stereotypes or shock marketing? In Euro 2012 host city Lviv, debate
is raging about two restaurants -- one dedicated to the local Jewish
community and the other controversial nationalist insurgents.
"At The Golden Rose" lies in the historic Jewish quarter of Lviv, next to the ruins of a former synagogue
that was built in 1595 but destroyed in 1942 by the Nazis, who also
killed virtually all of the sizeable local Jewish population.
No memorial lies on the site but the restaurant nearby
welcomes guests with the traditional klezmer music of Ashkenazic
Jews of Eastern Europe and boasts a menu explaining the community's
history in the city and the Holocaust.
The menu has no prices because, as manageress Yuliana
Kozak explained, "Jews like bargaining".
The restaurant also offers clients who are so inclined
the chance to wear hats and payot (long side curls) in the style
of some ultra-orthodox Jewish communities for souvenir photographs.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-governmental
human rights organisation that fights anti-Semitism around the world,
recently said that haggling was "a notorious anti-Semitic stereotype still prevalent in Eastern Europe".
"It's not very nice for us but they do
that for their business and we're in a democracy," added Sarah Bolt, whose husband is the rabbi at the only synagogue that survived
the Nazi occupation in the city.
"It's not really our problem," she
The bar-restaurant "Kryivka" ("Hiding
Place" in Ukrainian), meanwhile, is dedicated to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA),
whose members are considered heroes in this nationalist stronghold,
although accusations of collaboration linger.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Lviv was under Polish rule
and Ukrainian nationalism was suppressed. In 1939, the Soviets replaced
the Poles and in turn cracked down on the local population before
they were ousted by the Nazis.
Founded in 1942, the UPA initially welcomed the arrival
of German troops and considered them liberators until they turned
against them and declared outright war.
Holocaust historian Efraim Zuroff, from the Simon
Wiesenthal Center, expressed concerns last month about "Kryivka" as well as "At The Golden Rose".
"By patronising these restaurants, football
fans will be unwittingly supporting the most extreme and dangerous
elements of Ukrainian society and insulting the memory of tens of
thousands of Holocaust victims murdered in Lviv by the Nazis and
their Ukrainian collaborators, a message diametrically opposed by
the goals of Euro 2012," he said in a June 6 statement on the organisation's website.
The two eateries are part of the !FEST group, which
owns 15 popular theme restaurants in Lviv. The company denied any
On "At The Golden Rose",
!FEST co-owner Andriy Khudo said: "We studied the history of Jews in Lviv for three months and worked with the main
Jewish organisation in the city, which gave its approval for the
"We do maybe use stereotypes but the customers
like it. And Ukrainians, too, like haggling. There's nothing offensive
in it," he added.
As for "Kryivka",
its Haidamaka-style Kosher bacon is another bone of contention.
"That's the name of an anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic
group and it's offensive to Jews," said Vasyl Rasevych, a historian and senior researcher at the Krypyakevych Institute
of Ukrainian Studies in Lviv.
The Haidamaka were formed mostly of local Cossacks
and peasants and fought against the Polish nobility, Catholics and
Jews in the 18th century.
Khudo for his part says it is simply shock marketing. "It
helps with word-of-mouth," he added.
Lviv's deputy mayor, Vasyl Kossiv, does not want to
"Any simplification of history, like with
the UPA, is unhealthy. But if we put pressure on them it would be
the best publicity for them," he added.