Antisemitic vandalism in Denmark and Norway was ‘coordinated show of force’

Jewish homes and other buildings were subjected to vandalism over the weekend, while yellow Stars of David were placed at locations in Denmark and Norway.

Antisemitic vandalism in Denmark and Norway was 'coordinated show of force'
Vandalized Jewish gravestones in Randers. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Nordic neighbours Finland, Sweden and Norway also saw antisemitic vandalism on Saturday, the 81st anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht anti-Jewish attacks in Nazi Germany.

The yellow Star of David is the symbol Jews were forced to wear by Nazi authorities during World War Two.


Researcher Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish Defence University (Försvarshögskolan) in Stockholm told Dagbladet Information that the attacks were a a coordinated show of force.

“This is an attempt to show that they are strong in all these countries. That there is a driving force behind them and that it can escalate to more violent incidents. That's why the operation was coordinated,”, Ranstorp told Information.

The analyst said he believed members of neo-Nazi group the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) to be behind the vandalism, echoing remarks made by the Jewish Community in Oslo.

In Copenhagen, vandals painted a large Star of David on a wall and wrote “”, the website of the NRM. The organization describes itself as a revolutionary national socialist organization.

One of the organization's stated political goals is “to work to regain power from the global Zionist elite, which has economically and militarily occupied large parts of the world,” according to the website.

Danish media TV2 Østjylland spoke to Jacob Vullum Andersen, a member of NRM, following the incidents.

Andersen denied links between NRM and the vandalism but said he supported several of the weekend's antisemitic incidents, including the yellow Star of David stickers.

“We think it’s a good thing that people have finally begun to wake up and realize that Jews of power and Jewish infiltration in society are extremely harmful and unwanted,” he said to TV2.

East Jutland Police declined on Tuesday to comment on whether new complaints have been filed related to the weekend's events.

“We are investigating this matter widely. We have no specific suspects. We have received a number of reports, and the witness statements on which we are now working,” East Jutland Police inspector Michael Kjeldgaard said.

Kjeldgaard added that he is in contact with other Danish police districts. Incidents were reported in Randers, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Silkeborg and Aalborg.

The neighbours of a Jewish couple in Silkeborg, who suffered vandalism to their home, are organizing a torch procession in front of the couple's home.

84 gravestones were painted or overturned in the Jewish burial ground at Østre Cemetery in Randers.

The cost of repairing the gravestones could reach 100,000 kroner, cemetery manager Thue De La Cour told TV2 Østjylland.

In Norway, several yellow Stars of David were placed outside the printing offices of publisher Schibsted in Bergen.



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German leaders express shame at rising antisemitism

German leaders voiced their shame over resurgent anti-Semitism on Friday, one year after a deadly attack targeting Jews in the city of Halle.

German leaders express shame at rising antisemitism
German President President Frank-Walter Steinmeier lays a wrath outside the synagogue in Halle. Photo:Ronny Hartmann / AFP
Two people were killed in the attack on October 9, 2019 during Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, in one of the worst acts of anti-Semitic violence in Germany's post-war history.
A heavily armed man tried to storm the synagogue, but when the door failed to break down he shot dead a female passer-by and a man at a kebab shop instead.
“I feel deep sadness. But even a year later I still feel shame and anger,” President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a commemoration to mark a year since the attack.
No one should stand by and watch anti-Semitism “in the underground, in a café, in the schoolyard, on the street, on the internet”, Steinmeier added. “Everyone must stand up when the human dignity of others is violated.” 
At 12.01pm, the time the attacker fired his first shot at the door of the synagogue, all the church bells in Halle rang for two minutes.
In the afternoon, a memorial was unveiled incorporating the old door of the synagogue.
The attacks have sparked soul-searching in Germany, which has placed a huge emphasis on atoning for the murder of six million European Jews by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime during World War II.
Just this week, a Jewish student was attacked outside a synagogue in Hamburg in a case that police are treating as attempted murder with anti-Semitic intent, condemned by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “disgrace”.
A neo-Nazi suspect, 28-year-old Stephan Balliet, is currently on trial for the Halle attack and has told the court it was “not a mistake”.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also voiced his regret on Friday at anti-Semitism in Germany.
“One cannot say that the problem has left us — and the fact that we have to protect Jewish institutions in 2020 is actually a state of affairs that is not acceptable,” Maas told the RTL broadcaster.