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For Jews in Ukraine, the threat of war inculcates memories of past horrors

Military officials and analysts agree that any large-scale military action against Ukraine could begin in the east, but Odessa will offer a clear goal. It is home to the country’s largest ports and is the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy. It is bordered by Russian-occupied Crimea to the east and the Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria, in Moldova, to its west, an area along Ukraine’s Black Sea coast that Mr. name from the czarist era, Novorossiya, or New Russia.

Odessa is also only a few hundred miles from where Russian naval forces conduct major exercises in the Black Sea, and some ships are close enough to reach the city within hours.

Like the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Odessa was the site of a pro-Russian separatist uprising in 2014 that sought to establish an independent state. Unlike the eastern territories, the independence movement was quelled after a series of street fights aimed at separatists against Ukrainian nationalists and football hooligans. culminating in the burning of a union building on the outskirts of Odessa. At least 40 pro-Russian activists were killed.

The current conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not entirely understandable to Jews. In Odessa especially, most Jews, as well as much of the city, speak Russian rather than Ukrainian, while many Jews have family and congregational ties that extend across the border. But while some have expressed displeasure with the Kyiv government’s recent efforts to enforce a law requiring Ukrainian to be used in official settings, they have dismissed the idea, often frequently repeated by Mr. Putin and his subordinates, that Russian speakers, Jews or others, may need. the rescue of Russian forces.

Pavel Kozlenko, director of the Holocaust Museum who lost 50 family members to the Nazis and their allies, accused Putin of betraying the memory of the “common victory” in World War I. two. Then he told a joke, as the people of Odessa used to do in the dark ages, about two Jews standing in the street speaking Yiddish.

“A third person came and said, ‘Guys, why are you speaking in Yiddish?’ ‘, He say. “You know, I’m afraid to speak in Russian because if I said that, Putin would show up and try to free us.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/world/europe/ukraine-jews-russia-evacuations.html For Jews in Ukraine, the threat of war inculcates memories of past horrors

Fry Electronics Team

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