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May 14: Day of Remembrance of Ukrainians who saved Jews during World War II

Archimandrite of the UGCC Klymentiy Sheptytsky, one of the Righteous Among The Nations, died in Vladimir Central Prison, Russia in 1951. Photo: Halyna Tereshchuk, Radio (RFE/RL)
May 14: Day of Remembrance of Ukrainians who saved Jews during World War II
Translated by: Christine Chraibi
For the first time in its history, Ukraine will mark the Day of Remembrance of Ukrainians who saved Jews from the Nazis.

The resolution was recently adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and a date – May 14, 2021 – was established for the commemoration.

As of January 1, 2020, 2,659 Ukrainians have been honoured by the State of Israel with the title of Righteous Among the Nations (non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis for altruistic reasons).

However, thousands people who took great risks, remain unknown and unrecognized. Therefore, the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War and the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory scheduled an online marathon on May 11-13 (11:00 – 14:00), during which moderators recounted 26 narratives of such people from all regions of Ukraine, presented videos based on documentary photos, shared the project about The Righteous of Ukraine ( ), which has been running for close to three years.

The Sheptytsky brothers. Metropolitan of the UGCC Andrei Sheptytsky (left) and Archimandrite of the UGCC Klymentiy Sheptytsky

Many interesting guests were invited to speak during the marathon, namely families of the Righteous, representatives of Jewish organizations, Ukrainian historians, as well as museum workers from different regions: Vinnytsia, Volyn, Zakarpattya, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, the city of Kyiv, Luhansk, Odesa, Poltava, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv.

The marathon is broadcast on Facebook:

The final round table, initiated by the All-Ukrainian Charitable Fund To You (ACF 2U) (Всеукраїнський благодійний фонд «Заради тебе»), will take place on May 14 (11:00 – 13:00).

The participants will address the following issues:

  • specifics on how Jews were saved during WWII in different Ukrainian regions and in the Nazi-occupied territories of European countries;
  • procedural requirements and international experience in conferring the title of Righteous Among the Nations and establishing the facts/evidence related to saving the Jewish population during the Holocaust;
  • problems related to assigning the title of Righteous to Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Father Omelyan Kovch;
  • honouring the heroic deeds of Ukrainian Righteous at the state and international levels.

Ukrainian and Israeli historians and experts will take part in the discussion: Anton Drobovych, Samuel Barny, Kateryna Gusarova, Yuriy Skira, Ivan Patryliak, Ihor Shchupak, Oleksandr Pasternak and Julia Goldenberg.

The event and selected narratives in video format, as well as a detailed program are available here.

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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