Kharkov: Death Threats at Jewish School

Anti-Semitic graffiti was found on a Jewish school in Kharkov, Ukraine. Hate slogans included 'Kill the Jews,' and 'Heil Happy Holocaust.'

Chaim Lev, Cynthia Blank ,


Jewish students in Kharkov, Ukraine were shocked to discover serious anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed across their school building Thursday. 

The graffiti included the slogans "Kill the Jews," and "Heil Happy Holocaust," as well as crossed out images of Stars of David and swastikas. 

Educators were quick to call the local police, who arrived immediately and conducted tests and other trace search operations.

Kharkov's Chief Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz responded to the disturbing incident: "We cannot point to who did this. At such a sensitive time it is difficult to know who is behind this act."

The Rabbi continued, "Our response should always be spreading more light than darkness - the continued study of Jewish values in the school, and all schools across the country will bring security and faith. With the help of God, we will make it through this period as well."

Last week, Russian media accused Ukraine of preventing media from reporting on growing anti-Semitism in the Jewish communities in Ukraine. Moscow has been accusing Kiev of increased anti-Semitism in the country for months. 

Anti-Semitic incidents in the past year have included stabbings, graffiti, attacks on Jewish-owned businesses, and the firebombing of cars and synagogues.

According to the Russians, Odessa recently saw a string of severe anti-Semitic incidents, but Ukrainian media censored the news so as to "not tell the truth that Neo-Nazis and the extreme right are acting out in Ukraine in whatever manner they please."

The Jewish community in Odessa, however, has said that Russia's spin has no connection to reality, and if there were anti-Semitic incidents in Odessa, it would be impossible to prevent the publication of such information. They also stressed that anti-Semitism rates have decreased significantly since the new government came to power. 

Additionally, despite Russian officials' insistence that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Ukraine, local Jewish leaders have shrugged off the "overhyped" claims saying that life for Ukrainian Jewry is actually "safer and easier" than in the West. 

Ukraine's Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (VAAD) has also stepped up its public campaign to dismiss rumors of rampant anti-Semitism in Ukraine, claiming it is a "political tool" being wielded by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify Moscow's support for Ukrainian rebel forces.

Kiev seems to agree. They have previously come out against Russia, accusing them of being the agents behind anti-Semitic activity in Ukraine, in order to prove that the new government is not doing enough to eradicate anti-Semitism and thus to legitimize their presence in Ukraine.