Walentenja, was very firm in her belief that Poland should be a free country. She was also firm in her belief that all people should be treated with tolerance regarding their differences. She taught her children to be kind to their Jewish neighbors.
Karski was well educated, graduating from a university where he received both military and diplomatic training. As part of his diplomatic training he served in Romania, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.
When Poland was invaded in September, 1939, Karski became part of the Krakow Calvary Brigade. He was captured by the Red Army and taken into an area which is now present day Ukraine. There he persuaded the army officials that he was a private, not a military officer and was allowed to return to Poland. This action saved him from the Katyn Massacre.
In 1940 while acting as a courier for the Polish Underground, he was captured by Nazis in an area of the Tatra Mountains in present day Slovakia. He tried to commit suicide as a way to avoid possibly revealing any secrets, but was unsuccessful. He was taken to a hospital in Nowy Sacz and rescued from there by the Polish Underground.
We say the Polish Underground but the people involved called it the Polish Secret State.
This naming distinction becomes important later.
By this time his brother, Marian, was part of the police force in Warsaw. Karski worked with Marian in 1942 who smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto so that he could see first hand the conditions inside. He also worked briefly disguised as an Estonian at a Death Transfer Camp near Lublin. Karksi was chosen for this mission because of his command of a number of languages, including English.
With all this information Karski now went to England where he met with Polish government in exile. He met with high-ranking British military and political figures, telling them about the Holocaust underway on the continent. He met with President Roosevelt in Washington, D.C. in 1943 telling this same story. All who heard him were skeptical and unconvinced.
Karski never returned to Poland until 1989. In 1944 he worked with Hollywood to make a film about the Polish Secret State. He became a faculty member of the School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown University for the remainder of his working life.
In 1974 he received a Fulbright Award and used this award to write the book, The Great Powers and Poland: 1919-1945. As a Fulbrighter myself I was excited to learn of he is part of the Fulbright Family and humbled that I'm in part of a group that includes someone such as Karski.
In 1989 Karski returned to Poland where he was awarded the Order of the Eagle.
And in 2013 he was awarded the Medal of Honor by the United States, an action related to the coming centenary of his birth in 2014.