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Between 1941 and 1944, one and a half million Ukrainian Jews were assassinated when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The immense majority was killed by Einsatzgruppen firing squads. Hitler's hatred of both communism and the Jewish religion met in this unprecedented explosion of violence. There has been very little information about these particular atrocities; the story of the "Shoah by bullet" in the Ukraine is practically unknown. A French priest, Father Patrick Desbois, has conducted relentless research for the past few years, in the Ukraine and in the U.S. to unearth this story.
During World War II, Father Desbois' grandfather had been deported to stalag 325 in Rawa-Ruska to be interned with 25,000 French prisoners. During their days of hard labor, they often worked alongside imprisoned Jews and were even forced to watch summary executions of Jews. The recollections of his grandfather left their mark on Father Desbois. He travelled to the Ukraine, and has been trying to bring to light the story of the suffering of the Ukrainian Jews. In his tireless search for eyewitnesses, he visits the remotest corners of the country. Witnesses come forward, hesitantly at first, urged on by Catholic bishops in the area. Thanks to their testimonies, the bodies of thousands of victims have been discovered. They will receive a final resting place, consecrated by a rabbi and take their place in Holocaust history.
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