It was Monday, and Burds was giving a slideshow presentation at Northeastern’s Holocaust Commemoration in the Raytheon Amphitheater, clicking through heartrending photographs taken during the July 1, 1941 pogrom in Lemberg, Ukraine.
Using photos, film clips, and eyewitness testimony from archives and private collections, he has spent years reconstructing the murders of more than 3,000 Jews at the hands of Ukrainian civilians.
Men and women, he told the audience of students, faculty and staff, were dragged from their homes, beaten, and then executed in the streets. Some were even chased by Ukrainian Boy Scouts and then clubbed to death.
“The images sear themselves into your heart and soul,” – Jeffrey Burds
His keynote presentation—titled “The Pogrom in Lemberg, 1 July 1941: A Local Atrocity as International History”—shed light on the capricious nature of violence. “When we focus on individual cases, we learn lessons about humanity and inhumanity,” said Burds, a former Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. “Nobody dreams of becoming a perpetrator of violence,” he later added, “but once they do, they justify it in some way.”