OMG is exactly what I said when I read this article from USA Today (plus I laced it with a lot of heavy expletives, in both English and Russian).
The article talks about a leaflet that was published in the Eastern Ukraine that orders Jews to register their nationality/religion along with their property and other assets – “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated”.
This cannot be happening in the world! Not again! Have we not learned yet that some history absolutely cannot repeat itself?! I’m pretty sure some similar notes German Jews received in the 1930s right in the beginning of the Nazi regime. And I know these kind of notes were distributed in the 1940s when Kharkov (the city I was born in) and the whole Ukraine was occupied by the Nazi troops, when my great-grandparents were forced to register and my great-grandfather (a gentle soul and a very talented city jeweler) was subsequently tortured by the Nazi (luckily he survived).
I was raised in a country where antisemitism was widespread and covertly accepted (if not even encouraged), where every Soviet citizen had to register their ethnicity/nationality right in their passport (along with all the marriages, divorces and a number of children), along with the complete information for your parents (no matter your age), such privilege as private information simply didn’t exist in the Soviet Union. And now, in the middle of the country upheaval and restructuring, facing a possible Civil War between the pro-Russian and pro-Western regions and supporters, it seems like the very worst and disturbing facts of history that we thought are long gone and learned from are raising their disgusting head again.
I’ve spent my entire adult life in the US, and such ugly examples seem unthinkable by now. I can’t imagine of having to “register” for anything except maybe my desire to vote. I come from a mixed family, my mother’s side is Jewish, and my father’s side is Orthodox Christian, it’d have been a “tough call” for any registration as here in America a religion is simply a choice, and even if to go with strict religious rules, it’s still be questionable: in Judaism, your religion is determined by your mother’s side, and in Russian Orthodoxy, it’s determined by your father’s side. None of it would have mattered to the Soviets (and the Nazis), both adopted the mentality that even a drop of Jewish blood makes you Jewish. Including my son (who is Catholic). Plus I’m sure his Italian father would’ve been swept too – guilty by association.
Here in America though, we are right in the middle of Passover week, and as I’m snacking on some (gluten free) matzoh, planning this Sunday’s Easter meal (both Western and Eastern Easter are on the same day this year), I’m just happy I’m half across the world away from that antisemitic madness but also praying that somehow humanity and peace will once again prevail over hate and destruction.
O is for OMG and for something old and Russian and for making this recipe
Old Russian Summer Compote