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Ukrainian Jews urge Germany to be more decisive toward Russia

EVANSTON, Ill. — Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, a professor at Northwestern University and an expert on Ukrainian and Jewish history, was among the signatories to an open letter sent last week to German chancellor Olaf Scholz urging him to take a tougher stance on Russia amid Berlin’s reluctance to send arms to Kyiv.

Petrovsky-Shtern is available to speak with media. He can be reached by contacting Mohamed Abdelfattah at

The letter, signed by many in the Ukrainian-Jewish community, read, “We, Ukrainian Jews, know what war means and what calamities it brings to all peoples and nations.” 

It called on Germany to take “more decisive action to deter Russian aggression.” It also stated that Berlin “bears a special responsibility for European security.”

‘This conduct of Germany has nothing in common with neutrality’
Said Petrovsky-Shtern: “Today, Putin's Russia uses the same logic Stalin and Hitler had been using in 1939 against Poland, that is to say, Ukraine is not a country and should not exist as a separate sovereign entity. This conduct of Germany has nothing in common with neutrality. It is an outward cynicism of a bystander observing the unfolding catastrophe from a safe distance. German leadership should be reminded of the responsibility of a bystander, above all moral and political, if not legal.”