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Swastikas Graffitied on Stockholm High School

Locals say anti-Semitic vandalism the work of organized neo-Nazi groups

Yair Rosenberg
March 11, 2014
Stockholm school vandalized with swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans (@CalleNathanson)
Stockholm school vandalized with swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans (@CalleNathanson)

On Monday morning, students at the Vasa Real high school in Sweden’s capital of Stockholm were greeted by an ugly sight: spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans like “disgusting Jews” and “Jewish swine.” Though not a Jewish institution, the school does offer Hebrew and other Jewish studies classes, and is attended by many Jewish students. The parent of one of them, Calle Nathanson, posted pictures of the vandalism online, and wrote that they were far from an isolated incident.

Nathanson pointed out that other groups have been victimized by far-right groups, including an anti-racism demonstration in a local suburb that was attacked by neo-Nazis; a mosque that was similarly vandalized; and a recent “Take Back the Night” rally where several participants were stabbed. “It’s easy at first glance to think that this is done by young people who just want to vandalize a little,” he wrote. “But there are too many signs of the times that testify to the exact opposite–this is organized neo-Nazism.” Other parts of Sweden have experienced an alarming rise in anti-Semitism, most notably Malmö, where many Jews fear to walk the streets with any culturally identifying markers, and where public officials have gone so far as to blame the Jewish community for their own persecution.

With far-right parties gaining ground across Europe, neo-Nazis marching in the streets of Paris chanting “Jews out of France,” and EU surveys finding that 25 percent of European Jews are afraid to openly identify as Jewish, the events in Stockholm constitute a worrying addition to a worrying continental trend.

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.