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Library Journal Review
Though many nations were forced to endure Nazi tyranny during World War II, nowhere was its fury more devastating than in Poland. Poland suffered more than six million casualities and witnessed the decimation of Europe's largest national Jewish community. Even if it does not fully convey the immense suffering experienced by Poles, Garlinski's book does represent a solid chronicle of Poland's heroic struggle against the Nazis. Drawing heavily on sources belonging to the Polish government-in-exile in London, the narrative clearly stresses key political, military, and diplomatic events in a concise, objective fashion. Though himself a London exile, Garlinski exhibits little bitterness toward the Western powers, who gradually withdrew their support for the exiles. Lukas's book, a much more specialized treatment of the Polish tragedy, never fails to convey the continual horrors inflicted on a nation under Nazi rule. Central to the work is the assertion that the Holocaust in Poland was not confined to Jews but was a systematic atrocity designed to destroy the entire Polish nation. The book is a product of exhaustive research and contains excellent analyses of the relationship of Poland's Jewish and Gentile communities, the development of the resistance, the exile leadership, and the Warsaw uprisings. Lukas is highly critical of earlier works dealing with the topic and continually rejects the claim that Polish Gentiles were rabid anti-Semites. This is a superior work which, along with Garlinski, is suitable for all academic libraries. Joseph W. Constance, Jr., Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Using interviews and Polish archival sources in England, Lukas claims in this controversial work that the killing of a million non-Jewish Poles is an event comparable to what is now generally designated by the word ``holocaust,'' i.e., the systematic Nazi attempt to kill Europe's Jews. This thesis will predictably provoke angry responses from those who have insisted upon defining the Holocaust as unique. Evidence of the planned Nazi attempt to reduce the Polish population to servitude, to kill those who could offer leadership, is clear; Nazi commitment to total biological destruction of all Poles is not. The evidence of Poles who risked their lives to help Jews is used to refute the stereotypical view, found in much of the Holocaust literature, that perceives Poles as fanatical anti-Semites. The author provides a detailed analysis of the Polish resistance movement. Though strongly opposed to Nazi tyranny, the Polish leadership regarded the Soviets (and also Polish Communists) as equally antithetical to Polish interests. This significantly affected Polish-Jewish relations. Taking a position certain to evoke rebuttal, Lukas suggests that there was a substantial sense of community between the resistance movement, including the ``Home Army'' (AK), and the Polish Jewish population. The work concludes with an analysis of the tragic 1944 Warsaw uprising.-G.M. Kren, Kansas State University