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Ukrainian Jewish groups warn of ‘open anti-semitism’ after police demand list of Jews in organised-crime probe

UKRANIAN police have been accused of “open anti-semitism” after a high-ranking official demanded a list of all Jews in the western city of Kolomyya as part of investigations into organised crime.

The chilling request was made in February, according to a copy of the document posted on Twitter on Sunday by Ukrainian Jewish Committee director Eduard Dolinsky.

“Please provide us the following information regarding the Orthodox Jewish religious community of Kolomyya, namely: The organisation’s charter; list of members of the Jewish religious community, with indication of data, mobile phones and their places of residence,” the letter stated.

It was signed by Myhaylo Bank, a high-ranking official in Ukraine’s national police force with responsibility for organised crime, who did not explain why officers are interested in the city’s Jewish community.

Spokesman for the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Jacob Zalichker refused to supply the information requested by Mr Bank and said the community would only responded if presented with a court order.

 “It’s a total disgrace and open anti-semitism,” Mr Dolinsky told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“It’s especially dangerous when it comes from a law-enforcement agency that we have to fight the very thing it is perpetrating.”

The city of Kolomyya lies around 250 miles south-west of the Ukrainian capital Kiev and has a sizeable Jewish community.

The scourge of anti-semitism is on the rise in Ukraine. Shocking incidents and attacks on Jews led by far-right nationalist groups and politician were revealed last year in a 23-page document published by the United Jewish Community of Ukraine.

It coincides with a rehabilitation of Nazis, including legislation making it a criminal offence to criticise World War II collaborator Stepan Bandera.

Earlier this year, Kiev city council announced a programme for a year of celebrations of the birthdays of individuals the Communist Party of Ukraine has described as “Nazi killers, thugs, executioners and anti-semites.”

This includes the centenary of the birth of Nazi collaborator and war criminal Vasyl Levkovych, who, as head of the Ukrainian auxiliary police in Dubno, organised anti-semitic pogroms and the murder of 5,000 Jews and thousands of Poles.

Also included in the celebrations is the 115th birthday of notorious anti-semite Ulas Samchuk, a member of the extremist Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, who described the murder of the Jews of Kiev, including thousands of children, as “a great day.”

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