Swedish Jewish group shuts down after Nazi threats
Umeå – The Jewish Association in the city of Umeå shut itself down at a board meeting at the end of May.
“It’s a heavy blow. I’m very sad about it, and have even shed a few tears,” said Carinne Sjöberg, the Liberal Party politician who chaired the association. “In some way, it feels like we lost.”
In a tweet, Sweden’s Jewish Youth Association thanked Sjöberg and other board members for the work they had done since the group was established in 2010.
“This means that there is no Jewish organisation in Sweden north of Uppsala,” it wrote.
The association moved out of its premises in April last year, after swastikas were painted on the walls alongside antisemitic stickers which included pictures of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, the text ‘we know where you live’.
Association members also received threatening emails and Sjöberg was even visited at her home.
According to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, the threats came predominantly from the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, which has been growing in strength in recent years, and is very active in northern Sweden.
Sjöberg said the association had been more about culture and tradition than religion, with non-believing and non-practicing Jewish people also welcome.
In April last year, hundreds of people marched through the city wearing the Jewish kippah skullcap in a ‘kippah walk’ demonstration organised by The Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities.
The march drew senior politicians from the both the centre-left Social Democrats and centre-right Moderate party, as well as Israel’s ambassador Isaac Bachman and the vicar of the Umeå branch of the Swedish Church.
Sjöberg acknowledged that the community had received a lot of sympathy and political support from people in Umeå, but said there had been no concrete measures taken against Nazis which could make her and other community members feel safe.
“I’ve had political support, but has any decision been made which brought a result? No,” she said. “We wanted to see some action which stopped the Nazis, activities which would push forward, so that they aren’t winning.”
“Everyone, not just us, should know that what has happened now, the closing of the association, is a loss, a defeat.”
Judiska Föreningen i Umeå har beslutat att lägga ner efter återkommande hot & trakasserier från nazister. Det innebär att det inte finns någon judisk verksamhet i Sverige norr om Uppsala.
JUS vill tacka alla som kämpat för att driva judisk verksamhet i Umeå! pic.twitter.com/JufFqwGu4j
— Judiska Ungdomsförbundet i Sverige (JUS) (@JudiskaUngdom) June 5, 2018