Just days after a synagogue was fire bombed, new reports of anti-Jewish violence have emerged in Ukraine, including the vandalizing of a Holocaust memorial and a prominent Jewish figure’s tomb.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), quoting the Sevastopolskaya Gazeta, reported Tuesday that the Holocaust Memorial in Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula was spray painted in red with a hammer and sickle and the letters USSR.
The memorial was built in 2003 to commemorate the 1942 murder at the site of 4,200 Jews by the Nazis. JTA noted that the memorial has been in the past vandalized by neo-Nazis.
Israel National News reported that vandals in Dnepropetrovsk spray painted swastikas on the tomb of Dov Ber Schneerson, the brother of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late leader of the Lubavicher Jewish movement. Rabbi Moshe Weber of the Lubavicher movement, also known as Chabad, said that the graffiti looked recent.
Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday during a visit to the former Soviet republic that there is “no place” for anti-Semitism in Ukraine.
“Just as corruption can have no place in the new Ukraine, neither can anti-Semitism or bigotry,” Biden said according to the Associated Press. “Let me say that again, neither can anti-Semitism or bigotry. No place. None. Zero. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms all threats and attacks against Ukrainian Jewish communities as well as Roma and others, as you do, as well, I know, Mr. Prime Minister.”
During the press conference, Biden stood beside acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who did not directly address the anti-Semitic attacks in his remarks.
Other acts of anti-Jewish violence since the revolution began included a stabbing and the burning of two synagogues.
Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the main synagogue in the southern Ukrainian city of Nikolayev on Friday night, which was both the Jewish Sabbath and during the weeklong festival of Passover. The attack was reported to have occurred at 2 a.m. when the house of worship was empty.
Last week, members of the Jewish community in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine reported that three masked men carrying Russian flags had handed out leaflets outside their synagogue telling Jews they had to register and declare their property to the separatist government. The pro-Russian separatist leader said he was not behind the document which was denounced by the Obama administration.
Yatsenyuk vowed over the weekend to find the “bastards” behind the leaflets and bring them to justice.