Having first been in Poland in 1959 as a university student on an exchange programme, where he first visited Treblinka, Sir Martin returned in August 1980, spending twelve days touring by car, visiting sites with local eye witnesses, seeing his friends from his former visit and speaking with historians in Warsaw.
As a result of these researches, Sir Martin wrote 11 books on the Holocaust, published between 1979 and 2003.
Inspiration for Sir Martin’s work on The Holocaust
In the summer of 1959, while still at Oxford as an undergraduate, I went to Poland, which was then behind the Iron Curtain. This Polish visit – the first of many – had two major repercussions on my future research and writing: First: I travelled to Poland with another undergraduate, Richard Gott, who became my first pupil after I graduated. He and I were to co-author my first book (“our” book), The Appeasers, about British policy before the Second World War.”
The second repercussion of my 1959 Polish visit was a growing interest in the Holocaust. This led to eleven books in all, researched and written over the next forty-three years. The Holocaust, Kristallnacht, Auschwitz and the Allies, Surviving the Holocaust, Atlas of the Holocaust, Final Journey, The Boys, The Righteous, Never Again, The Holocaust Journey and The Holocaust Maps and Photographs.
I made four further visits to Poland in 1968, 1980 ,1981,1997 and 2010.
The second book had its origins in the request by twelve MA students at University College, London, whom I was teaching for the year, and who asked me to take them to the places that I had been teaching about.
I was flattered to be asked, planned the journey, bought the train tickets, booked the hotels, and kept a diary of the journey.
The diary was published as Holocaust Journey: Travelling in Search of the Past. We visited Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and Auschwitz.
Special thanks are due to a number of survivors who guided me in my researches, spoke to me about their own experiences, or gave me contemporary documents. I was particularly helped by Rabbi Hugo Gryn. For more than a decade, he has encouraged me to seek out, and to set down, the facts of what is, inevitably, a painful story.
Sir Martin’s Travel Diary to Poland
Read about Sir Martin’s adventures in his personal Travel Diary Poland 1980 researching the Holocaust.
Sir Martin & Film
Auschwitz Secrets Of The Dead, The Story Of Escapee Rudolf Vrba
A clip from the film The Rescuers, of Sir Martin at Wannsee, courtesy of Michael King:
Sir Martin’s Holocaust Blogs
Sir Martin’s Holocaust Book Talks
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