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Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Uğur Ümit Üngör and a Syrian student from the Master's in Holocaust and Genocide Studies obtained about 30 secret videos of executions of Syrian citizens. They decided to examine the images, and following two years of research were able to trace the perpetrators and come into contact with them.

According to Üngör, who in addition to being a professor at the UvA is also affiliated with the NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, there is overwhelming evidence that the regime of Syrian president Assad is guilty of massacring its own citizens. “However, what makes these images so unique is that the perpetrators themselves, and their actions, are captured in moving images,” he says in Dutch newspaper NRC. “During eleven years of research into Syria, I have seen thousands of images of gruesome violence and various sides of the conflict. But never before have I seen such clear proof that the Assad regime is executing and burning defenceless citizens.”

The researchers succeeded in tracing the perpetrator and his officer and coming into contact with them. By building a relationship of trust, they were able to obtain crucial information. Nevertheless, the researchers do not expect that the evidence will end up before an international court in the short term.  “We do hope, however, that the images can serve as evidence in future national cases against accomplices of the Assad regime.”

Master's programme

The UvA is the only university in the Netherlands to offer a Master’s in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. In this interdisciplinary programme, an attempt is made to unravel the mystery of genocide: how is it possible that genocide remains a recurrent and contemporary issue, while the atrocities are so awful that they seem inexplicable?

Prof. dr. U.Ü. (Ugur) Üngör

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Geschiedenis