How the Murder of More Than Two Million Jews Was Carried Out—In Broad Daylight
Based on a decade of work by Father Patrick Desbois and his team at Yahad–In Unum that has culminated to date in interviews with more than 5,700 neighbors to the murdered Jews and visits to more than 2,700 extermination sites, many of them unmarked.
One key finding: Genocide does not happen without the neighbors. The neighbors are instrumental to the crime.
In his National Jewish Book Award–winning book The Holocaust by Bullets, Father Patrick Desbois documented for the first time the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine during World War II. Nearly a decade of further work by his team, drawing on interviews with neighbors of the Jews, wartime records, and the application of modern forensic practices to long-hidden grave sites. has resulted in stunning new findings about the extent and nature of the genocide.
In Broad Daylight documents mass killings in seven countries formerly part of the Soviet Union that were invaded by Nazi Germany. It shows how these murders followed a template, or script, which included a timetable that was duplicated from place to place. Far from being kept secret, the killings were done in broad daylight, before witnesses. Often, they were treated as public spectacle. The Nazis deliberately involved the local inhabitants in the mechanics of death—whether it was to cook for the killers, to dig or cover the graves, to witness their Jewish neighbors being marched off, or to take part in the slaughter. They availed themselves of local people and the structures of Soviet life in order to make the Eastern Holocaust happen.
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.
The book includes an historical introduction by Andrej Umansky, research fellow at the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, University of Cologne, Germany, and historical and legal advisor to Yahad-In Unum.
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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.
Table of Contents
Historical Introduction Andrej Umansky vii
Part 1 The Night Before
1 The Architect 15
2 The Requisitions 24
3 The Diggers 47
4 The Night 58
5 The Rapes 69
Part 2 The Morning
6 Barriers 77
7 The Column of Jews 84
8 The Girl in Love 91
9 The Director of the Trucking Company 98
10 The Transporters of Jews 105
11 The Layers of Planks 114
Part 3 The Day
12 The Dance 127
13 The Cooks and the Shooters 134
14 The Curious Children 145
15 The Child with the Bullets 152
16 The Forced Witnesses 156
17 A German Soldier as Spectator 163
18 The Transporter of Clothing 171
19 The Teachers 178
Part 4 The Evening
20 The Fillers 187
21 The Sale 197
Part 5 The Day After
22 The Auctions 203
23 The Coats 211
24 The Patchworker 217
25 The Sanitizer 221
26 The Method 225
Conclusion: The Photographer 244
What People are Saying About This
Father Patrick Desbois's Awards and Honors
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is one of the most powerful and important books I have read. Very very disturbing. What happened in the killing fields was horrendous. Not just to the victims but the actions of the towns people is extremely hard to stomach. We need to learn many important lessons from this book. I highly encourage all to read this book. He is speaking this Thursday, April 5 at Goergetown University.