The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged soccer fans visiting the Ukrainian city of Lviv, which is hosting three Group B matches of the Euro 2012 competition, to boycott two local restaurants with blatantly anti-Semitic themes.
Diners "At the Golden Rose" tavern in the city centre are treated to Klezmer music, given black hats with black pe’ot (sidelocks) to mimic ultra-Orthodox Jews and are told to haggle over the price of their food.
The small Jewish population left in Lviv has called it an outrage and a mockery, especially due to the fact that the city's once proud and vibrant Jewish community was virtually wiped out during the Holocaust.
The eatery is part of a chain of restaurants with ‘gimmicky historical themes.’ The owners claim they want to give the restaurant a feel of Jewish life before World War II.
The Simon Wiesenthal’s Israel Director, Efraim Zuroff, said haggling Jews a "notorious" Eastern European anti-Semitic stereotype.
He also called for a boycott of the "Kryvika" restaurant, which recreates a bunker used by Ukrainian nationalist forces under Stefan Bandera who collaborated with the Nazis and whose supporters actively participated in the mass murder of local Jews in 1941. The password to enter the restaurant is: “Glory to the Ukraine.”
“By patronizing these restaurants, football fans will be unwittingly supporting the most extreme and dangerous elements of Ukrainian society and insulting the memory of tens of thousands of Holocaust victims murdered in Lviv by the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators, a message diametrically opposed to the goals of Euro 2012,” Zuroff said in a statement.
Fans of the Euro 2012 Soccer Championships have been warned against traveling to the Ukraine for the games, for fears that they risk being attacked by Nazi mobs.
Meanwhile, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in the city of Rivne in western Ukraine on Friday. Vandals reportedly broke streetlights and desecrated a plaque in the memory of 17,500 Ukrainian Jews murdered in the Holocaust.