Michael FlemingJan 25, 2023
In the Shadow of the Holocaust
Poland, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, and the Search for Justice
Cambridge University Press 2022
In the midst of the Second World War, Central and East European governments-in-exile struggled to make their voices heard as they reported back to the Allies and sought to reach mass Allied publics with eyewitness testimony of German atrocities committed in their respective homelands. The most striking case is that of Poland, whose wartime exile government served as the principal conduit for first-hand testimony (much of which was initially ignored, questioned, or suppressed by the major Allies) of both the Holocaust and the German occupiers’ mass repression and killing of non-Jewish Poles. Historian Michael Fleming offers a rich and unprecedented take on the story of Poles’ contributions to the emergence of a global legal regime for prosecuting war crimes, by reconstructing the central contribution of the Polish War Crimes Office in London to the emergence, successful work, and postwar legacy of the UN War Crimes Commission.
In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Poland, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, and the Search for Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2022) is a ground-breaking intervention in global legal history, in Polish history, and in the history of the transition from World War II to the Cold War.
Piotr H. Kosicki is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Catholics on the Barricades (Yale, 2018) and editor, among others, of Political Exile in the Global Twentieth Century (with Wolfram Kaiser).