Uman is an important city for many Jews, with thousands making the trip there every year on pilgrimage to the grave of Rebbe Nachman, the founder of the Breslover Hassidic sect.
A group of about 30 Ukrainians attacked Jewish worshipers close to midnight on Friday night in Uman and beat Jews outside the grave of Rebbe Nachman in what was described as a “pogrom”.
“Four Jews were taken to the nearest hospital on Friday night as a result of being beaten by the Ukrainians. On Motzei Shabbat they returned and the fighting is now at its height”, Yeshiva World News reported.
Witnesses say the Ukrainians were running through the street looking for Jews with knives and clubs in their hands.
One Jew who spent Shabbos in Uman told Kikar Shabbos: “I returned from the kloiz [a small prayer room and study hall] and I see that they’re beating every Jew who ‘dared’ to look at them or say a word to them. It started with an insignificant dispute between one of the local Ukrainians and a Jew. The Ukrainian involved in the dispute called his anti-Semitic friends to come and beat up Jews.
“The police did show up at the scene but didn’t lift a finger to help the Jews. They just stood by and watched what was happening, while the Jews were being beaten up. What they did do was prevent the dozens of thugs from entering the tziun.”
Shemira Ukraine Director Shlomi Elisha told Kikar Shabbos: “We have no more expectations of the Ukrainian authorities.”
Also, he added: “Due to the many incidents in recent months, we’re funding a commando unit which will protect us and our streets from the Ukrainian thugs.”
Note: A large Jewish community lived in Uman in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the Second World War, in 1941, the Battle of Uman took place in the vicinity of the town, where the German army encircled Soviet positions. The Germans deported the entire Jewish community, murdering some 17,000 Jews, and completely destroyed the Jewish cemetery, burial place of the victims of the 1768 uprising as well as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. (After the war, a Breslov Hasid managed to locate the Rebbe’s grave and preserved it when the Soviets turned the entire area into a housing project.)
Header: Tomb of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov – Uman, Ukraine.