On May 14, 2021, Ukraine for the first time at the state level celebrated the Day of Remembrance of Ukrainians who saved Jews during the Second World War. This memorable date was introduced by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which adopted Resolution №4479 on February 2, 2021.
It is symbolic that the "Day of the Righteous" is celebrated in May, a few days after the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation and the Day of Victory over Nazism.
Many Ukrainians saved Jews — their acquaintances, neighbours, or outsiders — from concentration camps and death, although the Nazis severely punished them with death. The State of Israel honours those who then rescued Jews at the risk of themselves and their families with the honorary title of "Righteous Among the Nations." At this time, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem has awarded this honorary title to 2,659 citizens of Ukraine. This is the fourth part of the Righteous among the countries of the world.
In addition, Ukrainian historian and public figure Ilya Levitas, together with the Jewish Council of Ukraine, founded the honorary titles of "Righteous of Ukraine" and "Righteous of Babyn Yar", about 3,000 Ukrainians were awarded.
Unfortunately, time is relentless and the vast majority of these heroic people are no longer among us.
On May 14, the National Historical and Memorial Reserve “Babyn Yar” together with the All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation "For Your Sake" organized an exhibition entitled "Ukrainian Righteous," which was opened on the Alley of the Righteous on the territory of the Reserve.
At the initiative of the "For Your Sake" Foundation, on the occasion of the first commemoration of the Day of Remembrance of Ukrainians who rescued Jews during World War II, 'Ukrposhta" (Ukrainian Mail) printed a special memorable postage stamp and envelope "The Righteous Among the Nations".
The solemn ceremony was attended by the chairman of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory Anton Drobovych, acting Director-General of the National Historical and Memorial Reserve "Babyn Yar" Roza Tapanova, founder and head of the All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation "For Your Sake" Julia Goldenberg. The ceremony was also attended by MPs of Ukraine Iryna Herashchenko, Olga Vasylevska-Smaglyuk, representatives of the Orthodox and Jewish clergy, descendants of the righteous, Reserve employees and all interested.
Photo report by Volodimir Korneliuk