Targum Shlishi Initiative, Raising Funds for Father Patrick Desbois of Yahad-In Unum, Locating Mass Graves in Ukraine, Paris and Ukraine
The Einsatzgruppen (Nazi mobile killing units) killed 1.25 million Jews in the Soviet Union and disposed of them in mass graves between June 1941 and spring 1943. Documentation of the massacres is sparse and the locations of the majority of graves are unknown. Father Patrick Desbois, a Catholic priest in Paris, is in the process of locating and documenting all mass graves in Ukraine and securing tangible proof of the genocide. In the past four years, since beginning this work, Father Desbois has documented approximately 600 sites; prior to that 200 were known. He estimates that 1,800 are yet to be found. Targum Shlishi spearheaded an informational and fundraising effort to support Father Desbois. In addition to donating funds, Targum Shlishi raised more than $300,000 for Father Desbois’ work.
Note that in 2008 the English translation of Father Desbois’ book about his work, The Holocaust by Bullets (Palgrave Macmillan) was published in the U.S. and received a National Jewish Book Award.
Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals, Documentary Film
Elusive Justice is a film being produced and directed by Emmy Award–winning journalist and veteran producer Jonathan Silvers, and is scheduled to air internationally on PBS in 2009. This documentary will comprehensively explore Nazi hunting from the postwar Europe of 1945 to the worldwide efforts that continue today. The film will document war crimes committed, the escape of large numbers of the war criminals, and the fact that many of the worst offenders, including senior SS and Gestapo officers, have avoided punishment. The film will then highlight the efforts of the Nazi hunters who have collectively worked to locate the fugitive war criminals.
ATZUM, Righteous Among Nations Filmed Interviews, Jerusalem
ATZUM – Justice Works has filmed interviews with the majority of the surviving Righteous Gentiles living in Israel and is planning to use the footage to produce an educational video and accompanying materials for schools and libraries and to donate the interviews to an archive, ensuring that the stories of these heroic individuals will be preserved. Righteous Gentiles are those who protected and rescued Jews during the Holocaust, often at great risk to themselves and their families. In addition to focusing on the heroic acts of rescue during the Holocaust, the interviews consider the rescuers’ lives in Israel and the road to integration within Israeli society. The interviews focus on questions such as: Why did they risk their lives to save another? What made them decide to live in Israel? What is their message for future generations? Interviews were conducted with thirty-two of the forty-four surviving Righteous Gentiles in Israel. ATZUM – Justice Works was established in 2002 by Rabbi Levi Lauer as an effort to maintain social justice for all of Israel’s citizens and workers. It is the only organization in Israel systematically assisting Righteous Gentiles. Targum Shlishi awarded ATZUM a two-year grant for 2006 and 2007 for this project.
Targum Shlishi Initiative, A Race Against Death Book Distribution
Targum Shlishi purchased 1,500 copies of the book A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff as part of an effort to raise awareness and promote constructive action in response to critical problems facing Israel and the Jewish world. The book and supplemental materials were sent out in March 2007 to select individuals in order to both familiarize people with the advocacy work during the Holocaust of Peter Bergson (Hillel Kook) and to serve as a call to action, urging recipients to advocate for the welfare of the Jewish world. “It is clear that Israel is in mortal danger, and when Israel is threatened, the Jewish people are threatened. Our goal is simple: a vibrant and lasting Jewish world. And if we want that, we are going to have to do something about it,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. Further information on this project is posted in the Initiatives section of the Targum Shlishi website, including a section of links to materials discussing Iran, a selection of quotes from the book, and other materials.