Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem statue in Kiev defaced with swastikas

"This is not just random vandalism, but a premeditated act," Moshe Reuven Azman told Maariv.

A statue to prominent Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem in Kiev was found defaced by swastikas on November 25, 2019. (photo credit: COURTESY OF MOSHE REUVEN AZMAN)
A statue to prominent Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem in Kiev was found defaced by swastikas on November 25, 2019.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF MOSHE REUVEN AZMAN)
A statue of prominent Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem in Kiev was found defaced by swastikas on Monday, Moshe Reuven Azman, one of the country’s chief rabbis, announced.
“I believe this is a provocation because the act was brazen and overly conspicuous,” Azaman told The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv. “This antisemitic vandalism was committed at night, in the city center, near a synagogue. The swastikas were sprayed using paint. This is not just random vandalism, in my opinion, but a premeditated act. We are waiting for the results of the investigation by the authorities.”

The 10-foot monument was unveiled in the Ukrainian capital in 1999, according to JTA. The writer, who was born in the city of Pereiaslav in 1859 and died in New York in 1916, spent much of his life in Kiev, which he called by the fictitious name of “Yehupetz” in his writings.
The episode marks just the latest in a series of antisemitic incidents in the country over the past few months, which included the desecration of Holocaust memorials, Nazi salutes at a football game and threats against Jewish leaders – including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to Azman, there are 300,000 to 400,000 Jews in the country, making it one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.
Among others, the rabbi has recently made headlines for his ties with Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor New York City and currently US President Donald Trump’s lawyer.
A meeting between them earlier this year seemed to have been arranged by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani’s Jewish associates who have been linked to his and Trump’s Ukrainian lobbying efforts.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested at the Washington-area Dulles International Airport in October on campaign finance charges stemming from their efforts to funnel foreign money to American political candidates.

JTA contributed to this report.