Jew-hatred in the Ukraine has a terrible genocidal history. Between 1941 and 1945, 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews were exterminated. Most Ukrainians chose to cooperate with the Nazis. Newly uncovered mass graves speak to an even greater horror.
And now again — but these barbarians can’t hide behind the Nazis this time.
Fingers are being pointed at both the nationalists and the Russians. I have seen similar charges waged at the nationalists in the past months. In either case the Ukraine has a wicked history and they are living up to it. Which is why I have not written much about the Russian invasion. Both sides stink.
It sounds eerily like this:
Jews of the city of Kiev and vicinity! On Monday, September 29, you are to appear by 08:00 a.m. with your possessions, money, documents, valuables, and warm clothing at Dorogozhitskaya Street, next to the Jewish cemetery. Failure to appear is punishable by death.
—Order posted in Kiev in Russian and Ukrainian on or around September 26, 1941
There are currently 70,000 Jews in the Ukraine. Israel ought to airlift those poor Jewish souls out of there. Why there are still there is beyond me. Every Jew who I ever met from the Ukraine had a horrible story to tell of systematic Jew-hatred, persecution and humiliation.
UPDATE: Here’s the flier:
WaPo: A leaflet calling for Jews to register has reportedly been handed out in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has commented on the letter, saying that it is “not just intolerable; it’s grotesque, is beyond unacceptable.”
“Jews have been ordered to register in east Ukraine,” USA Today
Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.
Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.
UPDATE: WaPo says not to worry. Imagine WaPo ‘s reactions had it ben directly at Muslim s if it had been Muslims. Here’s what Washington Post is reporting.
On Tuesday, the well-regarded Web site Novosti.dn.ua reported on the leaflets, writing that they were handed out by three unidentified men carrying the flag of the Russian Federation. The site also reported that there was speculation that the men were trying to provoke a conflict and then blame the conflict on pro-Russia separatists.
What, exactly, does the leaflet says?
Photographs of the leaflet are circulating widely on Twitter.
The Interpreter’s Paul Gobles gave this informal translation:
Respected citizens of Jewish nationality! Given that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine support the Banderite junta in Kiev and are hostile to the Orthodox Donetsk Republic and its citizens, the Main Staff of the Donetsk Republic orders the following:
All citizens of Jewish nationality over the age of 16 who live on the territory of the sovereign Donetsk Republic must before May 3, 2014, appear before the Donetsk Republic commissar for nationality affairs in Room 514 of the government’s offices. The cost of registration is 50 US dollars.
In addition to the sum of 50 US dollars, those registering must bring their passports so that their religious affiliation can be entered, documents about the members of their families, and also notarized documents about all the real estate and means of transportation you own.
Those who refuse to register will be deprived of citizenship and forcibly expelled from the republic and their property will be confiscated.
So, who is behind the leaflet?
That’s not exactly clear.
The leaflet is written in Russian and clearly had Russia’s national symbol on it, as well as the symbol of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the state declared by pro-Russians separatists. It bears the signature of the chairman of Donetsk’s temporary government, Denis Pushilin. However, there are conflicting reports from Pushilin about the letter. According to the Times of Israel, Pushilin has denied involvement with the letter, though YNetNews reports that he has admitted that his men may have handed out the letter.
And who received the leaflet?
Again, this isn’t exactly clear.
The Times of Israel cites reports from Novosti.dn.ua that suggests that the leaflets were given out by masked men wearing military uniforms and carrying a Russian flag Tuesday. The Post’s Anthony Faiola has spoken to a couple of members of the Jewish community in Donetsk, who said that a few dozen of the leaflets were handed out a couple of days ago.
So, what is going on?
While the content of the letter is obviously offensive, there are plenty of reasons to be a little cautious aboutthis story, and groups like the Anti-Defamation League have been careful to add in news releases that they were “skeptical about the flier’s authenticity.”
It certainly seems possible that the flier was the work of pro-Russia separatists, working with or without the support or knowledge of Pushilin. At this stage, however, it is also possible that the letter was written by someone seeking to discredit Pushilin and the separatist government, as Novosti.dn.ua reported.
How worried should we be?
Our reporters in Donetsk have spoken to members of the Jewish community, who say that while the letters do appear to have been handed out, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal.
Whatever actually happened, there is one clear takeaway here: With both sides accusing the other of being “Nazis,” and accusing the other of anti-Semitism, Eastern Ukraine’s Jewish community is having an especially tough time during the Ukrainian crisis.