The Right to Offend…and be Offended, by Michael Galak.
[There ] was a law in the pre-war USSR that punished anti-Semitic insults and actions with an utmost severity. Harsh and unforgiving, like most Soviet laws, it saw many hapless drunks packed off to the gulag for saying offensive and insulting things about Jews. Some survived, some did not.
Russian Jews were horrified by the severity of this unwanted “protection”, but were powerless to do anything about it. Not only did it produce legions of collateral victims – the wives, children and elderly parents left destitute and impoverished by the arrests of their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers — it also brought a terrible backlash. In many instances, the relatives of those prisoners seized the opportunity to avenge their pain and loss on the heads of innocent Jews during the Nazi occupation.
hat-tip Stephen Neil