The Yeshiva World
A day after graffiti calling for “Death to Kikes” appeared on the wall of the Hesed Shpira Jewish social-services building in Uzhgorod, Western Ukraine, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Mendy Wilhelm awoke to find a threatening anti-Semitic slur spray-painted on the wall of his synagogue and Jewish community center in the same city.
“We remember 1932-1933,” reads the graffiti. “Take revenge.”
The threat refers to the 1932-33 Soviet-engineered famine in Ukraine, which killed 3.9 million people and is known as Holodomor. The graffiti appeared on the Hesed building on Nov. 25, which is Ukraine’s official “Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Holodomor.” Although great numbers of Jews died during the famines caused by Stalin’s policy of forced collectivization, it is a common anti-Semitic trope to blame the Jews for the events of those years.
“We have a community, a preschool, Torah classes . . . we need to do something about this,” says Wilhelm. “There are children here constantly; it’s frightening.”
In reaction to the threat, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, allocated funds to Uzhgorod’s Jewish community to immediately upgrade its security measures.