Grappling with an Uncomfortable Past: Recent Scholarship on the Holocaust in Poland and Lithuania: Adam Puławski, W obliczu zagłady: Rząd RP na Uchodźstwie, Delegatura Rządu RP na Kraj, ZWZ-AK wobec deportacji Żydów do obozów zagłady (1941–1942); Robert van Voren, Undigested Past: the Holocaust in Lithuania
This article reviews recent scholarship on the Holocaust in Poland and Lithuania – Adam Puławski’s W obliczu zagłady (In the Face of Annihilation), and Robert van Voren’s Undigested Past: The Holocaust in Lithuania. Both works address the issues of antisemitism, collaboration, and remembering. Each, in its own way, contributes to our understanding of past and present relations of Jews to Poles and Lithuanians. Puławski, in analyzing a wide range of evidence, aims to document how much was known by the Polish underground and London government-in-exile about the murder of Jews, and how these bodies reacted to this information. Van Voren’s work characterizes a valuable overview, covering Lithuanian–Jewish relations before 1939, the events of the Shoah in Lithuania, the question of collaboration, and the difficult and often suppressed memory of these tragic events in the present day. Although his research sometimes lacks the insight of a professional historian, his contribution demonstrates a serious effort to synthesize the findings of historians and to explain why the level of collaboration and anti-Jewish violence on the part of Lithuanians was so high in the years between 1941 and 1943. Overall, both books transmit information to the public in Poland and Lithuania and open up the discussion of collaboration in the mass murder of their Jewish neighbors.