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ANTISEMITISM

Denmark arrests two for vandalism of Jewish graves

East Jutland Police have arrested two men for vandalism of gravestones at a Jewish burial place in Randers.

Denmark arrests two for vandalism of Jewish graves
A police officer at Østre Kirkegård cemetery in Randers. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The men are suspected of vandalism and could also face charges under anti-racism laws.

A police prosecutor is expected to requested Randers District Court remand the men in custody on Wednesday afternoon, police said in a press statement.

The men are from the central Jutland towns of Randers and Hobro.

Police suspicions against the men are related primarily to vandalism at Østre Kirkegård cemetery in Randers during the night between Friday and Saturday last week. 84 gravestones were defaced with green paint.

Vandalism at a building in the town, where green and black paint was thrown at the façade, is also encompassed by the case.

Police are still looking for further witnesses who may be able to assist with investigation.

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In addition to the Randers incidents, anitsemitic vandalism was also reported last weekend in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Silkeborg and Aalborg.

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

Neo-Nazi group the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) has been linked to the vandalism in Denmark, but has denied carrying it out.

The incidents occurred around the 81st anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht anti-Jewish attacks in Nazi Germany.

A report has been filed with Denmark’s police security service PET, police have confirmed.

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ANTISEMITISM

‘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.

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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.

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