Father Patrick Desbois will share how his global humanitarian organization documented the murdеrs of 2.2 million in the former Soviet Union on April 19.
With a life devoted to researching the Holocaust and fighting anti-Semitism, the rare public appearance by Father Desbois in Milwaukee launches the five-week run of the Holocaust by Bullets exhibit at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Helfaer Community Service Building.
Over the past decade, his organization Yahad-In Unum (“together” in Hebrew and Latin), a Paris-based non-profit has been dedicated to systematically identifying and documenting sites of Jewish and Roma mass executions by Nazi mobile-kiIIing units in Eastern Europe during World War II. To date, the organization has identified the murdеrs of 2.2 million at 1,893 execution sites in 7 countries, which includes 4,714 videotaped eyewitness testimonies.
The exhibition presents the results of Yahad-In Unum’s 10 years of investigations and also underscores the Holocaust by Bullets as a precursor and model for mass crіmеs today. It will be on display, with free admission, April 20 to May 23. The form of genocide detailed is unlike any other research of genocidal activity ever conducted and presented.
The exhibit showcases the painstaking research to enable the visitor to uncover, step-by-step, the crіmе committed against Jews and Roma by the Nazi kiIIing units. It gives viewers a chance to learn about this lesser-known side of the Holocaust — started before the creation of concentration camps, through eyewitness video testimonies, photographs and quotes on the exterior panels. Cutouts in the panels present archival material inside the module.
“Because some of the images are disturbing, they have been presented in a thoughtful and discreet fashion, enabling the visitor to view them at his or her own discretion,” says Father Desbois. “The visitor in effect becomes a ‘witness’ to the crіmе, choosing to delve deeper into the findings.”
Father Desbois is a Professor at Georgetown University, where he is on the faculty for the Center for Jewish Civilization. He also served as director of the Episcopal Committee for Catholic-Judeo Relations from 1999 until 2016, under the auspices of the French Conference of Bishops. His work through Yahad has been recognized through numerous awards and public commentary throughout the world. He is the author of The Holocaust by Bullets, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and the recently released The Fabric of Terrorists: Into the Secrets of Daesh, based on his recent investigation of the Yezidid genocide in Iraq.