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English Section

Biden inauguration prayer to be led by friend of Polish war-time hero

12.01.2021 14:54
A prayer during the inauguration ceremony of US President-elect Joe Biden will be led by a Jesuit who was a friend of Polish war-time hero Jan Karski.
Jan Karski
Jan Karski Photo: Muzeum Historii Polski

At Biden’s request, the prayer will be led by Father Leo O' Donovan, a long-time rector of Georgetown University in Washington.

The Jan Karski Society, which includes members of his family, has expressed satisfaction with Biden’s request, adding that "the bond between Jan Karski and Father O'Donovan resulted not only from their presence at the same Jesuit university, but was also based on a community of values."

In its statement, the Jan Karski Society recalled that Father O'Donovan, who was a generation younger than Karski, “openly admired the military mission of the Pole who, as an emissary of the Polish Underground State and the Polish government-in-exile, undertook the mission of saving the Jewish nation, deprived of its own state, living in a diaspora, and dying at the hands of Nazi barbarians.”

Karski carried the first eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust to the world after entering the Warsaw ghetto and seeing first-hand the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis.

After the war, he settled in the United States and became a professor at Georgetown University. He died in 2000, aged 86.