Lucjan Dobroszycki was born to a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland and was still a teenager when Nazi Germany invaded his homeland in World War II. He and his family were trapped in the Łódź Ghetto for four years and then deported to the extermination camp at Auschwitz, He alone survived and returned to Łódź after the war to attend the university there. He then earned undergraduate and master's degrees at the University of Leningrad and began his work as a historian. Dr. Dobroszycki's main focus throughout his career was the Nazi Occupation of Poland and the Holocaust.
His books included Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Life in Poland 1864-1939 (1977), with Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett; The Jews in Polish Culture (1988) with by Aleksander Hertz, Czesław Miłosz, and Richard Lourie; The Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Studies and Sources on the Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR, 1941-1945 with Jeffrey S. Gurock; Survivors of the Holocaust in Poland: A Portrait Based on Jewish Community Records 1944-1947; and his doctoral thesis, Reptile Journalism: The Official Polish Language Press Under the Nazis 1939-45, which was translated into English and published the year before his death. He served as the editor of the first English translation of The Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto: 1941-1944 (1984), day-by-day materials assembled clandestinely by a team of the Ghetto residents, and of the diary of Dawid Sierakowiak. He was a visiting scholar in Jerusalem in June 1967, before a wave of Polish anti-Semitism caused him to emigrate with his wife and daughter to the USA in 1970. They settled in New York City, where he joined the research staff of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and became Zborowski Professor of Interdisciplinary Holocaust Studies at Yeshiva University.