Report on Ukrainian Jewish refugees attacked by locals untrue, says local Chabad

Chabad-Lubavitch of Zhitomir contacted World Israel News after publication of this article, saying that the information provided in this 0404 report is false. 

By World Israel News Staff

Hundreds of Jewish families in Ukraine were forced to flee their homes not due to the Russian invasion, but because of Ukrainians looting their properties and physically attacking them, Hebrew-language news site 0404 reported Sunday.

The Lev Layeled NGO told 0404 that Jews in the town of Zhytomyr were threatened, harassed, and physically beaten by locals looking to take advantage of the chaos caused by the fighting between Ukraine and Russia.

The Jewish outreach organization Chabad and Lev Layeled manage an orphanage and children’s homes in Zhytomyr and its outskirts.

“On Thursday, the Ukrainians who worked at the orphanage began looting and beating the local Jews,” Lev Layeled said in a statement.

“The Ukrainian authorities called Chabad and told them they needed to [flee] urgently in order to save their lives.”

The organizations scrambled to organize evacuation buses for the children in their care. They were successfully taken to Romania, and then flown to Israel.

But due to the presence of the Chabad institutions in the town, Jews from surrounding communities continued to pour into Zhytomyr seeking refuge.

“The situation deteriorated even further, as hundreds of Jewish families found themselves harassed and beaten by Ukrainians there,” the organization said.

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“We got a call at 6 a.m. this morning, asking again for help as more and more families are coming forward to leave everything behind and save their lives — not only because of the bombing, but because of the locals turning against them.”

While Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly invoked the Holocaust in order to urge Israel and Western countries to support Ukraine’s military resistance, the Eastern European nation has a long history of antisemitic violence.

During World War II, local Ukrainians aided the Nazis in slaughtering hundreds of thousands of their Jewish neighbors, and perpetrated multiple pogroms against Jewish communities.