The mass killings took place across the Eastern Front, in seven countries formerly part of the Soviet Union invaded by Nazi Germany. They followed a secret template, or repeatable script, that included a timetable and involved local inhabitants in the mechanics of death to ensure complicity, whether it was to cook for the killers, to clear, dig, and cover the graves, to witness their Jewish neighbors being marched off, or to take part in the slaughter.
Narrating in lucid, powerful prose that has the immediacy of a crime report, Father Desbois assembles a chilling account of how, concretely, these events took place in village after village, from the selection of the date to the twenty-four-hour period in which the mass murders unfolded. Today, such groups as ISIS put into practice the Nazis' lessons on making genocide efficient
SubtitleThe Secret Procedures behind the Holocaust by Bullets
AuthorBy Father Patrick Desbois, Introduction by Andrej Umansky
Published23 January 2018
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.
Illustrations25 B & W Photos.
About the author
Father Patrick Desbois is president of Yahad in Unum, founded with Cardinal Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, and Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, and holds an endowed professorship at Georgetown University. He is the author of The Holocaust by Bullets, winner of the 2008 National Jewish Book Award, and has received numerous honors for his groundbreaking work on the Holocaust, including the Humanitarian Award from the US Holocaust Museum. He travels extensively for speaking engagements and has appeared twice on 60 Minutes. He resides in Washington, DC, and Paris, France.
“Were it not for Father Desbois and his team, most of us would still think the Holocaust was carried out in secret, behind the walls of the concentration camps. We would not have to consider the mothers and fathers who brought their children to watch the mass murder of innocent Jews. Or confront the fact that so many helped willingly and many more watched. Genocide, we learn from Desbois, ‘does not happen without the neighbors.’ It is not happening today ‘without the neighbors.’ And the reality for us all is that we are ‘the neighbors.’ Anyone who cares about humanity will not want to miss this book.”—Lara Logan, 60 Minutes
"The late Congressman Tom Lantos warned that ‘The veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians, and we can never rest.’ Fr. Desbois's chilling new book shows us a world stripped of its veneer of civilization, decency, and humanity. After reading his account, we cannot sleep well—Fr. Desbois doesn't intend us to."—Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President, Lantos Foundation
“Father Patrick Desbois expands on his earlier study of the Holocaust by Bullets with a deeply disturbing and penetrating account of the mass shooting process as a two-day event that started with a German official's calculation—the dimensions of the mass grave based on the size of the local Jewish population—and ended with Ukrainians, Poles, Russians, and other locals wearing the clothing of their murdered Jewish neighbors. Desbois's unusual book is a hybrid read—a lyrical memoir of rural life, a graphic crime report that jolts your sensibilities and senses, and an exhortation to investigate genocidaires both past and present. This is among the most detailed and precise accounts of the intense timing and routine methods employed by the Nazis and their collaborators in their torture, murder, and theft of 2.2 million Jews in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.” —Wendy Lower, John K. Roth Professor of History at Claremont Mckenna College, director of the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights, and author of the National Book Award finalist Hitler’s Furies
"Father Desbois is a generation too late to save lives. Instead, he has saved memory and history." —Wall Street Journal
"[Desbois] is a human bridge between the modern Jewish world and the Catholic Church and a major conduit through which the Holocaust will be remembered." —Christian Science Monitor