• Sweden edition
 
Op-ed
'We feel the Nazi frost in the air': Sweden
Counter-demonstrators dressed as the henchman held placards that read "Hate everyone, kill everything" as the Party of the Swedes marched in Jönköping on May 1st. File: TT

'We feel the Nazi frost in the air': Sweden

Published: 09 May 2014 10:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 May 2014 15:22 GMT+02:00

On May 9th, 1945 there were celebrations across Europe as the Third Reich capitulated and the second world war finally ended. Last week, some 200 Nazis from the Party of the Swedes demonstrated in Jönköping. They protested against the EU and brandished the slogan "Sweden for the Swedes". Through the duration of the demonstration, church bells rang out across the southern Swedish town.

It was the first time since 1939 that the churches rang their bells to warn of danger. 

IN PICTURES: The Party of the Swedes meet resistance during its Jönköping march

School students across our country have this spring been met by Nazi hate propaganda. Some dismiss the scrawled swastiskas and hateful words as pranks. But we feel the frost in the air. 

In Hungary, the Jobbik party agitates against Roma and Jews. In Greece, the Nazi party Golden Dawn attacks refugees. In the latest report from the Swedish anti-racism foundation Expo, researchers warned that Swedish racists have become more and more organized, reaching record levels of activity. These movements exist across Europe and their primary goal is to crush democracy. 

A Swedish court recently sentenced three members of the Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska motståndsrörelsen - SMR) to prison for their part in the violence during the anti-racism demonstration in Stockholm neighbourhood Kärrtorp. SMR wants to overthrow our democratic society and install a dictatorship. Their ideology is built on a hodgepodge of racial biology and conspiracy theories. 

The emergence of violent right-wing extremism is a threat to our security which EU member states must take seriously in the utmost.

The European Commission three years ago set up a programme called the Radicalization Awareness Network, which brings together local activists working against violent extremism. The network is on the ground in all EU member states. There are plans to found a European knowledge bank next year to collate all the information.

At the same time, Sweden has taken the lead in a two-year project, financed by the commission, against right-wing extremism. Sweden is taking part alongside eight other EU countries plus Norway. A lessons-learnt conference will be held in Stockholm on June 25th-26th, and both of us will be in attendance. 

The findings from the project, which have been written by European researchers, warn us that right-wing extremists now have greater access to weapons. The findings also warn us that they are forging alliances using online fora - which means that the threat is veiled. There is a clear difference between the extremists' view of who the "enemy" is when we look at right-wing milieu in western and eastern Europe. In the "east" the enemies are Roma, Jews, and homo, bi and transsexuals. In the "west", the target is more often than not Islam. 

The project reports have also found that the right-wing extremists do not shirk from cross-border cooperation. A clear example was SMR's demonstration in support for Golden Dawn last year, which coincided with the anniversary of Kristallnacht , which set events in motion that would end in the Holocaust. 

Watch the counter-demonstrators as SVP march to the Greek embasssy in Stockholm

The reports have also found indications that key actors among right-wing extremist movement do not have access to a lot of information. That is why we'd like all EU members to put in place national action plans with preventative measures, and that they set up support plans for people who want to leave extremism behind them. 

In Sweden, the Party of the Swedes have candidates running for municipal office in 35 locations across the country. In the upcoming European parliament elections, parties such as Golden Dawn and Jobbik could end up with strong representation in the parliament. The German neo-Nazi NDP and similar parties in Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria are also running for elected offices. 

Sixty-nine years after the end of the second world war, Hitler's ideological heirs could march into our elected legislative assemblies.

It's high time that more Europeans in positions of power wake up. They have to realize that Nazism is again mobilizing and it is growing among us. We hope that our conference in June in Stockholm will be a wake-up call and that we together can identify a powerful strategy to combat these dangerous developments. 

Cecilia Malmström, Sweden's  EU Commissioner and Birgitta Ohlsson, Swedish Minister for EU and Democracy

This op-ed was also published in Swedish in the national daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Search for foreign vessel continues off Stockholm
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Search for foreign vessel continues off Stockholm

Sweden's armed forces were continuing to search for the cause of apparent "foreign underwater activity" in the Stockholm Archipelago on Monday. But the military denied news agency reports that they had imposed an exclusion zone. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days
The Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: TT

Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days

UPDATED: A patient has been cleared of any Ebola suspicions at the Uppsala University Hospital. It marks the second suspected case in Sweden in two days. READ  

Perspective: ‘Russian sub’ alert
Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters
The HMS Stockholm patrols Jungfrufjärden in the Stockholm archipelago on Monday morning. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters

With Sweden engaged in its biggest domestic military operation since the Cold War, The Local spoke to Johan Wiktorin, a fellow at the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences, to get insight into what’s going on in the Stockholm archipelago. READ  

My Swedish Career
US woman starts up Swedish toy store online
Leigh Neil and a llama hand puppet. Photo: Private

US woman starts up Swedish toy store online

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet Leigh Neil, who one day came to realize that there was a gap in the Swedish market for children's toys and decided to do something about it. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch
A CB90-class fast assault craft at Kullbäling, a small island in Stockholm's archipelago. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch

The Netherlands on Monday denied a Russian claim that a mystery vessel the Swedish military has been looking for could be Dutch. READ  

Lufthansa Strike
Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike
Grounded Lufthansa planes. Photo: TT

Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike

A strike by pilots at German airline Lufthansa will affect over 20 flights in and out of Sweden over the next two days. READ  

National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Photo: Shutterstock

Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars

A dentist in western Sweden is offering free dental care to his town's Roma begging population. READ  

Business & Money
Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts
Photo: TT

Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts

Swedish electrical appliance maker Electrolux reported its third-quarter net profit soared 42 percent to 933 million kronor ($130 million) thanks to a cost-cutting programme started at the end of last year. READ  

National
School photographer fired for homophobic slur
Photo credit: Shutterstock

School photographer fired for homophobic slur

A photographer at a high school in southern Sweden was sacked after he called one of the students a "fag" during a shoot. READ  

Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

987
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN