A monument to famed Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem, the creator of the story later immortalized in the movie "Fiddler on the Roof," was vandalized with a red swastika spray painted by unknown assailants in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Monday morning.
A complaint was filled to local police on the matter. Kiev city council announced it will clean and restore the statue.
The statue resides in front of the Brodetsky Synagogue in the center of Kiev, itself a site of several anti-Semitic attacks over the last few years. The latest attack was in October, when an effigy of a local Jewish leader was laid at the steps of the building covered in red paint to symbolize blood.
The Sholem Aleichem statue was created by the Jewish-Ukrainian sculptor Valeriy Medvediev and was inaugurated in Kiev in 1997.
Kiev Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Essman described the graffiti as a "fanatical provocation."
Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Joel Lion tweeted that "Ukraine has to wake up, urging authorities to track down the culprits, bring them to justice and also educate against hatred."
Many Jewish and Israeli tourists visit the statue, which has over time become a symbol for the Kiev Jewish community.
Sholem Aleichem, born Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, was a Ukrainian-born Yiddish writer and is one of the most known Jewish writers of all time. He would write frequently about the lives of Ukrainian Jews during the late 19th century.
His most famous literary characters, the Jewish merchant Menachem Mendel and Tevye the Dairyman, have over the years become the archetype of Jews in the Diaspora. Tyhe latter was adapted into the stage and movie "Fiddler on the Roof."
Valeriy Medvediev is considered by some of the most famous Jewish sculptor in Ukraine. Many of his works are shown all around Kiev, including the Sholem Aleichem statue, a plaque at Golda Meir's childhood home in the city and the statues commemorating the Babi Yar massacre of about 34,000 Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Medvedev, who immigrated to Israel last April, told Ynet then that "when Sholem Aleichem's granddaughter came to Kiev, I gave her a tour. She was very excited to see the statue. We had many long talks and I had the utmost respect in meeting her."