ADL Leader Honored With Prestigious Karski Eagle For His Role In Fighting Anti-Semitism & Promoting Democracy
Washington, DC, April 29, 2007 … Abraham H. Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today was honored with the prestigious Jan Karski Eagle Award for his efforts in fighting anti-Semitism, promoting democracy and his commitment to the imperative, "Never Again." The Award was bestowed in a ceremony as part of the League's annual Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, a prominent figure in the Catholic Church of Poland and longtime student, friend and collaborator of Pope John Paul II, and Waldemar Piasecki, a New York-based journalist and a member of the Jan Karski Eagle Award Committee, joined in presenting the award to Mr. Foxman. Bishop Pieronek, 73, lives in the shadow of Auschwitz in Krakow and has been a leading voice against anti-Semitism in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Karski Eagle Award was established in April 2000 by Dr. Jan Karski to recognize humanitarian service to others, with a special connection to Poland. Dr. Karski, a young Polish Roman Catholic diplomat during the early days of World War II, witnessed firsthand the Nazis' treatment of the Jews in its ghettos and concentration camps, and attempted to alert high-level government officials in Washington and London before it was too late. Dr. Karski remained in Washington, D.C., became an American citizen and taught at Georgetown University for nearly 40 years.
"Jan Karski often said that indifference kills," Mr. Piasecki told the audience of nearly 500 ADL delegates from across the country. "Abraham Foxman – with his longtime persistent struggle to weed out anti-Semitism and his dedication to the imperative of 'Never Again' – well deserves the Jan Karski Award."
The award, a bronze eagle, recognizes Mr. Foxman "for his intrepid fight against defamation and his commitment to 'Never Again.'" A Holocaust survivor born in Poland, Mr. Foxman was hidden from the Nazis by his Polish Catholic nursemaid, who had him baptized to hide his Jewish identity. Mr. Foxman was eventually reunited with his parents and moved to the United States after the war.
In remarks during the award presentation, Janusz Reiter, the Polish Ambassador to the U.S., said that "the Jewish people and the Polish people have a common interest, and the one common interest is preserving the historical truth" of what transpired during the Holocaust.
He added of Mr. Foxman: "We respect him, and we admire his commitment and his sense of mission, and I believe that this is really shared by many people in my country. Many people in my country realize that he is not an easy partner, but he is a fair partner, a really good, fair partner."
In a message read during the award presentation, former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first leader of a democratic government in Central and Eastern Europe and a past recipient of the Karski Eagle, wrote on behalf of the Jan Karski Society: "Because this tragic outcry to the world to help the Jewish people was raised by a Pole and a Catholic, Karski remains a Polish and Jewish treasure. Jan Karski represents the very essence of our Polish-Jewish reality. Just as the current recipient of the Karski Eagle Award, Abraham Foxman, coming from a Jewish family that once lived in Warsaw, is its very embodiment."
As ADL's longtime National Director, Mr. Foxman has worked side-by-side with European political and religious leaders to confront the scourge of anti-Semitism, to promote democratic institutions around the world, and to protect and defend the Jewish State of Israel.
Past recipients of the Jan Karski Eagle Award include Dr. Marek Edelman, commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; Adam Michnik, Polish journalist and democracy activist; and Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.