CBS ’60 Minutes’ Episode Guide (Oct. 4): Self-Driving Cars; The Unknown Victims of the Holocaust

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CBS ’60 Minutes’ Episode Guide (Oct. 4): Self-Driving Cars; The Unknown Victims of the Holocaust

“60 Minutes” (10/04/15) – They lie in unmarked mass graves throughout the former Soviet Union, forgotten victims of the Holocaust whose stories haven’t been told.

Father Patrick Desbois is determined to find them for history and for humanity. The French Catholic priest takes Lara Logan to some of the sites his work has discovered for a “60 Minutes” story to be broadcast Sunday, Oct. 4 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The victims are mostly Jews who were living in eastern European towns when the Nazi’s invaded the USSR during World War II. Most were rounded up, marched outside of town, and executed in mass shootings on the edges of freshly dug ditches. Unlike the victims of the gas chambers, whose names were meticulously recorded, victims of these mass killings remain mostly unknown and hidden. “Totally invisible. Under a corn field, under house, under a tomato field,” says Father Desbois. “And never were recorded …buried like animals.” Watch an excerpt.

Logan and “60 Minutes” cameras went with Father Desbois to the former Soviet republic of Moldova. In one day alone, he showed her the unmarked gravesites where witnesses have told him over 1,100 victims have been secretly buried for over 70 years. The sites are then recorded by GPS so historians will have a record of where these forgotten dead lie. Father Desbois can’t do any more to commemorate them; he tells Logan that discovered mass graves have been dug up and looted by locals searching for any valuables, including jewelry the victims wore the day they were murdered.

Father Desbois’ Paris-based organization, “Yahad—In Unum” (which means “together as one”), identifies mass Jewish killing sites and collects forensic evidence of the executions; then they find and record video testimonies of eyewitnesses to the crimes. For over a decade, Father Desbois and Yahad have investigated over 1700 execution sites throughout the former Soviet Union.

He and his team find the mass graves sites by tracking down elderly villagers who were children during WWII; people like 85-year-old Gheorghe who lives in Hiriseni, a rural Moldovan village that hasn’t changed much since the war. “As soon as they came, they locked everyone up. I saw them taking them away. On foot, tied up. The children, too,” he tells Logan. “The Jews were facing the ditch, so they were shooting them in the back of their heads or their backs to fall into the ditch… they were shooting them as if they were dogs.”

Gheorghe is one of over 4,000 local, non-Jewish witnesses to these atrocities. Some were forced to help the Nazi death squads, others watched. Logan speaks to several more of them for her story Sunday night.

Father Desbois has learned about humanity on his mission—which is supported by his local Cardinal and the Vatican—to document these forgotten Holocaust victims. “I learned everybody can be a killer, anybody can be a victim. I learned that you like to see other people dying in front of you, killed by other people, when you are sure you will not be killed.”

The work of Father Desbois and Yahad in Unum is extremely valuable, says Paul Shapiro, director of Advanced Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. “The method that he’s used…extraordinary. We can understand minute by minute what happened in hundreds of localities where before we just had fog.”

Then, later in the “60 Minutes” broadcast, self-driving cars may sound like science fiction but they’re already hitting the road for research, as carmakers and tech companies race to develop the potentially life-saving technology. Bill Whitaker goes to Silicon Valley to take a ride and take stock of the emerging industry and two of its leaders, Google and Mercedes-Benz, for the next edition of “60 Minutes,” Sunday, Oct. 4 (7:00-8:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

“We are at probably the largest transformative moment in the history of the automobile,” Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells Whitaker. Rosekind is bullish about the safety potential of self-driving cars because nearly all accidents are caused by human error. But he’s also taking a realistic look at what is essentially a computer on wheels. Rosekind says one of the biggest hurdles will be the trust of consumers. “If they read or suspect in any way that they literally could be one virus away from a crash occurring, they’re not going to get in that car…not going to buy it, they’re not going to let it drive them. That whole future evaporates,” he tells Whitaker.

Self-driving features are starting to show up in showrooms today. Whitaker reports that Tesla will make autonomous highway driving available this month. GM says it will offer a hands free highway system to consumers in 2017. Still, Rosekind says the future of these amazing cars remains uncertain. “Think about how some of this is being sold. ‘Oh, you can take a nap. You can read the paper.’ What would you do, if you had to take over in a certain emergency situation? Nobody has that future totally nailed yet.”

Whitaker gets a rare look inside Google’s garage where the company is tinkering with its latest prototype, a friendly looking pod-like vehicle that doesn’t need a steering wheel or pedals to operate. Google launched the self-driving car into the public imagination when it began road testing six years ago. Today, it has a fleet of 25 autonomous vehicles riding around the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and Austin, Texas. The cars have logged more than a million miles. “We’re getting to a place where we’re comparable to human driving today,” says Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project. His engineers are out in the cars day and night refining the software so it can handle the unpredictability of driving on chaotic city streets.

Urmson says Google’s goal is to perfect the technology in the next five years so that his two children won’t need to get driver’s licenses.

“60 Minutes,” the most successful television broadcast in history, began its 46th season on Sept. 29, 2013. Offering hard-hitting investigative reports, interviews, feature segments and profiles of people in the news, the broadcast begun in 1968 is still a hit in 2011, regularly making Nielsen’s Top 10. The average audience for a “60 Minutes” broadcast still dwarfs the biggest audiences drawn by cable news programs.

“60 Minutes” correspondents include Anderson Cooper, Steve Kroft, Sanjay Gupta, Lara Logan, Norah O’Donnell, Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose, Morley Safer, Bob Simon and Lesley Stahl.

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