Tourists in town for Euro 2012 have been urged to avoid a restaurant in the Ukraine that invites customers to dress up as and mimic Orthodox Jews.
According to Dr Ephraim Zuroff, the Nazi-hunter and a director of the human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, “At the Golden Rose” is one of two antisemitic eating establishments in the city of Lviv, where three group B matches are to be played.
Dr Zuroff said that the restaurant gives guests hats with peyot attached when they arrive, and avoids citing prices on the menu so that people have to “haggle” on payment.
At another restaurant, “Kryvika”, customers are welcomed into a room that is reminiscent of a Nazi-era bunker, after greeting waiters with the password “Glory to the Ukraine.”
“By patronising these restaurants, football fans will be unwittingly supporting the most extreme and dangerous elements of Ukrainian society,” said Dr Zuroff. “They will be insulting the memory of tens of thousands of Holocaust victims murdered in Lviv by the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators, a message diametrically opposed to the goals of Euro 2012.”
His warning came as it emerged that a Second World War Jewish burial site had been desecrated in Rivne, which is about 200 kilometres away from Lviv.
The city’s police official said vandals smashed a plaque commemorating 17,500 Jews killed there by the Nazis and collaborators. The vandals also broke a street lamp and laid the parts out to display insulting words. The attack was labelled “horrific” by Hennady Frayerman, who leads Rivne’s small Jewish community.
Concerns about racism and antisemitism among the locals in Poland and Ukraine have been heavily discussed in the media in the run up to the football tournament, which begins today.