The Chief Rabbi of Donetsk Pinchas Vishedski spoke with controlled outrage, holding up a piece of paper bearing an elaborate stamp with two crossed hammers.
“The last time in history that someone wrote a text like that was in 1939 in the Nazi time,” he told England’s Telegraph as he stood in the whitewashed calm of his synagogue in the eastern Ukrainian city.
On the second night of Passover, three masked men arrived outside Beit Menahem Mendal Synagogue, carrying bundles of these notices. They posted one on the wall and then distributed the rest to about 200 Jewish worshippers who were leaving the modestly ornate building.
The leaflet ordered all “citizens of Jewish nationality” to “register” with the Donetsk regional administration, now controlled by pro-Russian revolutionaries. All parties deny involvement.
And in Geneva, where diplomats held emergency talks on the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaflets “grotesque” and “beyond unacceptable.”