Last week, after a Passover service in Donetsk, Ukraine, leaflets were given out to the Jews exiting the temple, demanding they ‘register’ with pro-Russian forces.
The leaflets stated that all Jews over the age of 16 had to register their religion, or face deportation. It also stated that registration cost $50 dollars, and required Jewish citizens to get special passports that “marked their confession of faith.”
This was later deemed an anti-Semitic attack, but one that held little to no actual bearing. The leaflets were deemed fake and the pro-Russian forces deny responsibility for the leaflet.
However, one thing this leaflet did cause is heightened tensions.
Ukraine’s prime minister is searching to find out, and punish, the distributor of the fliers, but even so Jews in eastern Ukraine remain highly concerned.
The event was too reminiscent of the Nazi-era for people to remain calm and collected. With the developing invasion of the Russians on the Ukrainian frontier, people and organizations are urging citizens to move to Israel to seek safety.
More people than not are discussing returning home to Israel. Many citizens have feared that war will start, and now with the addition of anti-Semitism, Jews don’t want to stick around to find out what can happen.
A Holocaust survivor, Sam Pivnik, who at 14 was rounded up and placed in Auschwitz, says that Ukraine is still a hotbed for anti-Semitism. He claims “Jews have no place in Ukraine, because nothing has changed, and as long as Jews remain there, nothing will change.”
Pivnik advices all Jews to leave the country immediately, fearing that they will have to experience what he once did.
As for now, the talk of fleeing to Israel remains in prevalent conversation with the lingering possibility of war. Ukraine officials claim to be searching for the instigator, but many wonder if that will help the anti-Semitism problem in Ukraine.