Richard C. Lukas

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Richard C. Lukas
Lukas in 2014
Born (1937-08-29) August 29, 1937 (age 86)
Known forThe Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944
Academic background
Alma materFlorida State University
Academic work
DisciplinePolish history
InstitutionsWright State University

Richard Conrad Lukas (born August 29, 1937) is an American historian and author of books and articles on military, diplomatic, Polish, and Polish-American history. He specializes in the history of Poland during World War II.

Before retiring from active teaching in 1995, he taught and did research at Tennessee Technological University, Wright State University, and the University of South Florida.

Lukas is best known for The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939–1944 (1986), a study of the wartime experience of the Polish people.

Early life and education

Lukas was born on August 29, 1937, in Lynn, Massachusetts, to Pelagia Lukaszewski (née Kapuscinski) and her husband, Franciszek Lukaszewski. After receiving a BA in 1957,[1] he worked as a research consultant, from 1957 to 1958, at the United States Air Force Historical Archives.[2][3] He was awarded an MA in 1960[1] and a PhD from Florida State University in 1963, for a thesis entitled "Air Force Aspects of American Aid to the Soviet Union: The Crucial Years 1941–1942".[4][5]


Lukas worked at Tennessee Technological University for 26 years from 1963, first as an assistant professor until 1966, then associate professor until 1969,[3] and professor from then until 1989. He moved from Tennessee that year to Wright State University, teaching at its Lake campus until 1992.[1] After this he worked as an adjunct professor of history at the Fort Myers campus of the University of South Florida until retiring in 1995.[2][6]

Publication history

As a graduate student, Lukas was a contributor to the project that resulted in the publication of Air Force Combat Units of World War II (1961).[7]

Eagles East

Lukas' first book, Eagles East: The Army Air Forces and the Soviet Union, 1941-1945 (1970), a military-diplomatic study based on his doctoral dissertation, earned him the national history award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.[3]

R. S. Hughes writing for the Military Affairs commended the book for its "extensive and detailed coverage of Allied-Soviet relations during World War II", and noted that it is particularly helpful for its discussion of the Lend-Lease program.[8] Raymond L. Garthoff reviewing the book for the Slavic Review wrote that it is a "useful study" and "recommended reading" for those interested in the political-military history of USA-USSR relations during World War II with regard to interactions between the U.S. Army Air Forces and the USSR.[9]

James J. Hudson in The American Historical Review called the book "an excellent example of military-diplomatic history".[10] Sam Frank, in his review for The Journal of American History, wrote that the book "reflects extensive research and effective writing. An excellent balance has been achieved between factual presentation and interpretation."[11]

The Strange Allies and Bitter Legacy

Lukas wrote two scholarly books on Allied wartime and postwar relations with Poland. His book, The Strange Allies: Poland and the United States, 1941-1945 (1978) studied in-depth the relationship between the United States and the Polish government-in-exile and highlighted the impact of American Polonia in United States-Polish relations.[12] The sequel to The Strange Allies was Bitter Legacy: Polish-American Relations in the Wake of World War II (1982), which dealt with postwar Polish history and Polish-American relations, as well as the aid that was extended to Poland after World War II.[13] George J. Lerski reviewing the book for The American Historical Review called it an "important and well-documented study" featuring "impeccable research in primary and secondary sources".[14]

The Forgotten Holocaust

The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944 (1986) is Lukas' most famous work and has been re-published in two subsequent editions (1997 and 2012, with a foreword by historian Norman Davies).[15][16][17] It focuses on the sufferings of ethnic Poles in German- and Soviet-occupied Poland from 1939 to 1945.[18]

Reviewers had differing views of the book.[19][20][21][18][22][23][15][24][25] Donald E. Pienkos published a review in the Slavic Review (1986) that he later described as "generally praising the book";[26] it was followed by a critical review by David Engel in the same venue describing Lukas' book as a one-sided rebuke of "Jewish historians" and detailing "distortion, misrepresentation, and inaccuracy" in the book.[19] An extensive correspondence followed among Lukas, Engel, and others in Slavic Review.[26] Michael R. Marrus wrote in The Washington Post that "Lukas tells this story with an outrage properly contained within the framework of a scholarly narrative" but criticized what he felt was an unjustified "sustained polemic against Jewish historians".[20] George Sanford noted in International Affairs that in tackling the subject of the suffering of ethnic Poles, Lukas's work is "strictly objective and academic in tone, presentation and content. But the underlying purpose is inevitably a polemical one, as he has to rake over the smouldering ashes of numerous sensitive controversies."[21]

