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Poliakov, Léon


POLIAKOV, LÉON (1910–1997), historian. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Poliakov went to France in 1920. He was on the staff of the Pariser Tageblatt until 1939. During World War ii he served with the French army. Participating in the establishment of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, he became head of its research department after the war. In 1952 he was appointed research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and in 1954 joined the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Poliakov, one the first historians of the Holocaust, wrote extensively about it and paved the way for the scientific study of antisemitism from the 1950s. He was departmental editor of the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica for the subject of antisemitism. Some of his books have been translated into English – Harvest of Hate (1954), The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe (1974), and his major four-volume The History of Anti-Semitism (2003). His other works include Auschwitz (1964), Les banchieri Juifs et le Saint-Siège du xiii au xvii siècle (1965) and De l'antisionisme à l'Anti-semitisme (1969). Poliakov also edited a number of works, including La condition des Juifs en France sous l'occupation italienne (1946) and, with Josef Wulf, Das Dritte Reich und seine Diener; Dokumente (1956) and Das Dritte Reich und die Juden; Dokumente und Aufsaetze (1955). He published his memoirs in 1981 (L'auberge des musiciens), and amongst his other books published later are La Causalité diabolique: essai sur l'origine des persécutions (1980) and L'impossible choix: histoire des crises d'identité juive (1995).

[Sylvie-Anne Goldberg (2nd ed.)]

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