Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Holocaust resistance figure
Karski, pictured in 2000.
April 23rd, 2012
11:07 AM ET

Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Holocaust resistance figure

(CNN) – Speaking at the United States Holocaust Museum, President Obama announced on Monday he will award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, the former Polish officer who escaped Nazi imprisonment and provided first-hand accounts to the Western Allies of atrocities he witnessed in Warsaw.

“We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen—because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts; because so many others stood silent. But let us also tell our children about the Righteous Among the Nations. Among them was Jan Karski—a young Polish Catholic—who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself,” Obama said in remarks observing Holocaust Remembrance day.

Karski, who later immigrated to the United States and earned a Ph.D from Georgetown University, died in 2000.

The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a president can bestow on a civilian and is awarded to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.

Last week, the White House announced it will also award the Medal of Freedom to former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summit. Summit retired from her post this month after 38 seasons because she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Other 2012 Medal of Freedom recipients will be announced later this year.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. joe

    Obama giving The Medal of Freedom to a Jew. How ironic..

    April 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • davec.0121

      I think you missed the whole point of this article, which is about Jan Karski and resistance to the Nazis.
      Firstly, the article makes it plain that Dr. Karski was a Catholic.
      Secondly, there's nothing 'ironic' about honoring someone's achievements in fighting evil and furthering freedom, regardless of religion.
      Perhaps you should reflect a little on the content before you write.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • ama01

      Really? What's ironic about it?
      The Medal of Freedom is given by the President. Obama is the President.
      The Medal of Freedom is given to civilians. Jan Karski was a civilian.
      Neither of these imparts any irony to the situation.
      Oh, and Mr. Karski was Catholic...

      April 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • bas

      And even if he was Jewish, why would it be ironic?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  2. Jerry

    Mr. Obama must must be getting REALLY desperate as the 2012 election nears. As most intelligent Americans know, he has no REAL record to run on. So, he is just trying to stay relevant and continuing the process of buying people off so that they will support his presidential candidacy.

    Mr. Obama, you will be unable to "BUY" the 2012 elections. The American people have become wise to your lies, smoke and mirrors.

    You must first learn to respect the American populace. We are not as stupid as you and your clueless administration consider us to be.

    Stay tuned...

    April 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Clinker

      Jerry.....I must correct you. Some of you are even more stupid than any of us could ever have considered possible.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Lionel

      Oh boy here we go again. The negative comments from the haters. I can't wait to hear what Howard have to say.

      This is a good thing on the day of an anniversary. Lighten up Jerry, Howard, Joe.

      Latinos for Obama 2012

      April 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Howard

        Last year, anybody who opposed your empty suit messiah was called a racist, by Obama stooges, like you. This year, anybody who opposes your empty suit messiah is called a hater, by Obama stooges, like you.

        April 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
      • Howard

        Most Latinos are too smart to fall for Obama's B.S. ... apparently, you're not one of them.

        April 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • DEcember 2012


        April 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
      • Steveo

        December 2012, My Man!

        No it's not a crime to call people what they are BUT even you have to admit, it is really funny when the left shoe calls the right shoe..a shoe!

        May 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Charlie from the North

      Jerry, I can understand if you don't like the President's actions or policies but nothing to run on? Really?

      Kept us out the 2nd great depression
      Fair wage act
      9 out of 10 top Al Queda leaders killed.
      Osama Bin Laden kiled
      Gahdafi killed
      Detroit, very much not killed.
      Healthcare to millions of Americans who had none.
      Manufacturing up.
      Crime down
      # of abortions down
      Unemployment not there yet but getting better (no thanks to the GOP)

      So maybe you don't agree with what he has done if you think he has "done nothing " perhaps you should introduce yourself to the facts.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • NauticalMan

        Bravo Charlie from the North!

        April 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • joe

      I wish there was a daily prize for the stupidest and most pointless off topic commentary on a news article. You would win hands down. Probably the only instance in which you would be considered a winner.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • jean2009

      @jerky...The last time I saw lies, smoke and mirrors coming from the White House was from 2001-2008...your glasses must have permanently smoked up so much you think we are all still living in the same fog.

      I doubt very much if Jerry, Howie, joe or Billie know how to be reflective.

      Wasn't John Huntsman uninvited from a Republican Party fundraiser for comparing the Republican Party to communist China? Maybe he should have been more honest and referred to them as the Nazi Party.

      April 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Howard

      Obama lost a lot of the Jewish vote, when he disrespected the Prime Minister of Israel ... leaked their plans regarding an attack on Iran ... demanded that they go back to their 1967 boundries ... and threw them under the bus. Now, his feeble attempts to court the Jewish vote are laughable.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  3. darek

    "Obama giving The Medal of Freedom to a Jew. How ironic.."

    dude!, read the article and then post a comment, or just tur over to the FOX tv

    April 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  4. Bill Ayers

    Central planning will bring us utopia, states will be counties and governors will be done away with. The central planners will ensure property and food are divided equally. Once Obama bankrupts the country our goals will come to fruition.........Muhuhahahahahaha

    April 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  5. Bill Ayers

    Once Obama gets rid of the constitution we can rebuild the system. There's no use in resisting, we're half way there already.....................Muhuhahahhahaha

    April 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Rosslaw

    We have to loosen the standards so Bil Ayers and Co. can have their day in the sun. For instance, an award to George W. Bush for not showing up for his flight physical while in the Texas Air National Guard after missing duty for a year, dodging the draft by Cheney and Gingrich, placing amputees in the Walter Reed amputee ward overridden by cockroaches, rats, understaffed because the KBR sub who "managed" the amputee ward fired 250 out of 300 interns and nurses, starting the Iraq war for no valid reason with too few troops and no follow up planning. You get the jist.

    April 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  7. Gloria

    Some people will look for any excuse to bash our President. Awarding a posthumous medal of freedom is part of a President's duties, and I am proud that he is doing so.

    April 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  8. W.Pilecki

    You should not forget that nazi is really mean german. Check on wiki "nur fur deutsche" (not nazi)...

    April 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  9. DEcember 2012


    April 24, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  10. Robert

    Mr. Obama – shame on you! I do mean your speach. There were NO Polish death camps during second World War. All these camps were run by Germans on ocupied Polish territory !!! Do remember, always !!! Go back to primary school Mr. Obama !

    May 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
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    May 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm |