KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko called Monday for an immediate investigation into the “disgusting” daubing of swastikas on a monument to prominent Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem in the Ukrainian capital.
Moshe Reuven Azman, the chief rabbi of Ukraine, posted pictures of the monument to Aleichem, located outside Kyiv’s synagogue, with big red swastikas spray-painted on it Monday.
In a tweet, Prystaiko denounced the anti-Semitic act as “disgusting, appalling and in need of prompt investigation.”
Police have opened a probe into the incident, which was carried out by unidentified vandals.
Очередная провокация напротив нашей синагоги.. сегодня утром……..
Dissemination of the Nazi symbol is illegal in Ukraine and punishable by a jail term of up to five years.
Some reports said that nearby security cameras caught the perpetrators vandalizing the monument, which was erected on Rohnydinska Street in 1997.
After examining the scene, police allowed public utilities workers to clean the swastikas from the statue, the Kyiv Post reported.
A #Kyiv statue of Yiddish-language writer Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, a novelist and playwright known worldwide under the pen name Sholem Aleichem, has been vandalized with swastikas. https://t.co/SvyMcUCXUR
— Kyiv Post (@KyivPost) November 25, 2019
Yiddish author and playwright Aleichem, best known for his “Tevye the Dairyman” story on which the film “Fiddler on the Roof” is based, was born in the Russian Empire in 1859 and died in 1916. He lived in Kyiv between 1903 and 1905.
Ukraine has seen numerous cases of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials across the country. Hateful graffiti has also been painted on synagogues and Jewish institutions across the country.
Israeli Ambassador Joel Lion tweeted that “Ukraine has to wake up,” urging authorities to track down the culprits, bring them to justice and “educate against hatred.”