Erik Mauro; CONTRIBUTOR
A new exhibit on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus is offering a new perspective on one of the most horrific events in history. “Holocaust by Bullets” is an effort to shed light on some of the lesser-known events of the Holocaust. “Holocaust by Bullets” is on display in the Criss Library throughout the spring.
Represented by Yahad-In Unum, which means together in one, Father Patrick Desbois originally started the mission in 2004 after researching the story of the Jews and the other victims murdered in Eastern Europe during World War II.
“I wanted to bring this exhibit to UNO because it really changes how we look at the Holocaust,” said Mark Celinscak, the executive director of the Sam & Frances Fried Holocaust & Genocide Academy at UNO. “This really shows that hate, violence, and Anti-Semitism are still with us.”
“Holocaust by Bullets” is a traveling exhibit that seeks to break the silence of a very dark period in history. Not much is known about these raids and this exhibit helps shed light on the atrocities that were committed.
The exhibit is laid out in chronological order. First the Jews would be arrested, then transported, undressed, shot multiple times execution style, and their bodies looted. There are real images from the scenes on this exhibit that are viewable from special lenses and is meant to put things in perspective for students.
“It’s different from what you read in textbooks, where it looks like a field from the outside,” said Ben Phillips, a senior at UNO. “You can physically see what happened by looking in those viewfinders, it’s really eye-opening.”
There are free guided tours of the exhibit being offered and insturcted by a Yahd representative. The money raised from the exhibit by Yahad goes straight into research in Europe. Yahad is still doing research to this day after 10 years of interviews.
The graves that Desbois and Yahad found in Eastern Europe are unmarked. Nazi groups would go to small towns, carry out these killings and move on to the next. The graves today are now fields covered with grass and trees. To aid in their research, Desbois and Yahad interviewed children who were present for these killings and survived. These children are now in their elder years but the memories still stick.
“I have been extraordinarily impressed with the exhibit,” Celinscak said. “The research done by Yahad-In Unum has really changed the way that we look at the Holocaust.”
“It’s very moving, especially when you see all of the real -ife photos that were taken,” Phillips said. “Like I said, it’s a very different feeling from what you read in a textbook.”
“In many ways, this type of crime, killing the unworthy, is still going on,” Celinscak said. “Rwanda, Cambodia, the Holocaust. I want students to be able to help combat hate, violence, and Anti-Semitism, and I hope this exhibit helps them do that.”