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‘Open anti-Semitism’: Leaked letter shows Ukrainian police demanded Jews’ names & addresses ‘to fight organized crime’

‘Open anti-Semitism’: Leaked letter shows Ukrainian police demanded Jews’ names & addresses ‘to fight organized crime’
Outrage is brewing in Ukraine after the leak of an inquiry letter in which the national police demanded the Jewish community in a small city disclose the names and addresses of its members, supposedly to fight organized crime.

The letter was apparently sent in mid-February by a senior police official to Yakov Zalishchiker, the Jewish leader in the city of Kolomyya in the western Ivano-Frankivsk region. The official said he needed to know the names, phone numbers, and addresses of Orthodox Jews and university students “of Jewish ethnicity” who belong to the community.

The data was said to be necessary to fight “transnational and ethnic criminal organizations,” which is the task of the department whose head sent the inquiry. Photo of the letter and Zalishchiker’s written refusal to comply were published on Sunday by Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

“It’s a total disgrace and open anti-Semitism,” Dolinsky told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It’s especially dangerous when it comes from a law enforcement agency that we have to fight the very thing it is perpetrating.” The man regularly posts news about honors bestowed on Ukrainian nationalists who slaughtered Jews, Poles, and other ethnic groups, often on behalf of the occupying Nazi forces.

The police demand drags up haunting memories of the Holocaust, several Ukrainian public figures said, expressing outrage after learning about it. “First the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk gives a state funeral to a veteran of the SS-Volunteer Division ‘Galicia’ with people dressed in Nazi uniforms standing around. Now the local police want a list of local Jews,” MP Maks Buzhansky said on Facebook. “What did you expect from them?”

Buzhansky was referring to a January event in the provincial capital. A veteran of the Waffen-SS unit, which was manned by Ukrainian nationalist volunteers and commanded by officers from the dreaded Nazi secret police, was laid to rest. The funeral was attended by top city officials and featured the unit’s flags and uniforms.

“Why don’t you call yourself ‘auxiliary police’ and add the Wehrmacht logo on the form,” prominent Ukrainian lawyer Andrey Portnov sarcastically suggested. “Those idiots are doomed.”

Kolomyya is home to 60,000 people, but the Jewish community headed by Zalishchiker lists only 81 members. It has been locked in a legal battle with the city authorities over the status of three Jewish cemeteries, one of which dates back to the early 17th century. In 2018, the authorities designated them as city parks. Zalishchiker said the move was meant to legitimize a cross memorial at one of the graveyards, which several nationalist groups erected one year prior.

Also on rt.com Vandals paint swastikas on statue of Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem near Kiev’s 2nd-largest synagogue

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