Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright to Give Keynote Address
French Priest Who Has Devoted His Life to Confronting Antisemitism to Receive 2013 Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award
HOUSTON, TX (April 12, 2013) – A Catholic priest whose organization has helped identify more than 800 hidden mass killing sites with more than 2,000 mass graves from the Holocaust will receive the internationally recognized Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award for his devotion to confronting antisemitism and furthering Catholic-Jewish understanding around the world.
Father Patrick Desbois Madeleine Albright
Father Patrick Desbois, Photograph by Miguel Maldonado  
Secretary Madeleine K. Albright, Photograph by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Father Patrick Desbois will receive the award, given by Holocaust Museum Houston, during the Museum’s annual dinner set for Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Registration begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will end the evening with the night’s keynote address.

The annual event – one of the city’s largest and most widely recognized philanthropic dinners – supports the worldwide educational programs of the Museum. Proceeds also enable the Museum to offer free admission to the public. More than 1,300 people attended last year’s dinner.

Chairing this year’s event are Museum Board member Michael Gamson and his wife Barbara.

“As Father Desbois has said himself, ‘the assassins never imagined that 60 years later, men and women motivated by a quest for the truth would interview eyewitnesses to the killings of Jews and Roma. To all those who commit genocide we say: sooner or later, wherever the mass murder of humans has taken place, someone will return,’” said Museum Chair Tali H. Blumrosen. “Father Desbois has made it his life’s mission, as is our own, to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust and other genocides are not forgotten.”

Desbois, president of Yahad-In Unum, has led a truly historic undertaking of identifying and locating undiscovered mass graves of Jews and Roma killed during the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.

In less than three years, from June 1941, when Germany invaded the former Soviet Union, until spring 1944, Nazi mobile killing units, or Einsatzgruppen, massacred well over 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe. The Jewish populations of whole villages were slaughtered in hours; entire regional populations were annihilated in an afternoon. Unlike the concentration camps, there were few survivors to tell the world what had happened.

During the course of Yahad-In Unum’s research on mass shootings by the Nazis in the territories of the former U.S.S.R., Desbois’ teams discovered, so far, 55 extermination sites of Roma people, as well as eyewitnesses to their murders. Knowing that Roma communities suffered the same fate as the Jews, Father Desbois has made it his mission to undertake similar work on behalf of the Roma community as well.

Desbois conducts his work by first having Yahad-In Unum researchers carefully review war archives from the former Soviet Union, Germany and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. With that information, Desbois and his teams have visited small villages across Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Belarus, Romania and Moldova to interview the residents there who witnessed the killings. Many of those he has interviewed have never before spoken of the massacres. One site at a time, Desbois is unmasking what was a continent of extermination. To further refute the claims of Holocaust deniers, at each site artifacts have been collected and most significantly, video testimonies have been recorded from eyewitnesses. These invaluable testimonies, which serve as important evidence of this genocide, are archived in Yahad-In Unum’s Paris headquarters, are shared with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s permanent collection and are being made available on the Internet.

Desbois is a grandson of a French deportee to the Rawa Ruska labor camp in the Ukraine and is motivated by a compulsion to locate the killing sites before all the witnesses have died to “bring proof of these assassinations to the world” and to assure that history does not die with the witnesses. To fulfill this mission, Father Desbois founded Yahad-In Unum in 2004. Yahad-In Unum is derived from the word “unity” in both Hebrew and Latin, and the organization works to facilitate understanding and collaboration between Catholics and Jews.

Albright, who was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, was raised Catholic but converted to Episcopalianism at the time of her marriage in 1959. She did not learn until late in life that her parents were Jewish and that many of her Jewish relatives in Czechoslovakia had perished in the Holocaust, including three of her grandparents.

She now serves as chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. In 1997, Albright was named the first female U.S. secretary of state and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.

As secretary of state, she reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. From 1989 to 1992, she served as president of the Center for National Policy. Previously, she was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff and served as chief legislative assistant to former U.S. Sen. Edmund S. Muskie.

In 2007, Albright served with former Secretary of Defense William Cohen as co-chairs of the Genocide Prevention Task Force jointly convened by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy and the United States Institute of Peace. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama on May 29, 2012.

Albright is a professor in the practice of diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. She serves on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the secretary of defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. Albright also serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute and the Center for American Progress. In 2009, she was asked by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to chair a group of experts focused on developing NATO’s New Strategic Concept.

Albright is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: her autobiography, “Madam Secretary: A Memoir” (2003); “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs” (2006); “Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership” (2008); “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box” (2009); and “Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948” (2012).

Holocaust Museum Houston created the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award in 1994 in cooperation with the Johnson family.

In 1938, as a young congressman, Johnson stretched the limits of his authority and risked his personal dreams to provide American sanctuary for threatened European Jews. It is because of these acts of moral courage that the Museum proudly named the award in his honor. The award recognizes either a single righteous act or a lifetime of morally courageous behavior.

Previous recipients have included Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, activist and actress Mia Farrow; humanitarian John Prendergast of the Enough Project; U.S. Sen. John McCain; television producer Norman Lear; the Houston community of Holocaust survivors; the late Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan; activist Sir Bob Geldof; former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Jr.; former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole; filmmaker Steven Spielberg; and former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, among others.

Tables of 10 are available beginning at $6,000. Individual tickets begin at $600 each. To RSVP or to reserve a table, call 713-942-8000, ext. 129, or e-mail HMHDinner@hmh.org.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.
Media Contact
For media inquiries, please contact:
Director, Marketing & Public Relations
Tel: (713) 942-8000, ext. 103
E-mail: news@hmh.org

Our Public Relations team is eager to assist you in coverage of activities at Holocaust Museum Houston.

All requests for interviews or on-site photography or videography by members of the media must be coordinated in advance through our Public Relations office by calling 713-942-8000, ext. 103 or e-mailing news@hmh.org.

Address and Directions
Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

Hours and Admission
Museum Hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Museum Admission:

$12 for adults
$8 for active-duty military and AARP members
Free for children, students and college-level students with valid ID
Free admission on Sundays

E-mail Page Sitemap Legal Notice Our Sponsors
Holocaust Museum Houston Morgan Family Center, 9220 Kirby Drive, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77054, Tel: 713-942-8000, E-mail: info@hmh.org Powered by Nodus Solutions
Rss Feeds RSS Feeds Plan Your Visit   About HMH    Exhibitions   Events   Membership   Education/Outreach   Resources   News/Media   Support HMH   HMH Store