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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‘Pure Nazism’: The antisemitic organization that wants to get a foothold in Denmark

The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), which hit headlines after antisemitic vandalism at a Jewish burial site in Denmark, is an organization with ‘pure Nazism’ as its ideology, an expert has said.

'Pure Nazism': The antisemitic organization that wants to get a foothold in Denmark
Supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement in Stockholm in 2018. Photo: TT News Agency/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The group has set itself out from other far-right organizations by adopting traditional Nazi ideology, anthropologist Tina Wilchen Christensen, an extremism researcher at Aarhus University, told Ritzau.

“They have the old Nazi message that all bad things are caused by Jews and Judaism,” Christensen said.

While other far-right groups focus much of their attention on Islam, NRM, or Nordfront as it is also known in Denmark, is a proponent of “pure Nazism”, according to the researcher.

“With regard to NRM, they are antisemitic and holocaust deniers, they have summer camps for people in the movement, and they have the Nazi family view in that women are encouraged to stay at home and have a lot of children,” she said.

“There are many levels on which it’s pure Nazism,” she said.

On Wednesday, two men were remanded in custody for desecrating 84 gravestones at Østre Kirkegård cemetery in the town of Randers last weekend.


One of the two arrested men is 38-year-old Jacob Vullum Andersen, leader of a local NRM section, Ritzau reports.

Andersen previously denied links between NRM and the vandalism but said he supported several of last weekend's antisemitic incidents, which also included graffiti and yellow Star of David stickers placed at the home of a Jewish couple in Silkeborg.

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

Both accused men have denied carrying out the Randers vandalism and the group denies links to the incident.

The NRM movement emerged in Sweden in the late 1990s but did not attempt to establish itself in Denmark until recent years.

“This has gone on for a long time in Sweden, since 1997. In Denmark it has probably been more on-off. I’ve not come across them in Denmark but I know from other researchers that they have been trying to establish themselves (here),” Christensen said.

Sweden has seen demonstrations held by the group in several cities and with hundreds of participants.

According to its own website, the Danish branch of the organization has attempted to spread propaganda at schools.

Christensen said she did not know how many members the group has in Denmark, but said its Danish branch has a “general strategy of spreading propaganda”.

She noted that NRM demonstrations in other countries have resulted in violence.