Based on a decade of work by Father Patrick Desbois and his team at Yahad–In Unum that has culminated to date in interviews with more than 5,700 neighbors to the murdered Jews and visits to more than 2,700 extermination sites, many of them unmarked.
One key finding: Mass murder does not happen without the neighbors. The neighbors are instrumental to the crime.
In his National Jewish Book Award–winning book The Holocaust by Bullets, Father Patrick Desbois documented for the first time the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine during World War II. Nearly a decade of further work by his team, drawing on interviews with neighbors of the Jews, wartime records, and the application of modern forensic practices to long-hidden grave sites. has resulted in stunning new findings about the extent and nature of the genocide.
In Broad Daylight documents mass killings in seven countries formerly part of the Soviet Union that were invaded by Nazi Germany. It shows how these murders followed a template, or script, which included a timetable that was duplicated from place to place. Far from being kept secret, the killings were done in broad daylight, before witnesses. Often, they were treated as public spectacle. The Nazis deliberately involved the local inhabitants in the mechanics of death—whether it was to cook for the killers, to dig or cover the graves, to witness their Jewish neighbors being marched off, or to take part in the slaughter. They availed themselves of local people and the structures of Soviet life in order to make the Eastern Holocaust happen.
Narrating in lucid, powerful prose that has the immediacy of a crime report, Father Desbois assembles a chilling account of how, concretely, these events took place in village after village, from the selection of the date to the twenty-four-hour period in which the mass murders unfolded. Today, such groups as ISIS put into practice the Nazis' lessons on making genocide efficient.
The book includes an historical introduction by Andrej Umansky, research fellow at the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, University of Cologne, Germany, and historical and legal advisor to Yahad-In Unum.