Monday, November 24, 2008

Holocaust by Bullets Now Open

Today marked the opening of the Museum's latest exhibition The Shooting of Jews in Ukraine: Holocaust by Bullets. Between 1941 and 1944, almost 1.5 million Jews were murdered when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Most were shot by mobile killing units consisting of German SS, army, police, and local collaborators. This exhibition presents the evidence, both physical and testimonial, gathered by Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois and his team from Yahad-In Unum. Interviews with Ukrainian bystanders and witnesses, together with photographs, artifacts, and text panels tell the chilling story of men, women, and children who were summarily executed near the places they lived, with their neighbors watching.

Created by the Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris last year, this exhibit is being presented for the first time in the United States and is the first exhibition that focuses on the Holocaust in Ukraine. Father Desbois spoke to a full house last night in Edmond J. Safra Hall. Meeting him at this morning's press breakfast was a real honor. Listening to him speak, you can hear how passionate he is in his mission to speak on behalf of victims whose tragic stories have not left the towns where they lived (and died) over 60 years ago. As he mentioned today, gathering testimony from those who know their fates and saw what happened is a "race against time." Many of the witnesses are elderly and have never told what they witnessed simply because no one had ever asked.

Holocaust by Bullets will be on display at the Museum until February 16.

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