Overdue recognition

[Editor’s note: On 7 March 2020, Israel’s The Jerusalem Post published an opinion piece by Liliana Hentosh titled “Time to reject the myths of Andrei Sheptytsky” in which the author argued for an accurate portrayal of the Metropolitan and his actions during World War II. On 11 March 2020, The Jerusalem Post printed a letter by Leon Chameides in response to the article, which is below. Sheptytsky, who headed the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 1901 until his death in 1944, is credited with saving over 150 Jewish lives.]

I write in support of the article “Time to Reject the Myths of Andrei Sheptytsky (March 7). I was hidden by Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and the Studite Order of the Greek Catholic Church for two years (1942-1944) during the German occupation of Poland. I, my three children, and my seven grandchildren owe our lives to these great and righteous priests who risked their lives in the belief that they were indeed their “brother’s keeper.”

As the article mentions, three of these brave men have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem but their leader, without whose express permission and encouragement they could not have acted, has so far been denied this recognition.  This omission is evidence of unfairness and ingratitude and is a blot on Yad Vashem and, by extension, on our entire people’s reputation. It is time to rectify the situation and apply the same criteria for recognition and not be influenced by Soviet propaganda. The withholding of this recognition says more about Yad Vashem than it does about Metropolitan Sheptytsky.

Leon Chameides, M.D.
Hartford Connecticut