Thursday, October 6, 2016
The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews
The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews by Patrick Desbois is not a particularly well structured or well-written book, but its importance far outweighs its narrative flaws. Father Desbois spent the better part of a decade in rural, western Ukraine, searching out the mass graves of the Holocaust.
Without his efforts, much of the testimony gathered in this book would be forever lost. Most of the people interviewed are old Ukrainian peasants who were children when the mass extermination of the Jews began. They were able to assist Father Desbois in finding mass graves. In turn, he collaborated their locations using German and Russian documents. He even oversaw a dig of a mass grave.
This is important work. A million and half Jews were killed with guns. There was no need for capos, workers in crematorium, prisoners to maintain a work or death camp. So nearly all Jews were immediately killed; Jewish survivors are few and far between.
So Father Dusbois’ work is a vital part of the history of the Holocaust. There are thousands of mass graves in the Ukraine. And he has done much work in identifying them, and in many cases, commemorating the sites.