cover image Out of the Inferno

Out of the Inferno

. University Press of Kentucky, $30 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-8131-1692-1

Lukas, author of Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation , here assembles oral histories by 60 Christian Polish men and women who survived the Nazi occupation. Told in plain language, their moving testimonies recount the sadism, mass murders, deportations and imprisonment which Poles suffered at the hands of Hitler's invading army. These first-person narratives demonstrate that thousands of Poles courageously rescued Jews, at great risk to their own lives. One point of controversy is Lukas's intention with this oral history to refute the ``stereotype'' that Poles were anti-Semites who ``at a minimum were indifferent to the Germans' treatment of the Jews. . . .'' Yet, in an introductory essay, he supportively quotes comments about the ``unresisting attitude'' and ``passivity'' of Jewish victims of Nazism. In this treatment, he largely ignores the torrent of anti-Semitic legislation, daily brutality and prejudice that many Polish Jews faced prior to the German occupation. (July)