By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Many people are aware of the atrocities committed against people in concentration and death camps during the Holocaust. But precious few know about the millions of others killed throughout Eastern Europe by the bullets of the Third Reich.
“It is important,” emphasized Mary Pat Higgins, president and CEO of The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, “that we continue to study these sites and the testimonies of witnesses as, tragically, this method of killing continues to be used in genocides to this day.”
The museum’s new special exhibit, Holocaust by Bullets, Yahad-In Unum — 10 Years of Investigations, chronicles this lesser-known side of the Holocaust. It is based on a decade of investigation and research by Yahad-In Unum, the French organization founded to locate the sites of mass graves of Jewish victims of the Nazi mobile killing units.
This exhibit illustrates the mass killings of Jews, which started before the creation of gas chambers and concentration camps and continued until the Second World War concluded.
The exhibit — presented and sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas — opened Sept. 10 with a lecture by Yahad-In Unum Project Manager Alexis Kosarevskyi and Yahad-In Unum Cofounder Marco Gonzalez. It runs through Dec. 31.
As many as 2 million Jews were shot to death and left in unmarked mass graves across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, conclusions show. Holocaust by Bullets details the five stages of each massacre: the arrest, the road, the undressing, the shooting, and — after the executions — the looting.
Investigators used eyewitness testimonies, photographs and maps to help viewers learn more about these war crimes.
Yahad-In Unum was founded in Paris in 2004 by leaders in the French Catholic and Jewish communities and is founded and led by Father Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest whose grandfather was a French soldier deported to the Nazi prison camp Rava-Ruska, located in a Ukrainian town that borders Poland.
The group’s American fundraising branch is the American Friends of Yahad-In Unum.
The investigation has uncovered more than 1,700 mass killing sites in Europe. One horrific conclusion by investigators is that current-day massacres in areas such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, the Balkans and Syria sometimes mirror the on-site, village-by-village massacres committed by the Third Reich and Nazi collaborators.
Kevin J. Farrell, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to bring the exhibit to Dallas.
“Holocaust by Bullets brings to light the profound work of Father Patrick Desbois to uncover the truth behind the gruesome and inhumane murders of 2 million Jews,” Farrell said “The exhibit’s unique design aims to draw the visitor in to become a ‘witness’ to the crime and therefore create a deeper understanding of the genocide.”
Holocaust by Bullets is presented in English and Spanish.
The website for the display is http://www.yahadinunum.org.
A study guide for educators is now available on that site.