KYIV -- Vandals have painted large swastikas on a monument of the prominent Jewish author and playwright Sholem Aleichem in Kyiv just days ahead of a summit of regional Jewish leaders in Ukraine.
Worshippers at the Brodskiy Synagogue in central Kyiv found the sculpture in the morning on November 25 vandalized with a large red swastika painted on the body of the monument, which depicts Aleichem standing with a cane in one hand while doffing his hat with the other.
Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko denounced the act in a tweet as “disgusting, appalling, and in need of prompt investigation.”
"The perpetrator(s) must be brought to justice," he said.
The National Police of Ukraine said in a statement that a probe has been launched into what they called "hooliganism."
Sholem Aleichem, born as Solomon Naumoych Rabynovych in Ukraine in 1859, wrote his works in Yiddish.
His most known and popular book was a series of short stories about Tevye the Dairyman, a pious Jewish milkman living in Tsarist Russia, upon which the musical Fiddler On The Roof was based.
In 1906, Sholem Aleichem emigrated to the West after a series of Jewish pogroms in the southern regions of the then Russian Empire, including Ukraine, and died in New York in 1916 of tuberculosis.
His funeral was considered to be one of the largest in New York City at the time, with some 100,000 mourners attending the farewell ceremony.
Members of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) and Europea Jewish Parliament (EJP) will gather in Ukraine on November 27 for the Summit of Eurasian Jewry, where they will address a number of issues and call for a peaceful dialogue in resolving conflicts.
The summit will take place in Anatevka, a small village outside of Kyiv named after the fictional hometown of Tevye the Dairyman.