Out of the Inferno

Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust (1989) is a volume edited by Lukas dealing with memoirs of Poles concerning the Holocaust. John Klier noted in his review in The Slavonic and East European Review that the book is "a useful contribution" to the literature about The Holocaust in Poland.[27] Jerzy Jan Lerski writing for The Polish Review called the book "timely", but noted it is the weakest of Lukas' books up to date, criticizing it as "uneven, poorly organized and [lacking] focus".[28] The book was also reviewed in German by Dieter Pohl for Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas [de].[29]

Did the Children Cry?

Karl A. Schleunes in his review of Lukas's book Did the Children Cry?: Hitler's War Against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–45 (1994) for The American Historical Review noted that it deals with an under-researched topic, and is a valuable contribution to studies of Germanization and the Holocaust. Schleunes writes that "Lukas makes it a point... to stress 'the commonality of suffering of Jewish and Polish children', an effort in which he largely succeeds."[30] Barbara Tepa Lupack, in The Polish Review, wrote that "Lukas in the current volume provides a gripping portrait of the Nazis' systematic genocide plan for all of Poland as well as an excellent analysis of the relationship between Poland's Jewish and gentile communities".[31]

The book received the Janusz Korczak Literary Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The biennial prize, awarded to books about children, was recommended by a panel of judges. The decision of the ADL’s own literary committee had been overrulled by the political leadership of the organization under Abraham Foxman, which decided to withdraw the prize ten days before the award ceremony but reinstated it when Lukas threatened to sue them. The ADL cancelled the award ceremony and mailed the $1000 US prize money to Lukas. According to the ADL, the book was "problematic in several ways" and "strongly understated the level of anti-Semitism in Poland. It also strongly overstated the number of people who rescued Jews."[17][32][33] ADL decision to withdraw the prize has been criticized by Danuta Mostwin [pl], member of the panel and founder of the award, Joseph Kutrzeba, Holocaust survivor and film director, Theresa K. Bunk of the Polish American Congress, William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, John Pawlikowski of the Catholic Theological Union, and historian Victor S. Mamatey.[17][34] The event has been discussed in the context of anti-Polonism.[35]

Forgotten Survivors

Lukas' continuing interest in the Polish tragedy during World War II culminated in his final volume, the Forgotten Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation (2004).[36] Isabel Wollaston in her review of the book for The Slavonic and East European Review noted that "if approached as a memorial volume and/or a collection of oral histories, this is a fascinating book", but due to methodological issues and containing mostly primary accounts, "it should be handled with care and needs to be supplemented and contextualized from other sources if it is to be used for scholarly purposes".[37]



  • Air Force Combat Units of World War II (contributing author), USGPO, 1961; Franklin Watts, 1963.
  • Eagles East: The Army Air Forces and the Soviet Union, 1941-1945, Florida State University Press, 1970, ISBN 0-8130-0428-4.
  • From Metternich to the Beatles, Mentor, 1973, ISBN 0-451-61191-8.
  • The Strange Allies: the United States and Poland, 1941-1945, University of Tennessee Press, 1978, ISBN 0-87049-229-2.
  • Bitter Legacy: Polish-American Relations in the Wake of World War II, University Press of Kentucky, 1982, ISBN 0-8131-1460-8.
  • Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust, University Press of Kentucky, 1989, ISBN 0-8131-1692-9.
  • The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944, University of Kentucky Press, 1986; Hippocrene Books, 1990; second revised edition, 1997; third revised edition, 2012, ISBN 0-7818-0901-0.
  • Did the Children Cry: Hitler's War Against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939-1945, Hippocrene Books, 2001, ISBN 0-7818-0870-7.
  • Forgotten Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation, University Press of Kansas, 2004, ISBN 0-7006-1350-1.


