Friday, June 12, 2009

Hit like a Jew hits

Today is Kaf Sivan, little noticed now but a fast day in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe to commemmorate the massacres of 1648-49 in what is now eastern Poland and western Ukraine. That region always was rife with violent Jew hatred. Many Poles and Ukrainians eagerly collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews, and even after the war there was a pogrom in Kielce where over 40 returning Jews were murdered.
Under the Soviets street violence between Ukrainians and Jews was common, but a heartwarming story came out when Jews started leaving for Israel after the Six Day War. When Ukrainians would attack a Jew on the street, onlookers would cheer the Ukrainians to "beat the Jew." After the Six Day War, when two Ukrainian boys got into a fight onlookers would exhort one or the other to "hit like a Jew hits." The two sound more similar in Ukrainian than in English.

What a difference 300 years makes!

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