Ceremonious Opening of the Monument to the Victims of the Lviv Ghetto

The ceremonious opening ceremony for the monument was appointed for August 23, 1992. «Thousands of Lviv residents – people of different nationalitis, dozens of visitors from other regions of Ukraine, from Israel, the USA, Poland, gathered together on that Sunday…» (Boris Komskii, «Eto nado ne mertvym…» // Shofar, No. 16, 1992, pp. 1-2.)

    Many influential people were present at the opening ceremony, including Vasyl Shpitser, Mayor of Lviv, Mykola Horyn, Governor of the Lviv Region, Stepan Davymuka, Representative of the President in the Lviv Region, and others. (Galina Vdovichenko, «Zdes mukami propitan kazhdyi kamen…» // Vysokyi Zamok, August 27, 1992, No. 102, p. 3.)

      «In proclaiming the opening of the memorial ceremony, Stepan Kysil, Deputy Head of the City Council Executive Committee, reminded those present of the «ten [extermination] efforts» perpetrated by the Hitlerites against the Jews in Lviv…» (Boris Komskii. «Eto nado ne mertvym…» // Shofar, No. 16, 1992, pp. 1-2) «The opening ceremony commenced in words of prayer, offered first by Cantor Aaron Berger from the USA, and then – by Rev. Orest Fredyna, who, in the name of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, assured that the Ukrainians share the grief for the fallen brothers and sisters. Aaron Berger and Rev. Fredyna consecrated the memorial» (Ibid.)

        A letter from President Leonid Kravchuk, was read to the people present, who filled the square and the driveway on Simsotrichchia Lvova St. The content of the letter was reproduced verbatim in the newspapers:

          «Dear Friends!

              On this tragic day of the fiftieth anniversary of the destruction of the Lviv ghetto by the Nazis, I express my feelings of deep grief and sadness.

                  The terrifying genocide, blessed by the misanthropic theory of Nazism, even today reminds us of the terrible danger of wars, racial and national conflict.

                      The independent Ukraine and her people will do all to insure that nothing of the sort ever happened again, that all people on earth lived in peace and harmony.

                          The ashes of over 130 thousand innocent victims of the Lviv ghetto will forever knock on the hearts of honest and caring people. May the blessed remembrance of the fallen inspire us to a better and cloudless future.

                              Regards,

                              President of Ukraine
                              Leonid Kravchuk»

                              Later, words of greeting and sorrow were expressed by Stepan Davymuka, then Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Lviv Region, and Mykola Horyn, Governor. The opening ceremony was continued by speeches from representatives of Jewish communities, both international (from the USA, Israel, and Poland), and Ukrainian, including the Sholem Aleichem Society in Lviv, the Jewish Society of Ukraine, and the Association of Jewish Organizations of Ukraine; as well as the surviving former prisoners of the ghetto. Words of grief and condolences in the name of the people of Israel were spoken by Osher Bolar, the Israeli Consul in Kyiv, as well as by Erach Jakoby, Deputy Mayor of the city of Rishon Le-Tsyon, and Jan Kott, head of the Lviv circle of Erets Israel. «Deep and moving was the speech by Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, leader of the Jewish community of New York. Having thanked the local authorities for granting the opportunity to construct the monument, he called [on the people present] to continue the traditions and keep the faith of the fallen of the ghetto… His thoughts were carried on by Rabbi Awrum Rozental of Lviv…» (Boris Komskii, «Eto nado ne mertvym…» // Shofar, No. 16, 1992, pp. 1-2.) 

                              «Former prisoners of the ghetto spoke at the meeting… – Borys Lewin and Zygmunt Lainer … the benefactor Yaroslava Zrobok, Head of the Sholem Aleichem Society in Lviv, [as well as] … Oleksandr Lizen, Professor Jakob Honigsman, Leon Plager, Head of the Memorial Construction Board, and Arkadii Parkhomskyi, [and also] the Head of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Societies of Ukraine Joseph Zisels…» (Boris Komskii, «Eto nado ne mertvym…» // Shofar, No. 16, 1992, pp. 1-2.)

                                At the end of the meeting, Governor Mykola Horyn ceremoniously cut the red ribbon. The monument was now officially opened. The people present lighted candles and laid flowers at the monument. The sculpture did not have the traditional white cover.