  • "The Polish Experience during the Holocaust," in A Mosaic of Victims, New York University Press, 1990
  • "The Merchandising of the Holocaust", Catalyst magazine, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, October 31, 1997
  • "Of Stereotypes and Heroes", Catalyst magazine, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, July–August 2002
  • "Their Legacy is Life", Canadian Messenger, 1991
  • "Jedwabne and the Selling of the Holocaust", Inside the Vatican, November 2001; reprinted in The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland, Princeton University Press, 2004
  • "Irena Sendler: World War II's Polish Angel", St. Anthony Messenger, August 2008
  • "Rozmowa z Prof. Richardem Lukasem" ("A Conversation with Prof. Richard Lukas"), Uwazam Rze Historia, wrzesień (September) 2012
  • "The Encounter" (fiction), Liguorian, March 2013
  • "God and Country: Catholic Chaplains during World War II", The Priest, June 2014
  • "I'll Be Seeing You: The Warsaw Uprising and the Akins Crew", The Elks Magazine, June 2014
  • "To Save a Life," The Priest, January 2015
  • "Marcus Shook: A Mississippi Hero," in Mississippi History Now, November 2016
  • "Don't Sit on the Torpedo!" (fiction), Liguorian, November 2017


He has received awards for his work:


  1. ^ a b c d Wierzbiański, Bolesław (1996). Who's who in Polish America: 1996-1997. Bicentennial Publishing Corporation. p. 270. ISBN 9780781800105.
  2. ^ a b Clarke, Frances M. (2002). "Mining the Measures of the Valley of the Shadow". Perspectives: Newsletter of the American Historical Association. Volume 40, p. 13.
  3. ^ a b c d Writers Directory 1980-1982. The Macmillian Press Limited. 1979. p. 771. ISBN 978-1-349-03650-9.
  4. ^ Lukas, Richard C. (1964). "Air Force aspects of American aid to the Soviet Union: the crucial years, 1941–1942". Ann Arbor: University microfilms. OCLC 1016419368
  5. ^ Julian, Thomas A., Lieutenant Colonel (September–October 1970). "Lend-Lease and Soviet-American Relations". Air University Review. Volume 21, p. 73, n. 8.
  6. ^ "About the Author". "Forgotten Survivors". University Press of Kansas.
  7. ^ Air University Review. 1965. p. 2.
  8. ^ Hughes, R. H.; Lukas, Richard C. (February 1972). "Eagles East". Military Affairs. 36 (1): 36. doi:10.2307/1983912. JSTOR 1983912.
  9. ^ Garthoff, Raymond L. (December 1971). "Eagles East: The Army Air Forces and the Soviet Union, 1941-1945. By Richard C. Lukas. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1970. ix, 256 pp. $10.00". Slavic Review. 30 (4): 895–896. doi:10.2307/2493873. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2493873. S2CID 164613462.
  10. ^ Hudson, James J.; Sims, Edward H.; Lukas, Richard C. (April 1973). "Fighter Tactics and Strategy, 1914-1970". The American Historical Review. 78 (2): 407. doi:10.2307/1861180. JSTOR 1861180.
  11. ^ Frank, Sam H.; Lukas, Richard C. (December 1971). "Eagles East: The Army Air Forces and the Soviet Union, 1941-1945". The Journal of American History. 58 (3): 800. doi:10.2307/1893804. JSTOR 1893804.
  12. ^ Bromke, Adam (December 1979). "The Strange Allies: The United States and Poland, 1941- 1945. By Richard C. Lukas. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1978. x, 230 pp. $12.50". Slavic Review. 38 (4): 700–701. doi:10.2307/2496606. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2496606. S2CID 164588038.
  13. ^ Mason, David S. (1983). "Bitter Legacy: Polish-American Relations in the Wake of World War II. By Richard C. Lukas. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1982. vii, 191 pp. $16.00". Slavic Review. 42 (4): 708–709. doi:10.2307/2497400. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2497400. S2CID 165043903.
  14. ^ Lerski, George J. (October 1, 1983). "Richard C. Lukas. Bitter Legacy: Polish-American Relations in the Wake of World War II. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. 1982. Pp. 191. $16.00". The American Historical Review. 88 (4): 1103–1104. doi:10.1086/ahr/88.4.1103. ISSN 0002-8762.
  15. ^ a b Madanay, Farrah (2014). "The Forgotten Holocaust The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944". The Sarmatian Review. XXXIV (3): 1867–1869. ISSN 1059-5872. Alt URL
