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A Fake Eyewitness to Mass Murder at Belzec

Theodore J. O'Keefe


    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
knowingly exploits a known fraud to propagate the
"genocide" theory. Few alleged eyewitnesses to the
Nazi "extermination" camps have been as influential,
and as honored, as Jan Karski. Karski, who worked as a
spy and courier in the Polish underground in World War
II, personally briefed such American leaders as
Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter about what he
saw undercover at Belzec, where hundreds of thousands
of Jews are said to have been exterminated.

    But two recent biographers of Karski with Karski's
assent have written that this renowned "eyewitness"
made his observations about mass-murder at Belzec not
at Belzec, but rather in Izbica Lubelska, a town forty
miles distant from Belzec that has never figured as a
death camp.

    Revisionists who challenge the canonical history
of the Holocaust are often confronted by its defenders
with the argument that the seemingly overwhelming
number of witnesses and testimonies is proof of the
gas chambers. The response of the very much
under-whelmed revisionists has been to examine the
testimony of these witnesses one by one, starting with
the most believable that supporters of the gas chamber
theory have to offer. If there were ever a star
witness to the Holocaust, it would seem to be Jan
Karski, and, as a matter of fact, for fifty years it
has been Jan Karski.

    Born Jan Kozielewski in Russian ruled Poland in
1914, Karski has had a distinguished career as a
soldier and as a diplomat in the Polish service, and
as a professor at Georgetown University after the war.
He undertook several perilous missions for the Polish
government-in-exile in German-occupied Poland, was
captured, tortured, and made a daring escape. Though
not Jewish himself, Karski has worked to publicize the
orthodox Holocaust story using his authority as an
undercover "eyewitness" to alleged Nazi crimes at
Belzec, in the Warsaw ghetto, and elsewhere for more
than fifty years.

    In 1943 he briefed President Franklin Roosevelt
and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter in person
on what he claimed to have seen with his own eyes.
Shortly afterward, he wrote a book on his wartime
missions, including his supposed visit to Belzec: The
Story of a Secret State
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
1944). It sold over 400,000 copies in the U.S. In 1982
Karski was named a "righteous Gentile" by Yad Vashem,
Israel's agency for commemorating the Holocaust. Three
years later, he was featured in French director Claude
Lanzmann's nine-hour Holocaust film opus Shoah (in
which Karski staged a dramatic, emotional exit from
Lanzmann's interview but said nothing about his
earlier claim to have visited the "extermination camp"
at Belzec).

    In 1991, Karski was awarded the Eisenhower
Liberation Medal by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial
Council. On May 12, 1994 he was made an honorary
citizen of Israel. Although in his mid-eighties,
Karski has continued to speak out on his Holocaust
witnessing under the auspices of both the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Anti-Defamation
League. Former USHMM official Michael Berenbaum has
extravagantly summed up his hero's significance:

Jan Karski has redeemed the image of
humanity precisely at the moment when by his
very being, by his heroic deeds, he indicts
the image of humanity. (Karski, p. 257)

    For over half a century, the centerpiece of
Karski's Holocaust witness and warning to the world
has been his alleged infiltration of the German camp
at Belzec, Poland in 1942. In his book Story of a
Secret State, Karski was very specific about the
location of the Nazi "death camp" he claims to have
entered, disguised as a guard:

A few days after my second visit to the
Warsaw ghetto, the [Jewish Labor] Bund
leader was to arrange an opportunity for me
to see the Jewish death camp. The camp was
located near the town of Belzec about one
hundred miles east of Warsaw and was well
known all over Poland from the tales of
horror that were circulated about it. The
common report was that every Jew who reached
it, without exception, was doomed to death.
The Bund leader had never been in it but had
the most detailed information in [sic] its
operations. (P. 339)

We arrived in Belzec shortly after midday
and went directly to the place where the
Estonian was supposed to be waiting to give
me his uniform. It was a little grocery
store that had belonged to a Jew (p.340).
The camp was about a mile and a half from
the store (p. 341). It was on a large, flat
plain and occupied about a square mile. (P.

