Ukraine synagogue in Crimea spray painted with ‘death to the Jews’

Screenshot of a Crimean news website's report on the anti-Semitic wording spray painted on a synagogue in Simferopol. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( A news website from Crimea, a Ukrainian region that is now the site of clashes between ethnic Russian residents and Ukrainians in the wake of the toppling of Ukraine's former government, reported that a synagogue in the city of Simferopol was spray painted with anti-Semitic language.

The spray paint included Swastika symbols and the wording "death to the Jews," said Anatoly Gendin, head of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Crimea, reported Although there is no direct evidence linking anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine with the broader unrest in the country, Gendin pointed to the fact that since the Maidan protests started, Ukrainian life has gotten 30 percent more expensive and the Ukrainian Oschadbank stopped issuing pension payments to the elderly.

"When I look at this anti-Semitic writing, I understand that the provocateurs want to turn the attention of regular people to 'those responsible for these negative changes.' History tells us that those always to blame are—the Jews! What will happen later? I don't know," Gendin said, as translated from Russian by

In Simferopol, which is experiencing increased tension and violence resulting in the suspension of public transit and the closure of the city center, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is offering extra security services for the local Jewish community at its Hesed center. In Kiev and several other Ukrainian cities, JDC's emergency network is providing services such as food deliveries to elderly and poor Jewish families.

Posted on February 28, 2014 .