If it were it not for Father Desbois and Yahad in Unum, visiting Auschwitz would only have had a fraction of the impact it had on me. This is because Father Desbois facilitated for us the building of memory of the Holocaust, and furthermore exposed us to the modern implications and societal impacts of what took place. – Brittany F.
Between March 7 – 11, 15 Georgetown students who had previously completed Father Desbois’s “Holocaust by Bullets” course at Georgetown University joined him and the Yahad investigation team in Ukraine and Poland for an educational trip focusing on the Holocaust in the East. Over the course of these five days, the students visited mass graves in Busk and sat in on witness interviews in Sokolivka, Ukraine, saw the protected mass grave in Rava-Ruska, and visited the Belzec extermination camp and the Auschwitz Memorial Museum in Poland. Reflecting on his experience, one of the student participants, Benjamin G., wrote, “From these contrasting experiences, the question arose within me: did Nazism win here? It was only upon reflection of Father Desbois’ work that its answer unfolded – and that the battleground to be won persists to this day, not in a physical actuality but in the battleground of memory that continues to be fought. The horrific story of the massacres of the forest, witnessing the mass graves themselves struggling to be seen injected the often spoken phrase ‘We must never forget’ with a renewed, aching immediacy.” You can read all of the students’ reflections on their educational trip on Yahad-In Unum’s Travel Log.