19 February 2009

Philly 2009: Keynote speaker Father Patrick Desbois

Keynote speaker at Philly 2009's opening session will be Father Patrick Desbois, the distinguished French priest, author and humanitarian.

He will speak on "The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 million Jews," the title of his book.

The conference opening session takes place on Sunday, August 2.

The grandson of a deportee to the Nazi Rawa Ruska forced-labor Camp in Ukraine, Father Desbois is best known for his work in searching for and uncovering mass graves in Ukraine and for his book, "The Holocaust by Bullets."

"My book is an act of prevention of future acts of genocide," Debois said.

Winner of the B’nai B’rith International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Relations with the Jewish People, Father Desbois is secretary to the French Conference of Bishops for Relations with Judaism, advisor to the Cardinal-Archbishop of Leon and advisor to the Vatican on the Jewish Religion.

He is president of YAHAD-IN UNUM, whose mission is to increase knowledge and cooperation between Catholic and Jews.

"We are extremely pleased to have Father Desbois speak at our conference," said event co-chair David Mink. "He has performed selfless acts of kindness for the many people of Jewish heritage who trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe and have not been able to record the death of loved ones on their family tree."

The 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy runs from Sunday, August 2 through Friday, August 7, in Philadelphia; more than 1,000 participants are expected.

For all conference details, registration and hotel information, click here. Also, sign up for the conference blog which will provide all breaking news and additional information.

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