“Yad Vashem" responds: Andrey Sheptytsky welcomed the Nazi occupiers

Andrey Sheptytsky. Photo: moemisto

“Yad Vashem” responded to a request by Moshe Reuven Azman, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine, to award Andrey Sheptytsky the title “Righteous Among the Nations”.

In addition to the testimonies of the Jews who survived due to Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, there are testimonies of other Jews who are sure that it was “his conduct that contributed to Ukrainians joining the ranks of the murderers of their families”. The Chairman of the Directorate of the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Institute “Yad Vashem” Avner Shalev wrote about this in an official letter, responding to a request from Moshe Azman of January 21, 2020. The rabbi posted a copy of the letter on his Facebook page.

In his answer, Avner Shalev recalled that the decision to confer the title of the “Righteous Among the Nations” is made by a special Commission, which consists mainly of Holocaust survivors who are experts in Holocaust-related matters in different regions of Europe. Since 1963, the Commission has repeatedly and thoroughly examined the Sheptytsky case.

According to him, the Commission concluded that there is no doubt about Metropolitan Sheptytsky having rescued Jews during the Holocaust, but his case is a very complex one title "because of his having welcomed the German occupiers in 1941 and his encouraging Ukrainians to join their forces".

He recalled that Andrei Sheptytsky’s brother – Clement Sheptytsky – was recognized as a Righteous among the Nations as were other members of the Uniate Church, “however, it should be noted that the Commission examines each and every case separately”,  according to a well-defined set of rules and criteria.

Expressing hope that the complexity of the case is understood, the Chairman of the “Yad Vashem” Directorate noted in conclusion that he looked forward to ongoing fruitful cooperation with the Jewish community in Ukraine.

Commenting on the official response of the Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Institute to the LB.ua portal, Moshe Reuven Azman noted that Avner Shalev “does not put an end to the designation of the title of Righteous to Andriy Sheptytsky, noting his readiness for dialogue and cooperation with members and heads of the Jewish community in Ukraine”.

“I will continue to work with “Yad Vashem”. Therefore, I turn to historians and other scientists of Ukraine with a request: let's collect all available archival materials in order to dispel negative stereotypes and Soviet myths about the alleged collaboration of Andrey Sheptytsky with the Hitler regime. Only through the joint efforts of Ukrainians and Jews can we achieve justice in relation to the great humanist and righteous Andrey Sheptytsky,” the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine emphasized.

We recall that the leader of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk thanked Moshe Reuven Azman for his initiative to award Sheptitsky the title “Righteous Among the Nations”, expressing his gratitude “for such a deep understanding of the role of Metropolitan Andrey”.

As reported earlier, the mayor of Lviv, Andrei Sadovoy, suggested collecting “evidence of sacrifice” of Metropolitan Sheptytsky so that Israel would nevertheless designate the honorary title.

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