29th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Announces Keynote Speaker: Father Patrick Desbois

By: Anne Feder Lee
On behalf of the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, we are extremely pleased to announce that the distinguished French priest, author, and humanitarian, Father Patrick Desbois, will be the keynote speaker at the opening session in Philadelphia, Sunday, August 2, 2009. His speech will be, "The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 million Jews," which is also the title of his book.

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," Desbois 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. Father Desbois is the president of Yahad in Unum, whose mission is to increase knowledge and cooperation between Catholic and Jews.

Commenting on Father Desbois, Conference Co-Chair David Mink said, "We are extremely pleased to have Father Desbois speak at our conference. 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 Conference in Philadelphia, August 2-7, 2009, will include programs featuring archivists, researchers and genealogists from around the world. For more information, click here.

Be sure to register for both the hotel and the conference before March 28 to be eligible for a drawing for a free hotel room during the conference.
The Philadelphia '09 conference discussion group is now starting. Information about registration, the hotel, the drawing for a free room, the discussion group and more is available here.

Information about programs will be coming in March. Hope to see you all in Philadelphia this summer.

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