Chief rabbi of Ukraine asks Yad Vashem to recognize Andrey Sheptytsky as Righteous Among the Nations
On January 21, chief Rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Asman sent a letter to the head of the Yad Vashem Institute of Israel, requesting that on the eve of the International Holocaust memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, UGCC Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky be awarded the title of "Righteous Among the Nations". Therefore, to restore historical justice with respect to this figure. The chief Rabbi announced this on his Facebook page and published a letter. This is reported by Radio Liberty.
The Сhief Rabbi's address says that Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky led an operation to save more than 150 Jewish children during the Holocaust in Western Ukraine. He did not limit himself to giving orders to hide Jewish children in monasteries, but also forbade to baptize them in order to preserve them for the Jewish people.
"There was an absurd situation – the younger brother of the Metropolitan, Archimandrite Klymenty Sheptytsky, as well as abbess Olena Viterr, who followed the direct instructions of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, both received honorary titles of "Righteous Among the Nations" from Yad Vashem, and the Metropolitan, who was at the head of this extremely life-threatening operation, did not receive this title," the letter states.
In response to the arguments of the Institute against assigning the title of Metropolitan (that the head of the Church welcomed the arrival of German troops in Lviv and allegedly "blessed the SS division "Galicia" - Ed.) Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Asman noted that there was no original document to confirm the fact of" blessing the division", and that the salvation of Jewish children is more important.
The Chief Rabbi also recalls the Metropolitan's message "Thou Shalt Not Kill", in which Andrey Sheptytsky urged Ukrainians in 1942 not to take part in the murder of their neighbors.
"In the bloody hell of the Holocaust, the figure of Andrey Sheptytsky rises like a rock of salvation and good," the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine believes.
According to him, the fact that for decades the title of "righteous" is not assigned to the Metropolitan is an injustice.
"From the point of view of the entire tradition of Judaism, we are required to be grateful for the good done to us. And, on the contrary, assigning Sheptytsky the long-deserved title of "Righteous Among the Nations" will show Ukraine and the world that the Jewish people remember and appreciate their friends and saviors, " the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, said in a letter to Avner Shalev, the Chairman of the Board of the Yad Vashem memorial complex.
Recently, the Israeli National Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem responded to the request of a group of Ukrainian scientists, clergy, and public figures to recognize the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky "Righteous Among the Nations", stressing that will review the matter of recognition of Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Andrey Sheptytsky (1865-1944) the "Righteous Among the Nations" if they get the documents and testimony hitherto unknown that would differently highlight the activities of Metropolitan in the period of German occupation.