Jewish Doctor Beaten to Death in Ukraine

News Reports Claimed Leon Freifeld's Attacker Was Arab

By JTA

Published October 21, 2012.
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A Jewish doctor in Lviv, Ukraine, was beaten to death by an assailant identified by some local news sources as a 26-year-old Arab.

Local news reports identified the victim as Leon Freifeld, 67, a prominent member of the small Lviv Jewish community who headed the traumatology and orthopedic department at a local hospital and also taught medicine.

The reports said Freifeld was attacked in the early morning of Oct. 19 on a main street in central Lviv. The attacker, who was not identified by name, was described as appearing to be strongly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Local residents called police, but Freifeld died at the scene.

Police arrested the suspect on the spot. He was described by police as a “foreign national,” with some news reports calling him an Arab or Moroccan.

Police spokeswoman Svetlana Dobrovolska was quoted Sunday as saying an investigation was under way to determine the motive for the attack, which witnesses called vicious.

One Ukrainian website said the attacker had been a student of Freifeld who recently had been expelled from the institute where Freifeld taught and was supposed to leave Ukraine. Other reports suggested it had been a mugging in a neighborhood known as a hangout for drug addicts.

The Kyiv Jewish news website said Freifeld’s funeral would be held Monday. His brother, Vadim, a gerontologist at Ben-Gurion University, was reported to have arrived in Lviv from Israel.


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