Swedish Jews Protest Violent Neo-Nazi Group’s Plan to Rally Near Gothenburg Synagogue on Yom Kippur
Swedish Jewish leaders are appealing to police in Gothenburg to reroute a neo-Nazi march that will pass close to the city’s synagogue on September 30 – when Jews mark Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
“It’s the day of the year when many Jews who normally don’t go to the synagogue will gather there. On this day, the police have decided to grant the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) permission to march through Gothenburg, no more than a stone’s throw away from the synagogue,” Aron Verständig, chairman of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, and Allan Stutzinky, chairman of the Jewish community in Gothenburg, wrote in an opinion piece quoted by the Swedish daily, The Local.
“Aside from out of fear for our own security, it evokes uncomfortable associations for us Jews,” they added. “During the Holocaust it wasn’t unusual for the German Nazis to conduct their horrendous atrocities on the most important days of the Jewish calendar.”
According to The Local, the NRM had initially sought permission to stage the march on one of Gothenburg’s main avenues, Kungsportsavenyn, but was only granted a permit if it agreed to change the route. The new route means the neo-Nazis will parade close to the synagogue.
The NRM openly describes itself as a “National Socialist” organization, and operates branches in Norway and Finland as well as Sweden.
The group declares that it will “[B]y all available means, and with a long-term perspective, work to regain power from the global Zionist elite who have economically and militarily occupied the greater part of our world.” Its goal is to “[E]stablish a National Socialist society where resources are distributed in such a way that benefits all people, both strong and weak, and where everybody has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.”
Set up by neo-Nazi activists in 1997, the notoriously violent NRM is reported to have increased its membership significantly over the last year. Following US President Donald Trump’s election victory in November 2016, more than 600 hardcore supporters of the NRM clashed with anti-fascists in downtown Stockholm.
In July, three member of the NRM were sentenced by a Swedish court to up to nine years in prison for a series of homemade bomb attacks against refugee shelters.