Operation Barbarossa Commemoration

Holocaust by bullets and Yahad – In Unum’s research into the murder of 2 million Soviet Jews
A program by Ewa Schaller and Todd Hennessy, representatives of Yahad-in Unum

Third Annual Operation Barbarossa Commemoration
June 24, 2024 at 6:30 pm
Social Hall – Jewish Community Campus
Free and open to the public

June 22, 1941 marked the start of Operation Barbarossa, codename for the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, and it became a turning point in the Nazi policy of annihilation of the Jews of Europe.  Before any of the killing centers became operational, thousands of Jews had already been murdered by bullets in the fields, forests and ravines of the former Soviet Union. Men, women, and children were led right outside the towns in which they lived, murdered, before the eyes of their neighbors, and buried in mass graves, many of which remain unmarked to this day.

Between 1941 and 1944, over 2 million Jewish victims perished in what we call today the Holocaust by bullets. Over the years, Babyn Yar has become an iconic representation of this history. There are, however, thousands of sites like this infamous ravine, scattered all across Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. This program explores that history and the work of Yahad-in Unum.

Yahad – In Unum (“Together In One”) is a Paris-based non-profit organization established in 2004 by Father Patrick Desbois and dedicated to systematically reconstructing the crimes of the Holocaust in countless towns and villages of Eastern Europe, and identifying the sites of murder. As of December 2023, Yahad’s teams have conducted 210 investigative trips to eleven Eastern European countries; they have identified over 3,300 killing sites, and collected nearly 8,000 eyewitness testimonies to the murder of East-European Jews. Along with archival information, they constitute irrefutable evidence of the crimes perpetrated in the East, far from concentration camps and killing centers, and they remain relevant, today more than ever, while we confront rising antisemitism and other forms of prejudice and hatred.

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