Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine complained when a local police force demanded the names, addresses and mobile phone numbers of all Jews in the municipality.
Ukrainian police officials at the national level are stepping in to investigate why a local police force demanded the Jewish community hand over a list of all Jews with their personal data., the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee said Tuesday.
“National Police of Ukraine have launched an investigation on why Ivano-Frankivsk police department had demanded a list of all Jews in Kolomiya city with mobile phones and addresses. The announcement came after the Israeli Ambassador Mr. Joel Lion’s intervention in the matter,” tweeted Eduard Dolinsky, director general of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.
Police had also demanded a list of Jewish students in universities with addresses and phones, claiming it was needed to “fight against transnational criminal gangs,” Dolinsky tweeted on Sunday along with a picture of the letter he received.
The letter was signed by Myhaylo Bank, a high-ranking officer who handles organized crime, but did not elaborate why police needed the private information about the town’s Jews.
“Just after I brought this letter to the attention of Ukraine’s president, foreign ministry and interior ministry I received phone calls from the highest officials of Ukraine strongly condemning this act of anti-Semitism,” Ambassador Lion tweeted. “We will work together to better educate police about anti-Semitism.”
“It’s a total disgrace and open anti-Semitism,” 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.”
Kolomyya and its environs, located about 250 miles southwest of Kiev, has several hundred Jews out of about 60,000 residents. In 1900 there were about 17,000 Jews in Lolomyya, roughly half of the town’s population, but most were murdered beginning in 1941 when the Nazis occupied the town.
Andrew Stroehlein, the European Media Director for Human Rights Watch, said the region has a history of praising collaboration with the Nazis.
“You can also see new monuments to ultranationalist and Nazi-collaborator Stepan Bandera in many places in western Ukraine,” Stroehlien tweeted together with a picture he took of a monument last summer in Kolomyya.
“That people today still idolize him is frightening,” he said.