“HOLOCAUST BY BULLETS”

October 09, 2019 at 4:45 am

As Jews around the tri-state observe the start of Yom Kippur, we have the story of a Catholic priest on a mission to find the remains of 2 million victims of genocide by unearthing the trail of bullets the Nazis left behind.

Aired on October 8, 2019. 

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>>> TONIGHT MARKS THE HOLIEST
DAY ON THE JEWISH CALENDAR, YOM
KIPPUR.
A DAY OF FASTING.
WE BRING YOU A STORY ABOUT
JEWISH HISTORY.
ONE THAT LARGELY WOULD HAVE BEEN
LOST TO HISTORY HAD IT NOT BEEN
FOR THE WORK OF ONE CATHOLIC
PRIEST.
FATHER PATRICK DUBOIS SPENT OVER
A DECADE INVESTIGATING WHAT'S
BEEN CALLED THE HOLOCAUST BY
BULLETS.
HE AND HIS TEAM HAVE TRAVELED
ACROSS EASTERN EUROPE IN SEARCH
OF MASS GRAVES USED BY NAZI
GERMANY KILLING SQUADS TO BURY
SOME 2 MILLION JEWS OR ROUGHLY
ONE-THIRD WHO DIED DURING THE
HOLOCAUST.
THEIR DEATHS HAVE LONG BEEN
OVERSHADOWED BY THE VICTIMS OF
CONCENTRATION CAMPS INSPECT THE
FORMER SOVIET UNION, THE MURDER
THERE WAS LOCAL.
VILLAGES BECAME MASS GRAVES AS
RESIDENTS BORE WITNESS.
FATHER PATRICK DUBOIS JOINS ME
TO TALK MORE ABOUT HIS WORK.
IT'S A PLEASURE TO MEET YOU.
THANK YOU FOR COMING IN AND
SPENDING TIME WITH US HERE.
YOU ARE A CATHOLIC PRIEST.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
>> YOU ARE NOT A HISTORIAN.
YOU ARE NOT A DETECTIVE.
SO WHAT THEN DREW YOU TO THIS
AND MADE THIS BECOME ESSENTIALLY
YOUR LIFE'S CALLING?
>> FIRST, IT WAS A FAMILY STORY.
MY GRANDFATHER HAS BEEN DEPORTED
AND I REALIZED THAT IN A SMALL
VILLAGE WHEN HE WAS -- WHERE
17,000, 18,000 JEWS WERE SHOT
AND YOU COULD FIND NOTHING.
AND IT WASN'T KNOWN.
I BEGAN TO ASK, WHERE ARE THE
MASS GRAVES OF THE JEWS?
WHEN I FOUND THE FIRST ONE I
REALIZED THEY KILLED JEWS AND
THE FULL CONTINENT OF
EXTERMINATION.
IT'S WHY WE HAVE EFFECTIVELY --
>> SO THE NUMBER, IN SORT OF
LOOKING AT THE WORK YOU'VE DONE
AND LISTENING TO SOME OF YOUR
STORIES, I WAS STRUCK BY THE
NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE
BEEN DISCOVERING.
THE GRAVES, THE BODIES.
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THAT
NUMBER?
>> YEAH, I WAS VERY SURPRISED.
AND ALL PEOPLE OF MY TEAM.
THEY WERE SURPRISED.
I REMEMBER THE BIGGEST MASS
GRAVE, 54,000 PEOPLE.
IT WAS -- THEY TOLD THEM THEY GO
TO PALESTINE.
THEY TOOK A TRAIN.
AND AFTER ONE HOUR, THE TRAIN
STOPPED.
IT WAS FINISHED.
NO PALESTINE.
AND THEY HAD TO WALK KILOMETERS
TO 29 PIGSTIES AND SUDDENLY
AROUND CHRISTMAS THE ROMANIANS
DECIDED TO SHOOT THEM.
THEY REFUSED TO GO, THE FIRST
ONES, SO THEY PUT BARBED WIRES
AROUND ONE OF THE PIGSTY AND
BURNED THEM ALIVE.
>> AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, HOW DO
YOU FIND THESE SITES?
>> WE FIND THAT THROUGH THE
ARCHIVES.
WE WORK REALLY LIKE POLICE WITH
SOVIET AND GERMAN ARCHIVES.
AND MY TEAM WILL GO 11 PERSON ON
THE GROUND.
WE TRAIN YOUNG PEOPLE TO DO
THAT.
AND WITH METAL DETECTOR, WE LOOK
FOR THE CARTRIDGES AND INTERVIEW
THE PEOPLE THAT WERE PRESENT AT
THE KILLING BECAUSE WE USE A LOT
OF PEOPLE AND EVERYBODY WANTED
TO WATCH.
I REMEMBER IN A VILLAGE, THE
