HIAS Office in Kyiv, Ukraine Defaced with Nazi Symbols

Posted on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 11:06 am

(Kyiv, Ukraine) – The main entrance door to the HIAS offices in Kyiv, Ukraine was defaced with Nazi symbols late Sunday afternoon. According to the HIAS duty guard, who responded to a disturbance outside the door, the group of vandals consisted of three young males, aged 17-18, with closely cropped hair wearing athletic clothing.

The perpetrators used a stencil to spray-paint a Nazi eagle on the door sign with the HIAS Kyiv’s hours of operations. They also laid another swastika on the door using white masking tape.

HIAS Kyiv filed a formal complaint about the incident with Ukrainian police. The office works as a partner to UNHCR providing legal assistance to refugees from Eurasia and Africa.

The emblem of the eagle holding a swastika was used in Germany before and during WWII by the National Socialist government and a variety of associated organizations. The use of the sign has since been banned in Germany and other European countries, but not in Ukraine.

According to Leonard Terlitsky, HIAS Regional Representative in the former USSR: “HIAS, a Jewish organization doing humanitarian work in Kyiv to help refugees from around the world, was the vandals' only target, since Nazi symbols were not visible anywhere else in the neighborhood. HIAS Kyiv will pursue all means of bringing these vandals to justice, since it is our sincere belief that the world should know about every single hate crime and perpetrators of such crime must be apprehended and prosecuted.”