Richard C. Lukas

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Richard C. Lukas
2014 photo of author and historian, Richard C. Lukas
2014 photo of author and historian, Richard C. Lukas
Born 1937 (age 80–81)
Occupation Historian, author
Notable works The Forgotten Holocaust

Richard C. Lukas (born 1937) is an American historian and author of numerous books and articles in 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 first systematic English-language study, by an American historian, of Poles' World War II experiences and relations with the Jews. Considered a classic, the book has gone through many printings and editions, including a Polish one. The Forgotten Holocaust has been highly praised for being the most thorough and fair treatment of what the Germans did to all Poles—Jews and Christians—during World War II.[1][2]


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 numerous international awards for his work.[3][4]

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 pioneering military-diplomatic study, "Eagles East," that won him a national award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Lukas pioneered in writing scholarly books on Allied wartime and postwar relations. His book, "The Strange Allies: Poland and the United States, 1941-1945," not only studied in-depth the relationship between the United States and the Polish government-in-exile, but also highlighted the impact of American Polonia in United States-Polish relations. "This book remains as current and relevant today as it was when it first appeared," commented Professor Neal Pease, of the University of Wisconsin. 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 little known subject of aid that was extended to Poland after World War II.[3]

The inclusion of Christian Poles as targets of the Holocaust broadly defined was intended by Lukas to call attention to the horrible persecution of non-Jews during the German occupation of Poland. Lukas did not draw absolute parity between the suffering of the Jews and Christian Poles during the Holocaust. Lukas was the first historian to discover two crucial documents sent by the Polish Underground to London, informing the West of the beginning of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.[5]

The Forgotten Holocaust[edit]

The publication of monograph, The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939–1944,[6] prompted Sorbonne-educated, Dr. Victor S. Mamatey, winner of the prestigious George Louis Beer Award, to thank Lukas for "correcting the myth that Hitler's only victims were Jews and that the occupied peoples of Europe conspired with him in their extermination."

The eminent British historian and a leading authority on Polish history, Professor Norman Davies, formerly of Oxford University, noted in the third American edition of The Forgotten Holocaust in 2012, that over the years Lukas's pioneering work "has proved its worth." Davies added that in regard to the historiography of Poland during World War II: "One can see that Lukas took an important step on the long road leading to a healthier and more open state of affairs."[5]

His continuing interest in the Polish tragedy during World War II resulted in several additional books, including the award-winning Did the Children Cry?[4] for which he won the prestigious Janusz Korczak Award and his recent, highly regarded, Forgotten Survivors. Lukas is also a freelance writer who has published fiction and non-fiction pieces. He resides in Florida.[7]



  • "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; 2d rev.ed., 1997: 3d rev.ed., 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 Selling of the Holocaust," Inside the Vatican (Nov. 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 (Aug. 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)
  • 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)[5]


  1. ^ Polish-American Journal, PAJ (2018). "Richard Lukas — The Forgotten Holocaust". North Boston, NY: Polish-American Journal Foundation. Books.
  2. ^ The FSU Foundation (2014–2015). "Richard Lukas" (PDF). Florida State University History Department Annual Newsletter. Tallahassee, FL: 3. Alumni News.
  3. ^ a b "Richard C. Lukas". Project InPosterum. February 17, 2011.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ a b c Polish American Historical Association (2012). "Richard Lukas". Miecislaus Haiman Award.
  6. ^ WorldCat. The forgotten Holocaust : The Poles under German occupation, 1939–1944, by Richard C Lukas. All editions. The OCLC WorldCat library catalog. ISBN 0781813026.
  7. ^ Piotr Zychowicz (October 19, 2012). "Interview with Professor Richard Lukas". Bibula – pismo niezalezne. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013 – via Internet Archive.

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