A senior police officer has been accused of “open anti-Semitism” after asking for a list of all the Jewish inhabitants of a Ukrainian city as part of an inquiry into organised crime.
In a letter to the head of the Orthodox Jewish community in Kolomyya, around 500 miles west of Kiev, investigator Myhaylo Bank requested the names and addresses of Jews and university students “of Jewish ethnicity” for a probe into “ethnic” crime groups, The Times reports.
The letter “did not explain his unit’s particular interest in Kolomyya’s Jews”, says The Jerusalem Post. Jewish leader Jacob Zalishchiker refused to provide the information without a court order.
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The letter was dated 18 February but has only just been made public after being shared on Twitter by Eduard Dolinsky, director general of the Jewish Committee in Kiev.
According to The Times, Dolinsky said that the last time police in Ukraine had demanded lists of Jews was during the German occupation. The Nazis killed more than a million Jews in the then Soviet state during the Second World War.
In comments to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dolinsky said: “It’s a total disgrace and open anti-Semitism. It’s especially dangerous when it comes from a law enforcement agency.”
TV comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelensky was elected last year as Ukraine’s first Jewish president, yet “anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant” in the country, reports The Nation.
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