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28.06.2007

Ukrainians honoured as Righteous among the Nations

   

"He who saves one human being is as if he saves an entire world."

Each individual awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations represents the preservation of human values in the midst of absolute moral collapse. They prove that despite the grave dangers involved, there were still those who were willing to take grave risks in order to fulfil the precept ,"Love thy neighbour as thyself." The Righteous among the Nations are a source of hope, a role model, and an inspiration.

Five families from the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhya and Kirovohrad regions have been recognized as “Righteous among the Nations”. This title is awarded by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority to those who saved the lives of Jewish people during the Second World War.  Over 20 thousand people have been awarded this title.

In 1941 the family of Dnipropetrovsk resident Anton Abramchuk were living in Ivano-Frankivsk. He was then 3 years old. He remembers his parents whispering and the strict ban on going up to the attic or telling anybody that somebody was living there. For three years the family hid the daughter of Jewish fellow villagers.

Perla’s story

When the Soviet troops returned to the Ivano-Frankivsk region, little Perla was sent on to Poland. Anton’s parents were afraid to talk about how they had saved her life even in Soviet times. Anton Abramchuk remembers how the family home was under an attic with a loft where they kept hay, and it was here that Perla was hidden. Nobody found out. “Our father was very strict. Even when the Germans retreated, nobody said anything out of fear.”

Anton’s parents died several decades ago, and the awards and certificates will be held by their son’s family.

Of the five families honoured, only two have living members. The others were awarded posthumously.

Members of the Jewish community say that up till the beginning of the 1990s it wasn’t possible at all to look for those who had save Jewish people in the Soviet Union. In conditions of covert Soviet anti-Semitism people were afraid of the honour of having defended Jews, and therefore up till the collapse of the USSR, only a little more than 200 Heroes had been honoured.

4,000 Ukrainian Righteous among the Nations

[There seems too much to say to confine oneself to a brief list of most well-known people.  Please, therefore, see the Yad Vashem site for information about each of these people, Ukrainian or those of other nations: http://www1.yadvashem.org/righteous/index_righteous.html  

 

From www.radiosvoboda.org and Yad Vashem

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