On February 27, the Holocaust by Bullets community-wide educational program and exhibit will open on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe.
“Holocaust by Bullets” is a program by Yahad-In Unum, a Paris-based non-governmental organization founded by Father Patrick Desbois, a Catholic priest and President of Yahad-In Unum. The exhibition highlights the difficult research required to identify and document the murders of more than 2 million Jews and Roma in the former Soviet Union. It examines 2,700 execution sites in 11 countries set up by Nazi killing squads.
The Phoenix Holocaust Association (PHA) sponsored the exhibit on the ASU campus and worked with the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS) to make it a reality. This exhibition is part of a series of programs for the 10th Annual Genocide Awareness Week in April hosted by SHPRS in conjunction with multiple units at ASU, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.
“The centerpiece of the PHA program is the exhibit at ASU, which offers visitors to the ASU library the opportunity to learn about the organized murder of Jews in broad daylight through photographs and quotes from eyewitnesses,” said Sheryl Bronkesh, President the PHA.
This is the first time the exhibition will open since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. Assistant Professor of History Volker Benkert directed the charge in organizing the arrival of the exhibition.
“Auschwitz-Birkenau is the widely recognized symbol of the Holocaust, standing for Nazi Germany’s systematic and industrial murder of Jews, Roma and many others,” said Benkert. “Nevertheless, Father Desbois’ work draws attention to the ‘Holocaust by Bullets’, the murders he committed ss and other units across Eastern Europe that ran parallel to the planned murder through starvation and work in ghettos and camps and the killing centers like Auschwitz.”
The exhibition opens at 3 p.m. on February 27 at the Hayden Library. this launch event Keynote speaker Rachael Cerrotti, an award-winning author, photographer, educator, audio producer, and first woman storyteller at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.
Cerrotti started a narrative podcast called “We share the same sky” in 2019, where she tells the story of her journey to retrace her grandmother’s Holocaust survival story over a decade. In 2021, Cerrotti published a paper of the same name.
“I know Father Desbois and all his work very well and it’s incredible,” said Cerrotti. “Being asked to take some time and think about how his work related to my work was an exercise in paying attention to different things and being encouraged to make connections that no one had asked me to make before, and I really appreciate the opportunity.”
Holocaust by Bullets is on view at the Hayden Library through April 17. Members of the ASU community have access to the exhibit at any time during library hours. Non-ASU community members have access to the exhibit during docent-led tours on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Mondays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m
Anyone who would like to attend Cerrotti’s lecture can do so to register participate in person or online.
Other programs related to Genocide Awareness Week include a Holocaust Educators Conference on February 28th in collaboration with the Bureau of Jewish Education and on April 4th a concert by the Phoenix Boys Choir before Father Desbois’ keynote speech and a concert by the Rural Street Klezmer Band.