Friday, April 18, 2014

Nightmare time for Jews of eastern Ukraine

by Thomas Lifson

A leaflet distributed on Passover eve in the city of Dontesk in the Russian-speaking eastern region of Ukraine is reviving memories of pogroms of a century ago for the 17,000 Jews resident there.
Ynet news provides details:
The leaflet, signed by Chairman of Donetsk's temporary government Denis Pushilin, was distributed to Jews near the Donetsk synagogue and later in other areas of the city where pro-Russians activists have declared Donetsk as an independent "people's republic", defying an ultimatum from Kiev to surrender.
The leaflet was written in Russian and had Russia's national symbol on it, as well as the Donetsk People's Republic insignia.
"Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality," the flyer began, "due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta," a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement which fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, "and oppose the pro-Slavic People's Republic of Donetsk, (the interim government) has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent, over 16 years of age and residing within the republic's territory are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register."
 The leaflet detailed what type of documents the Jewish citizens would need to supply: "ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles."
If the message was not made clear enough, the leaflet further stipulated the consequences that would come to those who failed to abide by the new demands: "Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revoke and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property."
Haaretz, the left-leaning Israeli newspaper, casts some doubt as whether this leaflet might have been produced by Pro-Ukraine forces as a kind of black op:
…according to the Novosti Donbassa news agency… the notice was distributed by "three unidentified men wearing balaclavas and carrying the flag of the Russian Federation." The notice was reported by members of the Jewish community of Donetsk.

Novosti Donbassa speculated that the men involved were provocateurs who "tried to provoke a conflict, then to blame the attack on separatists."

Either way, the leaflet reminds us that hatred of Jews is a longstanding and still-virulent feature of life in Ukraine and much of Eastern Europe, once home to a substantial portion of world Jewry, and now just a remnant of the Holocaust. Ukraine supplied SS troops to the Nazis and was among the most enthusiastic locations for the Holocaust during Nazi occupation. The Christian Holy Week/Passover period was the worst time of the year for persecution of Jews, usually culminating on Good Friday. The timing of this leaflet seems intended to revive these memories.

Thomas Lifson


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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