Friday, February 05, 2010
February 5, 2010. Auschwitz in Poland, may be the most well-known concentration camp, but it’s not the only one. These camps of horror are widespread throughout Russia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
It’s estimated, 11 million people were executed in camps like these. But Nazis are also known for killing thousands more for the same reasons outside the walls of the camps.
Fathers, mothers and children lie in mass graves throughout Eastern Europe waiting for a proper burial.
Father Patrick Desbois, the person who heads Yahad-In Unum, wants to find the bodies of the victims the Nazis killed and lay them to rest with dignity.
Father Patrick Desbois
President Yachad in Unum
“So the main challenge for now is to find all the main graves of Jews and gipsies who were been killed in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.”
The name of the association is in Hebrew and Latin, ‘Yahad’ and ‘In Unum’ both mean together. The group is a clear example of how the Jewish and Catholic communities are collaborating to close the wounds caused by the Holocaust.
With the help of written testimonies and eye witnesses who say they saw Nazis drag Jews into forests to be executed, Yahad-In-Unum searches for mass graves in the outskirts of Ukraine. The organizers aim to give family members of the deceased a tomb and their loved ones a proper burial so they can be remembered.
Father Patrick Desbois
President Yahad in Unum
“We found seven hundreds extermination sites and interviewed 1 thousand five hundred witnesses representing the killing side to testimony to know where are because, the Jews have never been buried or the gipsies either.”
The Catholic priest works with people from other religious backgrounds in this project that goes beyond inter-religious dialogue.
Rabbi Joseph Levi
Chief Rabbi of Florence
“In this sense we see how with help from the Church, Father Desvois has introduced a very important project to uncover another dark side of the Holocaust some may not know about .”
Rabino David Rosen
International Director of Inter-religious Affairs
“The Catholic priest and his colleagues are dedicating themselves to looking after, finding, discovering, rehabilitating Jewish cemeteries. There could not be a more wonderful testimony of friendship and mutual respect.”
Yahad-In Unum doesn’t seek to reopen old wounds, rather make for effective dialogue between people of faith. Jews and Catholics cooperating so that hundreds of Holocaust victims can now rest in peace.