Facing a Holocaust: The Polish Government-In-Exile and the Jews, 1943-1945

Facing a Holocaust: The Polish Government-In-Exile and the Jews, 1943-1945

Facing a Holocaust: The Polish Government-In-Exile and the Jews, 1943-1945

Facing a Holocaust: The Polish Government-In-Exile and the Jews, 1943-1945


Engel's study will be the definitive statement on one dimension of a very complex problem: the relations between Jews and their countrymen in occupied Poland.-- Central European History

"A superb piece of scholarship that is impeccably researched and most elegantly written as well.--Jan T. Gross, New York University

Within this book, Engel concludes his exploration of the Polish government-in-exile's shifting responses toward the plight of European Jews during the Second World War. He focuses on the years 1943-45, the critical period after the free world became fully aware of Nazi Germany's plan to destroy the Jews, and shows that the Polish government-in-exile, with its vast underground organization, was a prime target of Jewish rescue appeals. This book is the sequel to Engel's In the Shadow of Auschwitz, published in 1987.

Originally published in 1993.


This book is a sequel to an earlier work, In the Shadow of Auschwitz: the Polish Governmentin-Exile and the Jews, 1939-1942, which appeared in 1987. As such it depends upon an infrastructure of evidence and analysis that cannot be easily repeated for readers unfamiliar with the earlier volume. To be sure, the first chapter presents the main features of that infrastructure in summary fashion. Nevertheless, because the story told by the two volumes comprises a whole that has been artificially divided in two, it has been necessary, in order to preserve the sense of flow between the two periods that the volumes represent, to intersperse that summary with features of the ongoing story.

Part of the infrastructure consists of the conventions regarding personal and place names and transliterations that were employed in the previous volume. All of those conventions remain in force in the present work; rather than repeat them here, I refer readers to the prefatory note in In the Shadow of Auschwitz.

Since the earlier book was written, several additional people have offered assistance, encouragement, or advice, and I recall their contributions with thanks (alphabetically, as before): Raya Adler, Hagar Fynne, Irit Kenan, Shlomo Netzer, Synaj Okręt, Annie Roberts, Anita Shapira, Hana Shlomi, and Ron Zweig. Upon reading this acknowledgment some of these people may be scratching their heads in wonder over what their contribution might have been, as did some who were thanked in the earlier volume. Suffice it to say that I remember how each of them helped and that without them this book would not have turned out as it did. I can only hope that they will regard that fact as a source of pride rather than embarrassment. Again, naming them does not imply that they agree with any statements or interpretations that follow, which are entirely my own.

Additional support for this volume was provided by the Diaspora Research Institute at Tel Aviv University, my academic home dur-

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