Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a true hero, Jan Karski.
In 1939, Karski joined the Polish Home Army as a liaison officer. During the war and at great risk to his own life, Karski was smuggled, in disguise, into a Nazi German concentration camp in eastern Poland where he saw with his own eyes mass extermination taking place.
Scarred by what he had seen, Karski delivered an impassioned plea on behalf of Poland's Jews to the top allied officials in November 1942 and to President Roosevelt himself in July 1943. Unfortunately, his pleas went unanswered.
At a time when so many were silent, Karski, a righteous among the nations, spoke out. And so it is fitting that this year he will posthumously be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States.