Ukrainian Jewish cemetery vandalism continues


Jewish leaders of a Ukrainian city called on law enforcement agencies to end repeated vandalism in a Jewish cemetery.

Unidentified persons vandalized, damaged and burned a cemetery memorial called the Ohel of Tzadik Rabbi Aharon from Zhytomir, one of the students of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem-Tov, during the night of April 15-16, making it the second reported incident of vandalism in this small Western Ukrainian city in the last five months. Local police are investigating the case but no arrests have been reported.

Last November vandals forced open the door of the Ohel and painted swastikas and different slurs on the memorial’s walls and ceiling. But on a recent visit to the Zhytomir police department, leaders of the local Jewish community learned that the case was not investigated properly. The case was finally transferred on April 7 to the regional prosecutors office.

This most recent act of vandalism illustrates the lax attitude of the local law enforcement agencies and their attitude toward previous acts of vandalism and anti-Semitic incidents, angry local Jewish leaders told JTA. They planned to file a complaint and organize a meeting with leaders of the local department of Security Service of Ukraine.

In the last year Zhytomir has been the focus of several anti-Semitic attackers and vandals.

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