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Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944 Paperback – 9 Jan 2013

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Forgotten Holocaust has become a classic of World War II literature. As Norman Davies noted, Dr. Richard Lukas has rendered a valuable service, by showing that no one can properly analyze the fate of one ethnic community in occupied Poland without referring to the fates of others. In this sense, The Forgotten Holocaust is a powerful corrective. The third edition includes a new preface by the author, a new foreword by Norman Davies, a short history of ZEGOTA, the underground government organization working to save the Jews, and an annotated listing of many Poles executed by the Germans for trying to shelter and save Jews.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Scholarly Book That is Not Polish-Apologist. Nor Does It Equate the Polish and Jewish Experience 9 April 2014
By Jan Peczkis - Published on
Format: Paperback
This review focuses on only a few topics in this comprehensive scholarly work, and addresses some of the distortions of other reviewers.

Author Richard Lukas consistently presents both sides of the story. For this, he has been labeled a "Polish nationalist" or "apologist" of some sort. He clearly is not. For instance, he is critical of Polish disunity in the prewar government and in the Polish Government-in-Exile. He is candid about Polish-German collaboration, and the tactical errors of the Warsaw Uprising. He is unjustifiably harsh on the Polish-Underground NSZ.

Most amazing of all is the assertion that Lukas equates the experiences of Jews and Poles. In actuality, Lukas recognizes the fact that the Nazis targeted the Jews for immediate and total annihilation. (e. g., p. 151). In contrast, the German genocide of Poles focused on the destruction of the intelligentsia, cultural genocide, etc. The total, or near-total, extermination of the Poles was to await the end of the war (pp. 4-5), with the "resettlement" provisions of GENERALPLAN OST possibly/probably being a euphemism for this extermination. [Recall that the extermination of Jews was also disguised as "resettlement".]

Those much-mentioned "Poles who would be Germanized" represented only 3% of the Polish population of the Reich-annexed regions. (p. 24). Furthermore, in German eyes, they were not Poles. They were Germans who had become Polonized, and would now be re-Germanized.

The no-Polish-Quisling-because-the-Germans-never-wanted-one argument (e. g., by neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross) is fallacious. The Germans unsuccessfully approached Prince Janusz Radziwill, and others, as prospective Quislings. (pp. 111-112). Nor were low-ranking Polish collaborators common. A cited Israeli study estimates that about 7,000 ordinary Poles collaborated with the Germans. (p. 117). [This comes out to a vanishing 1 in 4,000 ethnic Poles.] As for the szmalcowniks, there were probably no more than about 1,000 in Warsaw. (pp. 250-251). Contrary to accusations, the Polish Underground did systematically liquidate blackmailers of Jews, and, furthermore, was largely successful in ending their plague in some geographic areas of German-occupied Poland. (p. 119).

The number of Jews who survived in German-occupied Poland is unknown. Figures of 40,000-50,000, 100,000-120,000, and even 200,000 or 300,000 have been quoted. (p. 149). Virtually all had depended on Polish help.

Lukas gingerly defends Bor Komorowski against the charge of his early Underground contacts with the Jews being postwar fabrications. (p. 173). Lukas' account of the scale of Polish aid to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising itself could be greatly expanded and updated. See the book TWO FLAGS: RETURN TO THE WARSAW GHETTO.

Some (e. g. David Engel) have accused the Polish Government-in-Exile of playing down what it knew about Jewish deaths, possibly because of anti-Semitism. Ironic to this, an unnamed British official had asserted, in December 1942, that there was "no reliable evidence" that the Germans were exterminating the Jews, and that Poles were talking TOO MUCH about Jewish deaths--in part to show that they were not anti-Semitic! (p. 160). Go figure.

Lukas' outstanding work is only the beginning. For further, in-depth study of the little-known genocide of Poles, see the Peczkis Listmania: FORGOTTEN HOLOCAUST..., and NAZI GERMAN GENOCIDE OF POLES AND OTHER SLAVS.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Recommended! 16 Nov. 2013
By D.K. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is history of Poland under Nazi German rule like no other. It is well written, concise and gives you the true sense of the scale of the crimes committed against ALL Polish and non-Polish citizens, no matter who they were: Jewish, Catholics… and how it played out during the war. Recommended.
Lukas for your amazing book. It should be obligatory textbook for every ... 15 Jun. 2015
By MR - Published on
Format: Paperback
On 14 June 1940, German Nazis brought to the newly built Auschwitz concentration camp a group of 728 Polish political prisoners from the prison in Tarnow. This date is considered to be the day when the camp began to operate. It is estimated that around 140000 Poles were murdered in Auschwitz by the Germans. On the whole, during WW2, the Germans murdered around six million Polish citizens, half of which were Jewish and the other half were Catholic. Today we are witnessing the rewriting of history, as the victims, namely the Polish people, are being blamed for the Nazi crimes which were perpetrated by the German people during WW2. US president Barack Obama called the German built concentration camps on Polish soil "Polish death camps", while the head of the FBI Blamed Poles and other nationalities for the crimes of the Nazis. Thank you Prof. Lukas for your amazing book. It should be obligatory textbook for every politician in US.
Fantastic historical read 23 May 2015
By Ursula Hansen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic historical work embracing and paying tribute to a forgotten 3 million gentile Polish victims of WW iI ....thank you Mr Lucas for your great research, work and righteous heart.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Norman Davies deserves quiality reviews 10 Feb. 2014
By Eric Wozniak - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is in response to the ridiculous 3star review that has to do with the content of this book. I haven't read this book, but if Amazon is okay with leaving up a totally arbitrary 3star review, they'll be alright with me evening it out; Davies is an incredible historian and I'm willing to guess this book is better than average -- look forward to reading it.
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