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The Holocaust research association Yahad-In Unum opened a new resource center this month dedicated to advancing its collection of data on a chapter in history known as "Holocaust by Bullets."
"Holocaust by Bullets" refers to when more than two million Jews from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus were systematically gunned down, starved or killed by disease between 1941 and 1944. The victims were buried in unmarked graves as part of the opening phase of the Nazi's Final Solution in Eastern Europe. The vast majority of the victims were Jews, although some others, notably Roma/Gypsies, were also killed there.
The resource center was inaugurated in Paris on Sunday. It is co-sponsored by Yahad-In Unum and the Sorbonne, and will provide Holocaust researchers access to the extensive database of more than a thousand survivor video testimonies, a library of Holocaust books and photographs, and the center's expanding database of investigations.
Yahad-In Unum's president, Father Patrick Desbois, is also head of the Commission for Relations with Judaism of the French Bishops Conference.
In partnership with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the resource center is the first of its kind to focus entirely on the Holocaust atrocities that occurred in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.
Marco Gonzalez, director of Yahad-In Unum, said, "The center marks another step in our ongoing efforts to share the results of our research with the world in order that these horrific acts of genocide can never be forgotten.
"We intend for the center also to act as a catalyst for forging cooperation and accelerating research among researchers and organizations active in this area to aid in the collection of first-person accounts from Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian witnesses before it is too late to hear their voices," Gonzalez said.
Since 2003, Yahad-In Unum has been working to locate the mass graves of the Jewish victims of the Einsatzgruppen - Nazi mobile killing units - and video-recording witnesses to the massacres.
To date, Yahad-In Unum has discovered more than 800 mass graves of Jewish Holocaust victims and recorded almost 800 eyewitness testimonies. The association aims to systematically identify and document every single site of Jewish mass execution by the mobile killing units in the region during World War II.
Sorbonne President Georges MoliniÃ© said, "The work carried out on the ground by Yahad-In Unum during these past several years to gather the testimony of witnesses and combine it with archival records in Russia and Germany, ballistic evidence and the work of historians from around the world has been invaluable in documenting this relatively unknown chapter of history."