There were no official plans to mark the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass – a pogrom against Jews living in Germany carried out by the Nazis – in Denmark, but somewhere lurking in the belly of this nation plans were afoot to commemorate the event for all the wrong reasons.
In at least six Danish cities
News started to filter through to the country’s Jewish community on Saturday and Sunday that dozens of Anti-Semitic acts had been conducted in the Jutland cities of Randers, Vallensbæk, Silkeborg, Aarhus and Aalborg, the capital Copenhagen, and further afield in the Swedish cities of Gothenburg and Stockholm.
Randers in northeast Denmark, which has traditionally had the country’s second largest Jewish population after Copenhagen, was worse hit. At its Østre Cemetery, over 80 Jewish headstones were desecrated – mostly daubed in green paint.
The attacks would appear to be co-ordinated, as many addresses have been targeted with Stars of David – the sign used by the Nazis to signal out Jewish households and businesses – either badly painted in black paint or on stickers.
In one case, at the home of a Jewish resident in the western suburbs of Copenhagen, Nordfront’s logo has been placed next to a Star of David. Nordfront is a fast-growing, Nordic-wide organisation with similar views to the Nazis.
Solidarity from neighbours and the PM
Ella and Henrik Chievitz in Silkeborg awoke on Saturday to such a symbol on their mailbox with the word “Jude” written on it.
“It brought back memories of Germany in the 1930s,” Henrik Chievitz told DR. “I was truly and deeply saddened. I thought the world had become wiser since 1945.”
Since the vandalism, flowers have started arriving at the Chievitz household from the local community.
The country-wide vandalism has been swiftly condemned by church leaders, community leaders and politicians, with PM Mette Frederiksen calling the vandalism “both an attack on Danish Jews and all of us”.
“Anti-Semitism and racism have no place in our society. We must condemn it, and the authorities must do what they can to solve these crimes,” she wrote on Facebook.