TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 17, 2014) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine following the distribution of leaflets to Jews exiting synagogue on the Passover holiday. The leaflets ordered Jewish citizens to register with authorities in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings.
According to reports provided to Simon Wiesenthal Center officials by U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in Kiev, the flyers ordering Jews to register and list their property or face deportation and revocation of citizenship are "Clearly part of a general effort to sow fear among Ukrainian Jews."
"The Wiesenthal Center denounces this grotesque action that is clearly designed to spread more fear among the Jewish community, already reeling from the increased instability that has racked the region for the past few months," said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper in a statement released in Los Angeles. "We urge authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Jewish communal Institutions," they concluded.
"Although it remains unclear who is behind these pamphlets, the sentiment clearly reflects echoes of the worst antisemitism in European history," said FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo. "I urge both Russian and Ukrainian authorities to take threats of this nature very seriously; history shows that neglecting the racist lunatic fringe is not a sound policy."
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is a leading non-profit human rights organization directly representing over 30,000 Canadian members. FSWC is committed to countering racism and antisemitism and to promoting the principles of tolerance, social justice and Canadian democratic values through advocacy and education. Through its affiliation with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the organization has won two Academy Awards, has two Museums of Tolerances (with a third being built in Jerusalem) and is represented at the United Nations and the OSCE. FSWC has a diverse number of programs, including Freedom Day and the Tour4Humanity.