Members of the Jewish community in the pro-Russian protest hub of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine were left shaken by the distribution on Friday of tracts demanding the registration of Jews.
Concerns were evident, despite scepticism from Jewish leaders in the region and a US group fighting anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League, that the pamphlets handed out in front of the synagogue on Tuesday were anything more than calculated “provocation” by unknown parties.
Bearing the stamp of the pro-Russian insurgency and signature of one its leaders, they contained a demand for every Jew to gather at the seized local administration building on May 3 to pay a fee of €36 to register or face the threat of being expelled from the region.
The incident happened as around 20 Jews were leaving the synagogue after marking the second day of the Jewish Passover festival. The three hooded men handing out the pamphlets were carrying a Russian flag and the symbol of the separatist Republic of Donetsk.