DIRECTOR OF THE SCHOOL SAY
TOMORROW NO SCHOOL BECAUSE WE
KILL OUR ENEMIES.
AND SO THE MORNING AFTER 37
CHILDREN RUN TO THE PLACE AND IT
WAS TOO EARLY.
THE GERMANS WERE NOT HERE AND
THE JEWS, AND THEY WAITED TO
SHOW THE SHOOTING.
WE CRIED ALL THE DAY.
AND I SAID WHAT DID YOU SAY?
AND THEY TOLD ME BECAUSE IT WAS
DISTRESSING FOR THE CHILDREN.
SO I HAD TO -- IN A GENOCIDE,
WHEN YOU WERE SURE YOU WERE NOT
JEW, YOU WERE NOT GYPSY, NOT
GAY, NOT COMMUNIST, SO IT WAS
INTERESTING TO WATCH.
WHEN YOU ARE SAFE, PEOPLE LIKE
TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE BEING
KILLED.
>> YOU ARE TRYING, AMONG OTHER
THINGS, TO GET THE WORLD TO
UNDERSTAND, TO KNOW WHAT
HAPPENED HERE.
ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF WHAT'S
HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD NOW
AND YOU LOOK AT WHAT ISIS IS
DOING.
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION YOU'RE
SEEING AND WHAT IS --
>> THE CONNECTION --
>> THE MESSAGE YOU ARE HOPE --
>> THE CONNECTION FOR THE
KILLING UNITS OF THE GERMAN.
THE BIG QUESTION WE HAVE IS HOW
SO FEW PEOPLE WITH THE HELP OF
THE NEIGHBORS COULD KILL SO MANY
PEOPLE.
YOU KNOW 2 MILLION JEWS HAVE
BEEN SHOT, PLUS THE -- HOW COULD
WE SUCCEED.
WE FOUGHT TRAIN, CAMP, FENCES.
WE ARE READY TO STUDY BECAUSE
TODAY, TODAY THE -- TODAY THERE
IS NO AUSCHWITZ ANYWHERE.
AND TODAY IN MIDDLE EAST, NOW
TODAY WE ARE BACK TO KILL FACE
TO FACE, ONE BY ONE, AND PEOPLE
COME TO SHOOT IN PARIS OR TO
SHOOT IN TOULOUSE OR IN THEIR
OWN COUNTRY, THEY DO IT ONE BY
ONE.
AND I THINK AFTER AUSCHWITZ, THE
MASS KILLERS DECIDED TO STOP
AUSCHWITZ AND SAY, NO, NOW WE
COME BACK KILLING PERSONAL
CRIME.
SO WE HAVE TO STUDY HOLOCAUST BY
BULLETS BECAUSE IT'S -- OF MASS
CRIMES OF TODAY.
>> WHEN YOU MEET UP WITH THESE
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW OLD AND YOU
TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN
THEIR VILLAGE.
OUR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DAVE
BROWN, HIS GRANDFATHER SURVIVED
THE CAMPS.
CAME BACK TO HIS HOMETOWN IN
POLAND, AND HE WAS PART OF A
GROUP THAT THEY ACTUALLY DUG UP
THE BODIES OF -- CALLED THE
MARTYRS OF THE FOREST, AND THEY
PROVIDED A PROPER BURIAL FOR
THEM.
HE HAS A PICTURE OF THAT.
SO THERE IS A COMMUNITY COMING
BACK TO EMBRACE THEIR OWN
COMMUNITY.
DID THE -- DID YOU FIND WHEN YOU
TALKED TO THESE PEOPLE THAT
THERE WAS ANY GUILT AMONGST THE
ONES WHO WITNESSED THIS?
>> SO I WOULD SAY NO.
THE FIRST THING THEY WANT TO
SPEAK.
THEY WANT TO SPEAK.
THEY KNOW THE POOREST PEOPLE
CARRY THE SECRET OF HOLOCAUST.
AND SO WHY THEY WANT TO SPEAK?
THERE'S A PROVERB.
TO SAY THE WORD IT'S FINISHED
WHEN WE BURY THE LAST VICTIM.
FOR THEM, WHY COME TO FINISH THE
WORK.
>> THEY ARE PAINFUL MEMORIES,
DIFFICULT MEMORIES BUT THEY ARE
MEMORIES THAT WE NEED TO CAPTURE
AND TO HOLD SO THAT HOPEFULLY
THINGS LIKE THIS NEVER HAPPEN
AGAIN.
THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO TELL
THOSE STORIES.
FATHER, IT'S A PLEASURE MEETING
YOU.
TAKE CARE NOW.
>> YOU, TOO.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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