THE SPINE MAY 24, 2009
Working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a French Catholic
priest named Father Patrice Desbois has been excavating grave sites in
which masses of as yet uncounted and unidentified Jews who were shot by
Nazis and local accomplices across the Ukraine during World War II.
Desbois has already identified 800 such random cemeteries, and he
estimates that there are possibly 1200 others in the Ukraine alone.
This was reported in the Times of London and retold in Sunday's
New York Post.
Desbois says that he plans work to uncover other mass graves in Belarus and "in the vastness of Russia."
These labors, I suppose, amount to a one man act of penance for his
Church and for Pope Pius XII who was the Vicar of Christ before, during
and after the war.
But Desbois also seems to be animated to do a historical reckoning.
The new discoveries, he suggests, means that many more than six
million Jews were erased from life during the catastrophe.
I understand that many oh, so calm and responsible gentiles--and some
historically untouchable and unconnected Jews--think that Israel
should not listen at all to what the the president of Iran threatens
for the six million Jews who happen to live in the Jewish state. But
we cannot afford the luxuries of deterrence theory.
The fact is that World War II was not fought to protect Europe's Jews. Their calvary had begun already in 1933. And, even under F.D.R., no
one thought that the bombing of the concentration camps was a fitting
strategic purpose. So let me just speak for myself. I trust no one in
authority in the West to interrupt what Chief-of-Staff General Mike
Mullen envisions as a calamity in the making. The president's words
are soothing. But they are not persuasive.