Kerry: Leaflets Order Ukrainian Jews to Register, List Belongings

Matt Vespa
By Matt Vespa | April 17, 2014 | 4:52 PM EDT

A new development in the Ukrainian crisis is eerily reminiscent of the policies enacted by Nazi Germany.  In the eastern part of the country, leaflets have been recovered ordering Jews to register themselves for a fee of $50.  It also demands that they provide a list of their home possessions.  Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed these reports and described them as "grotesque" (Via Fox News):

Kerry's comments follow a report in Israel's Ynet News that a leaflet was circulating in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, demanding that Jews register -- as well as provide a list of property they own -- or else face deportation and revocation of citizenship. Pro-Russian activists have asserted partial control over some government buildings in that city.

Ynet reported that the notices were signed by Denis Pushilin, chairman of Donetsk's temporary government -- though Ynet reports that Pushilin confirmed the flyers came from his organization, "but denied any connection to the leaflet's content."

The notices reportedly were sent to areas where pro-Russian activists have declared the region as a "people's republic" in defiance of the central Ukrainian government.

While questions circulated about the origin of the flyers, Ynet reported the flyers said that because Jewish community leaders supported a Ukrainian nationalist movement and "oppose the pro-Slavic People's Republic of Donetsk," the interim government has decided: "that all citizens of Jewish descent, over 16 years of age and residing within the republic's territory are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register."

Ukrainian city of Donetsk has been taken over by pro-Russian militants, and its Jewish residents have noted that they've never experienced anti-Semitism until now (via USA Today):

Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.

"We don't know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it's serious that it exists," she said. "The text reminds of the fascists in 1941," she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.

USA Today also noted that "Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it's unclear whether the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp."

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