Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews
Father Patrick Desbois examines the site of a mass grave. Ukraine, 2006–07. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Patrick Desbois
Father Patrick Desbois speaks about The Holocaust By Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews. Rochester, September, 2010. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Seniors from the United States Military Academy at West Point view bullets collected by Father Desbois on display in the Some Were Neighbors exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Washington, DC, February 2014. US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Father Patrick Desbois in the Some Were Neighbors exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The exhibition features items he has found at killing sites. Washington, DC, April 2014. US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Father Patrick Desbois in his offices. Paris, France, November 2010. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Portrait of Father Patrick Desbois. Paris, France, 2010. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
143 discharged non-disintegrating link ammunition belt pieces for MG 34 and 42 German machine guns, recovered in 2005 by Yahad-In Unum at a mass execution site in Khvativ, a small village in the Lvivska province of Ukraine. An ammunition belt is used to load cartridges into an automatic weapon. US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Yahad-in Unum More
Shovel blade excavated ca. 2005 by Yahad-In Unum from a mass execution and grave site in Ukraine. The German occupying forces often made civilians dig graves, transport Jews to killing sites, and fill in the graves after mass shootings. US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Yahad-in Unum More
Father Patrick Desbois, president of the Yahad–In Unum Association, has devoted his life to confronting antisemitism and furthering Catholic-Jewish understanding. Since 2001, he has led a truly historic undertaking.
Working closely with Museum staff and using the Museum’s archives to aid his search, Father Desbois and his team have crisscrossed the countryside in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Lithuania, and Romania in an effort to locate every mass grave and site at which Jews, Roma, and other victims were killed during the Holocaust. To date, they have identified 1,617 of an estimated 2,000 such locations. They are also collecting artifacts and, most significantly, recording video testimonies from eyewitnesses—many of whom are speaking publicly for the first time. To date, Yahad teams have interviewed 4,186 eyewitnesses. These invaluable testimonies will become part of the Yahad-In Unum Collection at the Museum. 1,393 of these testimonies are already available in the Museum’s library.
Father Desbois’ extraordinary work to preserve the memory of Ukraine’s former Jewish community and to advance understanding of the crimes committed there during the Holocaust has received international media attention, including coverage in Le Monde, The New York Times (external link), TIME Magazine (external link), and NBC Nightly News (external link).
His new book, The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews, was published with the Museum’s support.