Holocaust Exhibit Opens At Kansas Statehouse

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An exhibit dedicated to a hero of the Holocaust will move from Kansas State University's Hale Library to the Kansas Statehouse on Friday, Oct. 25, where it will be on display in the rotunda until Oct. 31.

The 20-panel exhibit, "The World Knew: Jan Karski's Mission for Humanity," is on loan from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago. It was recently displayed at the United Nations in New York.

Karski was a diplomat, Polish World War II resistance fighter and eyewitness to the German Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps. He singlehandedly tried to stop the Holocaust. Through Karski, the Underground Polish State implored the Allies to take action and save Jewish citizens of the Republic of Poland, who were being exterminated in German concentration camps in occupied Poland. President Barack Obama awarded Karski with the Medal of Freedom posthumously in May 2012.

"Holocaust education is critical so not one generation goes by without understanding this atrocity," said Susan Yelich Biniecki, assistant professor in the College of Education at Kansas State University. "Through the life of Jan Karski, this exhibit demonstrates the importance of social justice and the seemingly ever-present need to address inequality and human rights abuses."

Consul General Paulina Kapuscinska believes the exhibit allows people a chance to reflect on one of humanity's darkest events.

"The goal of this exhibit is to educate about the moral responsibility to act and not just be a bystander," Kapsucinska said. "Even though Poland suffered double occupation -- by the then-allied Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia -- she never officially capitulated and used all of her might to save as many lives as she could.”

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is grateful to all of those involved who helped bring the exhibit to Kansas.

"The College of Education would like to thank our many partners, including those at the consul general's office, K-State Libraries, Leadership Studies and K-State's governmental relations office, whose hard work allowed many students and Kansans to have access to this important exhibit," Mercer said.