On a personal “holy mission” of identifying and marking at least 1.5 million graves of murdered victims of Nazism killing squads, Fr. Patrick Desbois, a Catholic priest and professor at Georgetown University, has devoted his life to awakening the world’s attention to mass genocide.
Fr. Patrick Desbois will discuss his life’s work at the 20th Annual Jacoby-Lunin and Open VISIONS Forum lecture entitled, “A Voice of Conscience: Uncovering Mass Murder from the Holocaust to Today” on Wednesday, November 15 at 8 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
Fr. Debois made world news headlines for his pioneering efforts uncovering the Third Reich’s killing fields of Eastern Europe and the Ukraine. His award-winning book, The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews, is an autobiography, travelogue, and collection of transcripts written as he revisited dozens of sites where Hitler’s soldiers and local militias brutally executed Jews.
Fr. Desbois has spent most of his life in the service of others, from helping to construct homes for the dying with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, to his current vocation shedding light on the often overlooked tragedies of mass execution and genocide. He has always had an interest in the Holocaust, as his grandfather had been deported to the Nazi prison camp in Rawa-Ruska during World War II. Wanting to learn more about his grandfather’s experience as a POW, he began to research the story of the Jews, Roma and other victims murdered in Eastern Europe during WWII by the Nazi mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen.
“Aiming to connect the atrocities of the Holocaust with modern acts of genocide, Father Desbois will share with us his decades-long commitment to identifying sites of mass execution, and to giving voice to those who were there, yet survived,” said Professor and Director of the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies Ellen M. Umansky, PhD. “I am deeply honored by Fr. Desbois' agreeing to be with us. I know that all of us will leave his lecture both humbled and inspired.”
Fr. Desbois, a professor at Georgetown University, is president of the international organization, Yahad-In Unum, [Hebrew and Latin for “Together in One”] charged with its mission to prevent genocide and mass killings anywhere in the world and to identify and commemorate the sites of Jewish and Roma mass executions in Eastern Europe during World War II. Additionally, Fr. Desbois sheds lights on the mass murders in Cambodia, Darfur, and Rwanda and has worked vigilantly to memorialize millions of anonymous victims. His humanitarian work has been recognized through numerous awards and public commentary in France and throughout the world. His book, The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews, was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award.
This year’s Annual Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lectureship is co-sponsored by the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and the Open VISIONS forum, and is funded by the Frank Jacoby Foundation.
The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information about other events and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.