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Anti-Semitic April in FSU

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Vandals attacked several Jewish cemeteries and memorials across the former Soviet Union this month.

On Sunday, which was both the first day of Passover and Hitler’s birthday, hundreds rallied at Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square shouting anti-Semitic slogans and waving banners honoring Hitler. Area synagogues added extra security for Passover.

Vandals painted dozens of swastikas on a Holocaust memorial in Slutsk, Belarus, according to a report Monday on the Belarusian opposition Web site Kharitya 97. The memorial marks the site where the Nazis shot and burned to death 3,000 Jews in 1941.

In Ukraine on April 15, vandals attacked the tomb of a prominent rabbi, Aharon of Zhitomir. Local authorities say this is not the first time the cemetery has been attacked and that no action has been taken.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, sent a letter to the Ukrainian president asking him to address the situation.

In Vladivostok, on Russia’s Pacific coast, vandals painted a swastika and other anti-Semitic graffiti on a synagogue door. The April 5 incident was the third in two years, according to the Sova Center, which monitors hate crimes in Russia.

April is usually the most active month for anti-Semitic activity in the former Soviet Union, experts say.

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