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Translated from French by Ian Monk and with a powerful introduction by Mark Baker, Haenel’s transcript about Jan Karski, a Polish Resistance Fighter in WWII, is told in a highly unusual manner.  Dived into three parts, Haenel recounts Karski’s testimony in Claude Lanzmann’s documentary Shoah in which the shattered figure presents his own eye witness testimony along with the details he was told to present to the British and US Governments.  The second chapter recounts experiences written by Karski himself in his biographical account of his experiences throughout the war, of his time incarcerated by the SS and his accounts to leaders of the British and US Governements, as well as the Polish Government in exile.   The third and final chapter is a fictional account of what Karski thought and what transpired after his meeting with President Roosevelt.   This third and final chapter in which fact and fiction are mixed – a rare and unlikely occurrence in the world of literature – has created much controversy.  In discussion with Mark Baker, Yannick Haenel’s presentation at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books Writing and Ideas will add much to your reading of this book.

Rating: ****
Theme:
Religion & Culture
Suitable: Year 10-12+

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