As a representative of the Szeptycki family I am deeply honored to receive the Jan Karski award on behalf of my grand uncle Andrei.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Eileen Ludwig and the Anti-Defamation League for their thoughtful decision.
It so happens that this ceremony takes place a day before the anniversary of his death in 1944. Andrei Szeptycki was first and foremost a religious person. He chose to become a priest and a monk. That is the essence of that person. He was then made a bishop and the metropolitan of Lvov.
It was due exclusively to historical
circumstances that he found himself in a situation where he also had to play a political role. For many years, throughout several different periods, he was one of the national leaders of Ukraine.
He was not really prepared for such a role. It was largely thanks to his upbringing and his charisma that he was able to answer that call.
Personally, I think he neither sought nor felt comfortable in this role.
As a man of God, he was primarily concerned with bringing comfort to people and saving their lives, regardless of their nationality and background.
And, thanks to his moral vision, he succeeded in saving many during times so terrible that they are hard to imagine for anybody who did not live through them. After all these years, when the conflicts of those days subsided and the world has changed, somewhat, it is easier to understand Andrei Szeptycki's actions when one looks at them through the prism of his basic principles of saving lives and bringing comfort.
On a personal note, let me add that I am moved to see so many survivors here and to meet so many of them personally for the first time.