Auschwitz Museum Receives 1st Ever “Holocaust by Bullets” Training

Yahad – In Unum Provides Inaugural Training on Hidden Holocaust Era

The staff of Auschwitz Museum in Oswiecim, Poland has completed its first ever “Holocaust by Bullets” training program with Yahad – In Unum (YIU), the world’s leading expert on the lesser-known part of the genocide. The week-long program for over 130 museum guides and staff members took place January 15 – 19, 2018, covering the lost history of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and the findings of the forensic research and investigations of Yahad – In Unum. The program allowed museum guides to deepen their knowledge about the mass shootings of over two million Jews by mobile Nazi death squads and their collaborators in Eastern Europe. The week’s lessons began with an address from Father Patrick Desbois, founder / President of Yahad – In Unum, renowned human rights activist and 2017 Lantos Human Rights Prize recipient. The program overlapped with the 73rd anniversary of the Auschwitz camp liberation and coincides with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th.

“The entire first phase of the Shoah, which took place on the occupied eastern territories of the Republic of Poland, nowadays mainly part of Belarus and Ukraine, has been for decades – especially in the West of Europe – much less known than everything that happened in extermination centers such as Birkenau, Treblinka or Belzec. In fact, a large part of this memory survived in documents, letters and memories of Jewish communities in these areas. Memory survived also among the local people who live there – Ukrainians, Belarusians and Poles. Using this local memory for historical research has been a great undertaking of the team led by Father Patrick Desbois for many years,” explains Piotr Cywinski, the Director of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

The systematic killing of all Jews started throughout the ex-Soviet Union from June 1941, before the creation of the extermination camps, and continued despite the existence of these camps. If Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Holocaust, the stories of hundreds of Jewish communities from former Soviet territories killed in mass graves remains less known. More than a third of the Jews killed during the genocide were murdered in mass graves in Eastern Europe, mostly in shootings perpetrated by special killing squads known as Einsatzgruppen and other units.

“This method of killing Jewish men, women and children, village by village, and leaving them in mass graves in forests, swamps or fields was systematically employed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe. Each killer saw his victim, each victim saw his killer,” explains Father Desbois. “Unfortunately, this is the same method being used today in the mass crimes which continue to take lives of innocent groups of people across the world”.

More about the “Holocaust by Bullets Training”
Yahad – In Unum researchers conducted a 9-hour “Holocaust By Bullets Training Program” designed for guides and educators. This was the first time that this unique and important educational opportunity was offered in Poland. After the opening lecture of Father Desbois, Patrice Bensimon, YIU Research Director and Michal Chojak, YIU Deputy Research Director, who have interviewed thousands of eyewitnesses of the Holocaust by Bullets, provided an enhanced presentation on the mass killings of Jews perpetrated by Nazis mobile units in Former Soviet Union after the launch of Operation Barbarossa. Over 130 guides took part in Level I of the training. Level II and Level III programs are planned for 2019 and 2020.

“During this special training session, the educators of the Auschwitz Memorial – many whose families come from the eastern territories of prewar Poland, therefore their knowledge in this field is not only historical, but often comes from family sources – were able to learn details about the overall research on the history of the extermination that had taken place months before creation of the first gas chambers, said Piotr Cywinski.”

Historical Background
Between 1941 and 1944, more than 2 million Jews were massacred when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Over a period of three and half years, the Nazis killed nearly every Jew in the region. The mass murder was part of the Holocaust, Hitler’s genocide of the Jewish people. Until recently, this chapter of Holocaust history, referred to as the “Holocaust by Bullets,” was little known. To date, Yahad-In Unum has identified over 2300 mass killing sites and interviewed over 5,700 local, non-Jewish eyewitnesses in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, Lithuania, the Republic of Macedonia and Poland. Since 2010, the organization has been conducting research in Poland. In its 7 years of research in the country, Yahad has interviewed 778 eyewitnesses of the Holocaust and investigated 420 mass killing sites. It is estimated that in less than five years, these witnesses will be gone.

About Father Patrick Desbois
Father Patrick Desbois is a French Roman Catholic priest who founded YIU to research and uncover genocidal practices around the world and to give a voice of protest on behalf of all past and present victims of mass murder. YIU was initially founded with the mission of locating the sites of mass graves of Jewish victims of the Nazi mobile-killing units in the former Soviet Union.His first book, “Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews,” is based on this work.His second book on this topic is due in 2018 titled “In Broad Daylight: The Secret Procedures Behind the Holocaust by Bullets.” Most recently, he spent the last two years with his team at YIU gathering testimony from survivors of the Yazidi massacres in Northern Iraq at the hands of ISIS. This research is covered in his book, “The Fabrication of Terrorists: Into the Secrets of ISIS.”

About Yahad-In Unum
Yahad-In Unum combines the Hebrew word Yahad which means “together”, with the Latin phrase In Unum, which means “in one.” Founded in 2004 by Father Patrick Desbois, the organization is dedicated to documenting the evidence of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and to work on the prevention of future genocides. Yahad-In Unum’s ongoing research on World War II crimes against Jews and Roma/Gypsy people in Eastern Europe has uncovered the location of more than 2,300 killing sites and documented more than 5,700 witness testimonies to these crimes.

Yahad-In Unum is not affiliated with any political party and does not advocate any economic or military action. Its mission is to discover the facts of genocidal practices wherever they are and provide a voice of protest on behalf of all victims of genocide and mass violence.

About Auschwitz Museum
The Museum located on the site of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp was established thanks to the efforts of former prisoners in 1947. Its objective is to preserve the remains of the former camp, commemorate all groups of victims and organize scientific and educational activities. The Memorial today is the area of almost 200 hectares, over 150 buildings and about 300 ruins, including remains of the gas chambers and crematoria blown up by the Germans. It also includes collections, archives and the world’s most extensive collection of works of art dedicated to Auschwitz. The conservation of the authenticity of the Memorial is possible thanks to one of the world’s most modern conservation laboratories created in 2003 with the support of Ronald S. Lauder. Today the preservation efforts are supported by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. In 1979 Auschwitz-Birkenau was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Auschwitz Museum