    That's what Jan Karski wrote, and it is what the
operatives of the US Holocaust Museum have publicly
endorsed so that the public would continue to swallow
it. Yet a recent, laudatory biography, Karski: How One
Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust
(New York: John Wiley
& Sons, 1994) by E. Thomas Wood and Stanislaw
Jankowski, contradicts Karski's 1944 published account
of a visit to the Belzec camp in 1942. The authors
assure us that they had Karski's full cooperation:
"Not only did Professor Karski open his personal
archive to us, endure many full days of questioning,
and pain-stakingly review the manuscript for
accuracy...." (p. xv). Here is their verdict on
Karski's claim to have visited the "death camp":

The village Jan reached was not Belzec, nor
did Jan think it was while he was there.
When he first spoke of this mission after
reaching London three months later, he
described the site as a "sorting point"
located about fifty kilometers from the city
of Belzec although in the same statement he
referred to the camp's location as "the
outskirts of Belzec." (The actual Belzec
death camp was in the town of Belzec, within
a few hundred feet of the train station.) In
an August 1943 report, Karski at first
placed the camp ten miles, then twelve
kilometers outside of Belzec. By the time he
began retelling his story publicly in 1944,
the town he had reached had become Belzec
itself. (P. 128)

    Thus the authority of another self-proclaimed
eyewitness to the "extermination camps," and one of
the mere handful to have witnessed Belzec, is revealed
as bankrupt. The horrors Karski told the world he
witnessed at Belzecmass shootings of Jews, and the
cramming of thousands of them into boxcars lined with
quicklime, after which they were sent off eighty miles
to die agonizing deaths in the sealed cars ("My
informants had minutely described the whole journey,"
says Karski in Secret State, p. 350) turn out to be
the fantasies of a professional propagandist, one
shamelessly exploited by the U. S. Holocaust Museum.

    For some time, not only revisionist scholars but
also certain academic defenders of the Holocaust story
have cast doubt on Karski's Belzec testimony. Thus
Raul Hilberg, author of the standard The Destruction
of European Jews
, said of Karski, "I would not put him
in a footnote in my book." (interview with Ernie
Meyer, Jerusalem Post, week ending June 28, 1986, p.
9). That was 13 years ago but the Holocaust Museum,
intent on silencing revisionists with the "truth,"
still uses him. The embarrassing attempts of Karski's
biographers to transfer the alleged atrocities Karski
claimed to have seen at Belzec to an obscure "sorting
point" at Izbica Lubelska only serve to confirm
Hilberg's comment.

    More than one scholar who has examined Karski's
activities on behalf of the Polish government in exile
during the Second World War has noted his flexibility
with the truth in the service of his government's
propaganda. Thus David Engel has noted how Karski
helped re-write findings he had made on Polish-Jewish
tensions in Soviet occupied eastern Poland.

    Engels notes that Karski originally found that the
Poles resented the Jews, many of whom had sided with
the Soviets, and thus Poles were vulnerable to Nazi
anti-Semitic propaganda. Yet the Polish government-in
-exile's published report represented the Poles as
deeply sympathetic to the Jews and repelled by the
Nazi's treatment of Jews. (David Engel, "An Early
Account of Polish Jewry under Nazi and Soviet
Occupation Presented to the Polish Government in
Exile, February 1940," Jewish Social Studies, Vol.
XLV, no. 1, Winter 1983).

    Whatever Karski's purposes were during the Second
World War, it is now admitted by him and his
biographers that he was lying about having slipped
into Belzec and observed the alleged extermination of
Polish Jewry. Yet the admission that Karski is a liar
and a libeler comes matter-of-factly in the biography,
and has caused no noticeable stir in the Holocaust
industry. Karski continues to be trotted out on behalf
of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the ADL, and
other groups not only as an eyewitness who "proves"
the standard story, but as a great moral authority.

    Meanwhile, revisionist scholars and researchers
such as Robert Faurisson, David Irving, Wilhelm
Staeglich, Fred Leuchter, and many more, who have
risked careers, personal freedom, and life and limb in
pursuit of the facts on the Holocaust, face continued
slander from the academy and media. It's time the
bemedalled gossip-monger and phony, Jan Karski (and
more importantly, those institutions that exploit the
old fraud), be held to a rigorous standard of
accuracy, morality, and truth on what he sawor didn't
seeat Belzec, or wherever he and his backers claim
Karski was.


THE REVISIONIST, A Journal of Independent Thought, 1, November 1999, published by CODOH - Box 439016/P-111, San Diego, CA, USA 92143. See

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