The Jewish Division of Ukraine’s Heaven’s Hundred
(After a rabbi’s prayer, fighters from the ”Right Sector” and the police join in a funeral salute at Alexander Scherbanyuk’s funeral in Chernivtsi)
Those who died at the Maidan are called the Heaven’s Hundred in Ukraine, because a “hundred” was the structural unit of Maidan’s Self Defense Forces. It is largely a symbolic name – not all of those murdered in the death throes of the criminal regime were active participants of these groups, which were created over the three months of protests. But the name stuck nonetheless. It has been proposed to rename Institutskaya street, covered in blood on February 20th, the day of the massacre, into Heaven’s Hundred Street. I am certain that someday I will show my children a memorial to the Heaven’s Hundred. It will be on the Maidan, restored after the battles and washed of grime. I will lay flowers and a small stone at the monument, as it is done in the Jewish tradition, and will keep my silence for some time, for I do not know how to pray.
Everyone is equal in heaven. Old and young, intellectuals from universities and simple working joes. A boy who ran away in secret to the Maidan for the very first time and who was killed by a sniper in two hours. A Belarusian UNSO activist. Ukrainians. Russians. Armenians. Georgians. Jews.
Josef Shiling was well-known in the Drogobych Jewish community of Lviv oblast (region). He was 61. He and his wife Anna raised two daughters, and he has four granddaughters. He was a construction worker who had worked in Italy in recent years; Anna also worked in Italy.
A sniper killed him with a precise head shot near the October Palace.
Alexander Scherbanyuk was buried in his home city of Chernivtsi; he was dressed in a vyshyvanka – a shirt embroidered with classic Ukrainian patterns. He was buried with a gas mask, a hardhat, and a kippah. He had been a member of the “Beit Simcha” community. Orthodox priests of several denominations who had not known about his faith offered to hold an Orthodox ceremony for him, but he was buried with a rabbi’s prayer.
Thousands of people came to say goodbye to him. The center of the city was blocked for the funeral procession. A military band played over his coffin, policemen and masked “Right Sector” fighters joined in a funeral salute of shots fired high in the air.
His wife (I can’t bring myself to write “his widow”) says that she tried to stop him, she said that people died at the Maidan. He answered: that’s not the worst kind of death.
He was 46. During the time of the Soviet Union, Alexander went through the war in Afghanistan without a scratch. He has three children remaining, and his son studied at a Jewish school.
In 2004 he had become a political activist, and headed the primary organization of the “Batkivschina” party. He had also worked in construction professionally. Internet ads for his construction enterprise, “Zodchiy,” offering repairs and decoration work of any difficulty, still have his cell phone number on them. But he will not be able to pick up the phone any longer.
The first bullet hit him in the leg when he had been standing next to the tent of the Bukovina “Batkivschina” division at the Maidan. He dropped his shield, and the next bullet went straight into his heart.
Evgeniy Kotlyar, a resident of Kharkiv, was 33. He was well-known among left-wing activists and ecologists who fought against the criminal city authorities and their destruction of parks. He worked in industrial alpinism.
A sniper killed him on Institutskaya.
“Right-wing” and “left-wing,” young and old, “eastern” and “western.” None of them had held weapons. All of them were killed by professional sniper fire, and the snipers saw very well who was it they were shooting.
The cynical government, which had in fact already lost the war with its own people, murdered these people, and had neither reason nor mercy not to. The national or religious heritage of those who were killed is, of course, not important in truth. Just as their age, gender, political views aren’t important. Everything is unimportant, except the fact that they are Ukrainians and that they are heroes of Ukraine, who died in its honor while fighting against evil and injustice. But the propaganda makers in Kremlin’s pay, as well as those who listen to them and who are too rooted in their stereotypes to open their eyes and see the truth for themselves, are still continuing their ritual howling about “anti-Semitic Bandera followers taking power – the descendants of those who killed the Jews at Babiy Yar!”
Please, show them this text and make them read it.
Glory to the heroes.