The Wheeler Centre
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Yannick Haenel: Jan Karski, The Messenger
French writer Yannick Haenel discusses the challenges of writing his partly fictionalised biography of Jan Karski.
Karski was a prominent figure in the Polish resistance to Nazi and Soviet occupation. During World War Two, he was given a unique, terrifying insight into the workings of the Warsaw ghetto.
He travelled to the UK and US to give testimony of what he’d seen to President Roosevelt, among others, but his urgings for intervention were largely ignored. Karski struggled with the legacy of the message he carried inside him for the rest of his life.
In this video, Haenel explores a variety of themes including messengers, witnesses, authorial legitimacy and language.