Yahad In-Unum is delighted to announce that its founder and President, Father Patrick Desbois, will be the recipient of this year’s Lantos Human Rights Prize. Father Desbois is being recognized for his unparalleled work in uncovering the lost stories of over one million victims of the “Holocaust by Bullets” period of World War II as well as his continuing fight against anti-Semitism and genocide throughout the world. This prize is an honor for Yahad and for Father Desbois.
The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice will present their most distinguished prize at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2017, at the U.S. Capital. Father Desbois joins distinguished alumni of recipients that include the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and Vian Dakhil (aka “ISIS’ Most Wanted”).
“At a time when anti-Semitic acts are surging globally, Father Desbois’ work is more important than ever,” says Lantos Foundation President Katrina Lantos Swett. “Exposing the truth, honoring the victims, and memorializing these events is a vital safeguard against a repetition of these horrors. The Lantos Foundation is honored to recognize him for this noble mission.”
Father Patrick Desbois is a French Roman Catholic priest who founded Yahad-In Unum to research and uncover genocidal practices around the world and to give a voice of protest on behalf of all past and present victims of mass murder. Yahad-In Unum was initially founded with the mission of locating the sites of mass graves of Jewish victims of the Nazi mobile-killing units in the former Soviet Union. His first book, “Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews,” is based on this work. His second book on this topic is due in 2018 titled “In Broad Daylight: The Secret Procedures Behind the Holocaust by Bullets.”
Most recently, he has spent the last two years with his team at Yahad In-Unum gathering testimony from survivors of the Yazidi massacres in Northern Iraq at the hands of ISIS. This research is covered in his book, “The Fabrication of Terrorists: Into the Secrets of ISIS.”
Desbois is a Braman Endowed Professor of the Practice of the Forensic Study of the Holocaust at the Center for Jewish Civilization of Georgetown University. He served as the director of the Episcopal Committee for Relations with Judaism, which is connected to the French Conference of Bishops, and as a consultant to the Vatican on relations with Judaism.
Very notably, Desbois’ work was sanctioned and lauded by Pope Francis. He has been recognized and honored by the President of France as a Légion d’honneur recipient. Other awards include the Medal of Valor by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Roger E. Joseph Prize by Hebrew Union College, the Humanitarian Award by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jan Karski Award by the American Jewish Committee, the B’nai B’rith International Award, the National Jewish Book Award and the LBJ Moral Courage Award from the Holocaust Museum Houston.
“It is a proud moment to be recognized by such an active organization in the fight for human rights and decency,” says Desbois. “It is a fight we must, unfortunately, carry on, as the lessons of WWII have fallen on deaf ears on so many in Europe the US and across the world. However, I accept this award with steadfast hope that human decency coupled with history will eventually cure us of the disease called genocide.”
The Lantos Foundation established the Lantos Human Rights Prize in 2009 to honor and bring attention to heroes of the human rights movement. It is awarded annually to an individual or organization that best exemplifies the Foundation’s mission, namely to be a vital voice standing up for the values of decency, dignity, freedom, and justice in every corner of the world. The prize also serves to honor the memory and legacy of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress and a leading advocate for human rights during his nearly three decades as a U.S. Representative.