Sweden's Largest Party Lashes Out as 'Mudslinging' Museum Portrays Them as Nazis

In a matter of several decades, the Sweden Democrats have propelled themselves from obscurity to a vantage point in the Swedish parliament.

The Swedish Democrats in Norrköping have chastised the City Museum for placing a photograph of the local party board as part of an exhibition on Nazism and filed a police report.

The exhibition in question is called “Collaborationism and Resistance”. The Norrköping board of the Sweden Democrats picture featured under the subheading “Nazism in Norrköping then and now”, where it is placed together with articles on neo-Nazism.

“This is totally unacceptable, that they display our board in a way that links it to Nazism” Sweden Democrat group leader in Norrköping Darko Mamkovic, who reported the incident, told Swedish Radio. Every Sweden Democrat featured in the exhibition intends to file a report of their own.

“Enough is enough. Today I have notified the police of the Social Democrats' propaganda machinery,” Mamkovic tweeted.

​The Norrköping City Museum retorted that the exhibition has been checked by lawyers, and that the Sweden Democrats were also invited to participate. Acting museum director Maria Modig welcomed a review but stressed she doesn't think they have done anything illegal.

“This the lowest I've seen; trying to link 30s-era Nazism with the Sweden Democrats today is pure madness. I cannot interpret the idea that my board has anything to do with swastikas and atrocities such as Nazism as anything other than mudslinging”, Mamkovic told national broadcaster SVT.

For the time being, the picture of the Sweden Democrats' board has been removed from the exhibition, which runs until 31 January 2021. The museum had previously increased security because of the exhibition's content, SVT reported.

The Sweden Democrats are a national-conservative anti-immigration political party founded in 1988 and self-described as social conservative with a nationalist foundation. Under Jimmie Åkesson, who has led the party since 2005, it has developed from a fringe party to a parliamentary heavyweight. In late 2019, the Sweden Democrats polled as Sweden's largest party in several consecutive surveys, including by national broadcaster SVT and the newspaper Aftonbladet.

Despite their electoral successes, the Sweden Democrats are routinely branded “racist” and “neo-Nazi” by their opponents and the press. None other than Sweden’s Social Democrat Stefan Löfven called them a “Nazi party with racist roots”, only to backtrack later. Still, the Sweden Democrats are shunned by the political establishment and have yet to enter a government coalition.

Ironically, the Social Democrats, who have been at Sweden's helm for the most part of the 20th century, openly cooperated with Nazi Germany, supplying Hitler with iron ore. During the 20th century, Sweden also carried out tens of thousands compulsory sterilisations on eugenic, medical and social grounds, lasting until 1975 and largely coinciding with the Social Democrats' rule.

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