In Ukraine, Jews witness historic echoes in pogroms against the Roma

Over 80 residents of Loshchynivka, Ukraine, fled their homes last month as villagers took the law into their own hands after the murder of a local child, Pogroms have returned to Ukraine, but this time the violence is not directed at the Jews. At the end of August, about 10 Roma families numbering approximately 80 people were forced to flee from the village of Loshchynivka, about 250 kilometers from Odessa, in an incident which was described in the Ukrainian media as a “Gypsy pogrom.” An amateur video captured the August 27 incident in which a crowd of men threw rocks at windows and broke doors, as police watched but did nothing. The next day, about eight homes were destroyed — the walls knocked down with tractors, one home burned, another was left without a roof. Inside, television screens were smashed, mattresses ripped, a kitchen stove was thrown on its side. “We got a phone call, they said, ‘Leave now or we will kill you.’ We didn’t have time to take our things or our documents. We just grabbed the children and ran,“ said Nikolay Churali, a Roma man who fled from his home with his wife, two children, his elderly mother and 10 relatives. “We were outside. We cried; the mosquitoes bit us. A half hour later, they started to break down the houses. I can’t describe it with words.” The family lost everything they had and is temporarily staying with “some people” in the nearby town. “We don’t know where we will go tomorrow,” Churali said. Echoes of pogroms against Jews When asked to compare Gypsy pogroms in today’s Ukraine to the Jewish pogroms that took place here 100 years ago, a 39-year old Loshchynivka resident who participated in the pogrom (he did not give his name because he feared for his safety), said that the pogroms against Jews and Gypsies “have a lot of similarities,” because “the problems were the same.” According to him, that’s because the victims of the pogroms were not honest people. (…) The village is now patrolled by 10 men from the Azov Regiment, a right-wing civilian militia with the mission of “fighting the internal enemies of Ukraine.” Regiment member Mihail Zvonik, 19, said that Azov volunteers came to the village to ensure the safety of residents after they allegedly received telephone threats from the Roma. “If the government tries to punish those who participated in the pogrom, that will evoke further unrest because the people will protest against it,” he said.
A member of the right-wing Azov group standing with a priest in Loshchynivka, Ukraine, a day after violent pogroms caused 80 Roma residents to flee. (courtesy of Marianna Zlobina) A member of the right-wing Azov group standing with a priest in Loshchynivka, Ukraine, a day after violent pogroms caused 80 Roma residents to flee. (courtesy of Marianna Zlobina) Zvonik said that people had to take the law into their own hands because police did nothing about the drug trade and the lawlessness in the village for years.

via times of israel: In Ukraine, Jews witness historic echoes in pogroms against the Roma

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