Thursday, September 10, 2015

Russia: Antisemitism in prison

Via Jerusalem Post:

Chaim Silber, 26, an Oleh Hadash, and former lone soldier, was exonerated one-year-ago after spending a week in Russian prison last summer on charges of weapons trafficking after he was caught with several stray Israeli bullets in his suitcase leftover from his service in the IDF.

Upon arriving in the airport in Moscow on a scheduled layover on his way to visit his family in New York, Silber was called to the security offices and taken into custody where he faced intensive interrogations over the course of several hours.


The translator also recommended, that contrary to his natural instincts, Silber should continue wearing his kippa while in prison.

"He told me that the prisoners would know I was Jewish anyway. If I didn't wear it they would sense I was hiding something. If you keep the kippa on it will be a shock for them. They will think that if you are crazy enough to wear your kippa, maybe you are someone we shouldn't mess with," he explained.


Silber was lead down a long, dark hallway filled with steel doors with small, square holes cut into them.

"As I walked down the hall, all I saw were eyes staring out at me through the peepholes. The prisoners started chanting "Yivri, Yivri, Yivri, (Jew, Jew, Jew)," recalled Silber.
"The guard opened the door to one of the cells. Inside were six huge men, one with a tattoo of a swastika on his neck. I looked at the guard just as he was leaving the cell and I said to him in English, 'My blood is on your hands.'"

The guard appeared to have understood the situation on his own despite the language difference, as he looked back and forth between Silber and the other prisoners. He shouted at the men to leave the room and as they filed past, muttering anti-Semitic slurs under their breath, each one took a moment to spit at or kick Silber as they exited into the hallway.  more

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