Léon Poliakov

Léon Poliakov.

Léon Poliakov (Russian: Лев Поляков; 25 November 1910, Saint Petersburg – 8 December 1997, Orsay) was a French historian who wrote extensively on the Holocaust and antisemitism and wrote "The Aryan Myth".

Born into a Russian Jewish family, Poliakov lived in Italy and Germany until he settled in France.

He cofounded the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, established to collate documentation on the persecution of Jews during World War II. He also assisted Edgar Faure at the Nuremberg Trial.

Poliakov went on to serve as director of research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) from 1954 to 1971.[1]

According to historian Jos Sanchez, Poliakov was the first scholar to assess the disposition of Pope Pius XII critically on various issues connected to the Holocaust. In November 1950, Poliakov wrote "The Vatican and the 'Jewish Question' - The Record of the Hitler Period-And After" in the influential Jewish journal Commentary. The article was the first to consider the attitude of the papacy during World War II and the Holocaust, but it was not until 1963, when German playwright Rolf Hochhuth published his play Der Stellvertreter, that discussion of Poliakov's initial investigations in this area took on worldwide significance.

Although little noted at the time, Poliakov's 1951 Breviaire de la haine ("Harvest of Hate") was the first major work on the genocide, predating Raul Hilberg's Destruction of the European Jews by a decade. It received some good reviews[2] in opposition to the prevailing opinion in studies at the time that a major genocide of six million Jews was logistically impossible and so could not have happened. Poliakov said in his Memoires that he refrained from even using the word genocide, which was considered unfit for publication in 1951 when his groundbreaking work was first published.[3]


  • L'étoile jaune - La situation des Juifs en France sous l'Occupation - Les législations nazie et vichyssoise (Editions Grancher, October 1999 - three texts: a book of 1949, an article in Historia magazine in 1968 and a text of 1980) ISBN 2-7339-0642-9
  • Poliakov, Léon (1 June 1951). Bréviaire de la haine: Le IIIe Reich et les Juifs [Harvest of Hate, the 3rd Reich and the Jews] (in French). Calmann-Lévy. ISBN 978-2-7021-5174-7. 897450164., translated 1956 as Harvest of Hate: The Nazi Program for the Destruction of Jews in Europe
  • The History of Anti-Semitism: From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews (orig. 1955; this tr. 1966; repr. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) ISBN 0-8122-1863-9
  • The History of Anti-Semitism: From Mohammed to the Marranos (orig. 1961; tr. 1973; repr. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) ISBN 0-8122-1864-7, ISBN 0-8122-3767-6
  • The History of Anti-Semitism: From Voltaire to Wagner (orig. 1968; tr. 1975; repr. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) [preview at Google Books ISBN 0-8122-1865-5
  • The History of Anti-Semitism: Suicidal Europe. 1870–1933 (orig. 1977; tr. 1984; repr. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003) [preview at Google Books ISBN 0-8122-3769-2
  • The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalistic Ideas In Europe (Barnes & Noble Books (1996)) ISBN 0-7607-0034-6
  • Jews Under the Italian Occupation (coauthored with Jacques Sabille) (Howard Fertig; 1st American ed edition (December, 1983)) ISBN 0-86527-344-8
  • «Moscou, troisième Rome» Moscow, The third Rome
  • «L`Auberge des musiciens» (memoir)
  • «L`envers du Destin» (autobiography)
  • "De l'antisionisme à l'antisémitisme" (1969)
  • Léon Poliakov; Josef Wulf, eds. (1959). Das Dritte Reich und seine Denker — Dokumente (in German). Berlin-Grunewald: Arani.