  16. ^ a b "Historian Receives Slotkowski Award | Perspectives on History | AHA". Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Richard C. Lukas: World War II Historian". Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Hetnal, Adam A. (1986). "The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944". Slavic Review. 45 (3): 579–580. doi:10.2307/2499086. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2499086. S2CID 164308089.
  19. ^ a b Engel, David (1987). "Poles, Jews, and Historical Objectivity". Slavic Review. 46(3-4): 568–580. JSTOR 2498105
    Lukas, Richard C. (1987). "[Poles, Jews, and Historical Objectivity]: A Response". Slavic Review. 46(3-4): 581–590. JSTOR 2498106
  20. ^ a b Marrus, Michael R. (March 30, 1986). "Poland Under the Jackboot". The Washington Post.
  21. ^ a b Sanford, George (January 1, 1986). "The forgotten holocaust: the Poles under German occupation 1939–1944". International Affairs. 63 (1): 125. doi:10.2307/2620272. ISSN 0020-5850. JSTOR 2620272.
  22. ^ Sanford, George (January 1, 1986). "The forgotten holocaust: the Poles under German occupation 1939–1944". International Affairs. 63 (1): 125. doi:10.2307/2620272. ISSN 0020-5850. JSTOR 2620272.
  23. ^ Sword, Keith (1988). "Review of Forgotten Holocaust. The Poles under German Occupation, 1939-1944". The Slavonic and East European Review. 66 (2): 316–318. ISSN 0037-6795. JSTOR 4209789.
  24. ^ Wynot, Edward D.; Lukas, Richard C. (February 1987). "The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation, 1939-1944". The American Historical Review. 92 (1): 172. doi:10.2307/1862884. JSTOR 1862884.
  25. ^ Thompson, Ewa M. (1998). "Reflections on Richard Lukas' The Forgotten Holocaust". The Sarmatian Review. XVIII (2).
  26. ^ a b Pienkos, Donald; Engel, David; Redlich, Shimon; Maurer, Jadwiga; Lukas, Richard C. (1991). "Ongoing Discussion". Slavic Review. 50 (3): 738–752. doi:10.2307/2499914. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2499914.
  27. ^ Klier, John D. (1991). "Review of Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust". The Slavonic and East European Review. 69 (2): 381–382. ISSN 0037-6795. JSTOR 4210644.
  28. ^ LERSKI, GEORGE J. (1990). "Review of Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust". The Polish Review. 35 (3/4): 350–351. ISSN 0032-2970. JSTOR 25778533.
  29. ^ Pohl, Dieter (1992). "Review of Out of the Inferno. Poles Remember the Holocaust; The Jews and the Poles in World War II; 'My Brother's Keeper?' Recent Polish Debates on the Holocaust". Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. 40 (2): 280–281. ISSN 0021-4019. JSTOR 41048819.
  30. ^ Schleunes, Karl A.; Lukas, Richard C. (April 1996). "Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939-1945". The American Historical Review. 101 (2): 520. doi:10.2307/2170499. JSTOR 2170499.
  31. ^ Lupack, Barbara Tepa (1996). "Review of Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War Against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939-45". The Polish Review. 41 (3): 359–361. ISSN 0032-2970. JSTOR 25778946.
  32. ^ a b Imbroglio Erupts over ADL Prize to Controversial Holocaust Book, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 11, 1996.
  33. ^ "ADL forced to honor a book that teeters on anti-Semitism". J. March 15, 1996. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  34. ^ Ernst, Eric (March 22, 1996). "Quarrel Over Book Ends With Award". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Archived from the original on November 19, 2023. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  35. ^ Goska, Danusha Veronica (2002). Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype and Its Application in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture (PhD thesis). Indiana University. p. 54; 83. ProQuest 305511507.
  36. ^ Rossino, Alexander B. (September 19, 2019). "WWII Book Review: Forgotten Survivors". HistoryNet. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  37. ^ Wollaston, Isabel (2006). "Review of Forgotten Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation". The Slavonic and East European Review. 84 (4): 772–773. doi:10.1353/see.2006.0038. ISSN 0037-6795. JSTOR 4214378. S2CID 247623081.
  38. ^ IJP. "Awardees". Retrieved October 31, 2023.
  39. ^ Polish American Historical Association (2012). "Richard Lukas". Miecislaus Haiman Award.

External links