“Twenty five years ago, I learned that in Rava-Ruska there was a camp where 25,000 Soviet prisoners were killed by the Germans. There was a memorial for the Soviet prisoners. But there were no memorials for the mass graves of the Jews.”

– Father Desbois at the dedication ceremony for the mass grave site in Rava-Ruska, which he first identified 25 years ago


Yahad-In Unum was honored to take part in the Protecting Memory Initative, alongside the American Jewish Committee, The Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, The Conference of European Rabbis, The Ukrainian Jewish Committee, and The Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, to protect 5 mass grave sites in Ukraine originally identified by Yahad-In Unum.

On June 28, 2015, Father Desbois spoke at the dedication ceremony for the Rava-Ruska mass grave site. This grave was the burial site of approximately 4,000 victims of the Holocaust. Father Desbois emphasized the significance of recognizing the victims and giving dignity back to their final resting place with the new protection and panels marking the site.

Father Desbois also spoke at the press conference for the ceremony on June 28 in Lviv, Ukraine alongside Director of the Ukrainian Holocaust Center Anatoly Podolsky, US Ambassador to Ukraine H.E. Mr. Geofffrey Pyatt, Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs and Director of AJC Berlin Deidre Berger.

Learn more about the Protecting Memory initiative and Father Desbois’s work to identify and protect these mass graves in Die Welt and Newsweek.