Ukraine’s Jewish community want a controversial leader of the Greek Catholic Church to be named a righteous gentile.
Andrey Sheptitzky, Metropolitan of the Greek Catholic Church from 1901 until 1944, should be named one of the Righteous among Nations by Yad Vashem, Moshe Reuven Azman, one of the country’s chief rabbis, told the Ukrinform Ukrainian news agency during a Wednesday news conference.
Sheptitzky and his controversial activities during World War II have been a source of much discussion among historians of many countries. While Sheptitzky helped save many Jews in Western Ukraine during Holocaust, and issued the pastoral letter, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” a bold outcry against Nazi atrocities, he is accused of collaborating with the Nazis at the beginning of the war.
The Yad Vashem special commission did not find enough evidence to name Sheptitzky a righteous gentile.
“There is no doubt that Sheptitzky saved Jews during World War II and he should be recognized as a righteous man,” Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, one of the chief rabbis of Ukraine, told JTA.