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Richard C. Lukas (born 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. Lukas is best known for The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944, a study of the wartime experiences of the Poles.

Richard C. Lukas
Lukas in 2014
Lukas in 2014
Born1937 (age 81–82)
OccupationHistorian, author
Notable worksThe Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944


Lukas served as a Research Consultant at the United States Air Force Historical Archives prior to receiving his Ph.D. in history from Florida State University in 1963. He taught at universities in Florida, Ohio and Tennessee. He has also been a guest lecturer at academic institutions in the United States and Poland, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Alliance College in 1987 in recognition of his scholarship. He has received awards for his work.[1][2]

Lukas was a contributor to the Air Force Lineage Project that resulted in the publication of Air Force Combat Units of World War II. His specialty included the combat operations of the 8th, 12th and 15th air forces. He later wrote a military-diplomatic study, Eagles East.

Lukas wrote scholarly books on Allied wartime and postwar relations. His book, The Strange Allies: Poland and the United States, 1941-1945 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. The sequel to The Strange Allies was Bitter Legacy: Polish-American Relations in the Wake of World War II, which dealt with postwar Polish history and Polish-American relations, as well as the aid that was extended to Poland after World War II.[1]

The Forgotten HolocaustEdit

Norman Davies, UNESCO Professor of History at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, wrote in the foreword of the third American edition of The Forgotten Holocaust in 2012, that over the years Lukas's pioneering work "has proved its worth." Davies recognized that "by expanding the grounds for discussion and by pointing to aspects of the period that were indeed in danger of being forgotten, (Lukas's book) rendered a very real service."[3]

According to David Engel, while the book purports to counter bias, it is a one-sided rebuke of "Jewish historians". In a 1987 review, he enumerated examples of alleged inaccuracies, distortion, and misrepresentations in the book and viewed it as "not only unreliable but thoroughly tendentious".[4]

Did the Children Cry?Edit

Lukas's Did the Children Cry? received the Janusz Korczak Literary Award, however this was accompanied with a two-page analysis by the prize sponsor, the Anti-Defamation League, describing why the book was "problematic in several ways". The biennial prize, awarded to books on children, was recommended by a panel of judges. The ADL attempted to withdraw the prize ten days prior to the award ceremony, however after Lukas threatened he would file a lawsuit the ADL decided to reinstate it. According to the ADL the book "strongly understated the level of anti-Semitism in Poland. It also strongly overstated the number of people who rescued Jews". The ADL cancelled the award ceremony, and mailed the $1000 US prize money to Lukas.[5]

Other workEdit

Lukas' continuing interest in the Polish tragedy during World War II resulted in several additional books such as Forgotten Survivors. Lukas has also published fiction.[6][better source needed]



  • 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.
  • Zapomiany Holocaust: Polacy Pod Okupacja Niemiecka, 1939–1944, Jednosc, 1995.
  • 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.
  • Zapomiany Holokaust: Polacy Pod Okupacja Niemiecka, 1939-1944, Wydawnictwo Rebis, 2012, 2016.


  • "The Polish Experience during the Holocaust," in A Mosaic of Victims (N.Y.: New York University Press, 1990)
  • "The Merchandising of the Holocaust", Catalyst, October 1997
  • "Of Stereotypes and Heroes", Catalyst, July–August 2002
  • Why Do We Allow Non-Jewish Victims to be Forgotten?
  • "Their Legacy is Life", Canadian Messenger, 1991
  • "Jedwabne and the Seling 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", Uwazam Rze Historia, Wrzesien (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


  • National History Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, (1971)
  • Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies, (1980)
  • Doctor of Humane Letters by Alliance College, (1987)
  • Kosciuszko Foundation's Joseph B. Slotkowski Publication Fund Achievement Award
  • Polonia Restituta award from the Government of Poland (1988)
  • Janusz Korczak Literary Award from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (1994)[5]
  • American Council for Polish Culture's Cultural Achievement Award (1994)
  • Waclaw Jedrzejewicz History Award from the Pilsudski Institute of America (2000)
  • The Catholic Press Association Award (2009)
  • Mieczyslaw Haiman Award, presented by the Polish American Historical Association, (2013)[3]


  1. ^ a b "Richard C. Lukas". Project InPosterum. February 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Richard C. Lukas (1994). Did the Children Cry?: Hitler's War Against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945. Hippocrene Books. About the author. ISBN 0781802423 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Polish American Historical Association (2012). "Richard Lukas". Miecislaus Haiman Award.
  4. ^ 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

  5. ^ a b Imbroglio Erupts over ADL Prize to Controversial Holocaust Book, JTA, 11 March 1996
  6. ^ Piotr Zychowicz (October 19, 2012). "Interview with Professor Richard Lukas". Bibula – pismo niezalezne. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013 – via Internet Archive.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

External linksEdit