14 November 2007
Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev thanked President Victor Yuschenko of Ukraine during his visit to Yad Vashem today, for having instructed the relevant professionals to reach an agreement regarding the Bruno Schultz murals that are at Yad Vashem. According to the agreement under discussion, Ukraine will loan the works to Yad Vashem long-term, and Israel will acknowledge the desire of Ukraine to register the murals as items of cultural heritage of Ukraine.
During the course of the President’s visit, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Joseph (Tommy) Lapid protested the recent honor granted by President Yuschenko to Roman Shukhevych, a man who was involved in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. "In a terrible pogrom the Nightingale Battalion of the Ukrainian legion participated in the murder of 4,000 Jews from Lvov between June 30-July 3, 1941. The Ukrainian commander of the battalion at that time was Roman Shukhevych, a Ukrainian nationalist. The units he commanded, supposedly fighting for Ukrainian independence, comitted large scale murder during the war. He was a war criminal."
At the conclusion of the visit, the President presented Shalev with a rock and soil from Babi Yar, as well as with a prayer book from a Jewish man in Berdichiv on which he had recorded the names of his family who was murdered in the Holocaust. Shalev presented President Yuschenko with ITS documents from the Yad Vashem Archive relating to his father, Andrej Juschtschenko’s time in German captivity in 1944-45. Andrej Juschtschenko was brought to Flossenberg on December 1, 1944. The documents Shalev presented include the personal form of the prisoner in the Flossenberg concentration camp, in Germany, as well as the Flossenberg registry of prisoners by alphabet, date of arrival and list of survivors, on which Andrej Juschtschenko appears.
Yuschenko toured the Holocaust History Museum, visited the Holocaust Art Museum, held a wreath laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and visited the Children’s Memorial. He expressed his identification with the victims, and emphasized the importance of remembrance, and dialogue between nations.