Almost every individual was sympathetic to my reports concerning the Jews, but when I reported to the leaders of governments, they discarded their conscience, their personal feeling.—Jan Karski
Karski & The Lords of Humanity is a feature-length partially animated documentary project about a man who tried to prevent the Holocaust.
The film tells the story of a member of the Polish underground who acted as a courier during World War II and whose mission was to inform the Allied powers of Nazi crimes against the Jews of Europe in an effort to prevent the Holocaust. Jan Karski infiltrated the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi Transit Camp and carried his dreadful eye-witness report of the atrocities to Britain and the United States, hoping that it would shake the conscience of the powerful leaders or – as he would later call them - the Lords of Humanity.
Our project offers an earnest portrait of an extraordinary individual and a unique perspective on the history of World War II and the Holocaust. It is a story of a man juggled between life and death while fulfilling a desperate mission to stop the annihilation of European Jews. The movie will portray the biggest tragedy of the 20th century as reflected in the life of a single individual. His mission was not a failure. The risks Karski took to witness the Final Solution firsthand and the mind-shattering reports he delivered about it forced Allied leaders to confront the horror for the first time. When Karski broke the taboos of his exiled government and began to speak out about the fate of the Jews, he played a major role in shaping public opinion in the free world.
The innovative fusion of technologies employed by our team will create a unique film reality, and will bring Karski’s compelling story to life. The film will employ fiction-like scenes presented by means of animation techniques intertwined with documentary scenes and archival footage, including authentic voice-over by Jan Karski himself. Thanks to animation techniques, we will be able to recreate the events, which took place during Karski’s World War II mission. We will be able to recreate his treacherous visit to the Warsaw Ghetto, where he witnessed the indignities and traumas to which Jews were being subjected in Nazi-occupied Poland only months preceding the Final Solution. Hours of interviews recorded with Jan Karski after the war will provide the most authentic first person narrative, and will accompany the animated reenactment of events against the background of authentic archival footage.
"Kino Swiat" a major film distribution force in Polish cinema, decided to open "Karski & The Lords of Humanity" at 49 theaters rather than 15 as it was originally planned. The theatrical premiere of our film "Karski and the Lords of Humanity" (Karski i wladzcy ludzkosci) took place in Poland on April 24, 2015 (Jan Karski's 101st birthday).
Rave film reviews
A conversation with Slawomir Grunberg by Pawel Smolenski Gazeta Wyborcza (Weekend Edition), 04.25.2015
"Your film hits right between the eyes, also because of the perfect technique. ...the whole world is familiar with the scene where two Jews (in the Warsaw Ghetto) carry on the pushcart with emaciated bodies, one falls down, they load it back and push on.... In your film everything is sharp, one can hear the sound of bones hitting the pavement, the wheels rattle. I feel pain and fear, looking at this scene."
A film review of "Karski & The Lords of Humanity" by top Polish film critic: Tadeusz Sobolewski, Polish Daily "Gazeta Wyborcza" 04.09.2015 "Jan Karski: A Bond who Cries. An excellent new film."
"Karski's Mission Continues" Tygodnik Powszechny, Anita Piotrowska "You needed Sławomir Grunberg, a noted American director with Polish (and Jewish) roots - in order to break into the wider consciousness with the history of Jan Karski ...Grunberg created a modern and attractive documentary and combined known and unknown archives with great animation sequences."
"I am shaken and deeply moved by this film. ... I am very happy because this film will encourage young people." says Wiesława Kozielewska-Trzaska, Jan Karski's niece after watching "Karski & The Lords of Humanity" at POLIN Museum of History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw. Polskieradio.pl
"Jan Karski was a witness of the Holocaust" says Grzegorz Schetyna - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland at the premiere of "Karski & The Lords of Humanity" at POLIN Museum of History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw. Present at the premiere were also: Radoslaw Sikorski - Marshal of the Sejm and Adam Rotfeld Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland
"In Slawomir Grunberg's movie the archival footage, interviews and the modern animation build Karski's portrait as an unshaken moral aristocrat. "Karski & The Lords of Humanity" is a moving story about war cruelty, which leaves its mark." Bartosz Staszczyszyn
"Won although Lost. A real 'Man of Iron', a character worthy show to young people seeking role models" says the director. "Rzeczpospolita" Daily by Małgorzata Piwowar.
"A film by Slawomir Grunberg, an American director with the Polish roots (left Poland in 1981) uses partly known footage, among others from Lanzmann's "Shoah". It is however the original piece of work if only because of the innovative use of the animation..... Deeply moving film" 'Polityka' weekly, Zdzislaw Pietrasik, Film review.
"Polska - The Times" An interview with Slawomir Grunberg ""Karski & The Lords of Humanity" doesn't distort history. I expect criticism. Karski should be a role model for the young generation."
"An amazing documentary film about Jan Karski, who as eyewitness told the West the truth about the Holocaust." M.Kultuta.Gazeta.Pl
A Polish Radio on "Karski & The Lords of Humanity" movie. April 17, 2015. "A new documentary on Jan Karski...a film about steadfast and brave man, who might become a role model for the younger generation" says Slawomir Grunberg."