This past weekend, 81 years after the 1938 November Pogroms carried out by the Nazis against Jews in Germany, yellow star stickers were placed on a number of Jewish premises across Scandinavia. This was an allusion to the so-called yellow badge, the Star of David on a yellow background with the word “Jew” written inside, a symbol that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany and countries occupied in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust.
“It is a worrying development that the right-wing extremists have the ability to coordinate this in several different countries simultaneously,” Aron Verständig, the chairman of the Jewish Central Council and the Jewish Assembly in Stockholm, told SVT.
Verständig confirmed that the stickers have been placed at Jewish premises and synagogues in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Norrköping, which he described as a “serious attack on democracy”. Several Swedish media houses were also vandalised with graffiti and yellow stars, such as Norrbottens Media in the city of Luleå and Corren in Linköping.
“A media house cannot accept such a doodle. It should not happen in a media landscape that rests on democratic grounds. This is unacceptable,” Öst Media CEO and publisher Anna Lindberg told SVT.
In Bergen, Norway, similar star stickers were reportedly placed on the media house Schibsted's printing plant.
“For the Jews, this is very unpleasant. And those who do this have an agenda driven by their hatred of Jews,” the leader of the Mosaic Faith Society and Deputy Leader of the Antiracist Centre Ervin Kohn told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
In Denmark, a Danish-Jewish couple from the city of Silkesborg who are active in several Danish-Israeli associations had their mailbox marked with Jewish stars.
“This is getting too close. Who can come up with something like that? It is a symbol of murder, death and destruction,” the 51-year-old victim told the newspaper BT.
Denmark also saw more than 80 graves at a Jewish cemetery in the central Jutland town of Randers desecrated and vandalised, the police reported.
“More than 80 gravestones were painted with green graffiti and some were overturned at the Østre Kirkegard cemetery,” the police statement said. No symbols or words were written.
“This weekend's attacks are both an attack against Danish Jews and against all of us,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a Facebook message. She stressed that the Jewish citizens must be respected and not live in fear.
So far, the identity of the perpetrators has not been established.
The Night of Broken Glass took place in Germany on 9 November 1938, when Nazis destroyed nearly 7,500 Jewish businesses and burned down about 200 synagogues; 91 Jews were killed and about 26,000 were imprisoned.
The German name Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) comes from the shards of broken glass from smashed window panes.
While historically, anti-Semitism in Sweden was associated with right-wing extremism, a study from 2013 cited by the New York Times revealed that 51 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in Sweden were connected with Muslim extremists. One in four were perpetrated by left-wing extremists and only 5 percent were carried out by right-wing extremists.