Jewish people in eastern Ukraine are being told they need to “register” with the separatist forces USA Today reports. Jews coming from a synagogue in Donetsk said that pro-Russian militants gave them pamphlets informing of the required registration.
Each Jew is allegedly to provide the pro-Russian forces with a list of property they own and pay a fee. The leaflets say the penalty for not cooperating is losing all possessions, citizenship, and deportation.
The government buildings in the city of Donetsk have been taken over by the pro-Russian forces, which call themselves an “anti-terrorist” group.
The pamphlets are marked with Denis Pushilin’s name, but the chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government” denied his association with them.
Jews in eastern Ukraine feel a connection between these demands and the Nazi occupation of Ukraine in World War II. Jewish Donetsk resident Olga Reznikova said, “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941.”
Anti-Defamation League director of international affairs Michael Salberg fears that the distributed leaflets will serve as propaganda to turn people against the Jewish community. He says the message is “we’re going to exert our power over you.”
“Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line,” Salberg said.
Publication date: April 17, 2014