National Round-Up: Anti-Semites leave ugly stain on country

Hundreds of Jews targeted with hate crimes to mark the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Nazi pogrom in Germany

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 – but somewhere lurking in the belly of Denmark plans were afoot to commemorate the event for all the wrong reasons.

At least six cities
News started to filter through to the 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 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.

Widespread solidarity
Ella and Henrik Chievitz in Silkeborg awoke on Saturday to a Star of David sticker 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”.

Hate crime education
In related news, 448 hate crimes were reported in 2018, and 446 in 2017, but the police fear these numbers do not match a reality that could be much worse and that people often refrain from reporting because they have doubts about whether what they experienced is illegal.

A new campaign has been launched to remind people that hate crimes are illegal and that it is important to report them. It clarifies what constitutes a hate crime: namely violence, vandalism, threats or utterances based on the person’s beliefs, ethnicity, skin colour, sexuality or gender identity.

Halima El Abassi from the Council of Ethnic Minorities believes the biggest obstacle to people reporting hate crimes is the perception that the claims are not taken seriously enough, even though the legality issue once stopped her from reporting one.

When she was 12 she was stopped by a man, who lifted her scarf, pushed her and spat on her. However, when she told her family, they did not know those acts were illegal.

More transgender kids
According to Sexologisk Klinik, nearly 500 potentially transgender children have been referred by their doctors for special treatment since 2015 – including 134 this year. Three-quarters are girls who want to become boys. The youngest was just four years old. In 2014, just four were referred. In 2016, the Sundhedsstyrelsen health body ruled that 11-year-olds are eligible for hormone treatment.

Wolf zone expanded
The environment minister, Lea Wermelin, has helped establish another wolf zone – this time 570 sq km in size, extending southwest of Silkeborg in Jutland. Farmers in the zone can apply for a 100 percent grant (up from 80) to erect wolf-proof fences to protect their livestock, while the ministry has also ushered in a pilot project involving guard dogs.

Freddy over Mary
Motorists prefer Frederik to Mary – or at least in Frederikssund where the new 1.7 billion kroner Crown Princess Mary’s Bridge, a toll option, is failing to hit traffic targets since its opening on September 30. Motorists are sticking to what they know with Kronprins Frederiks Bro, a free option down the road.

Cube master at work
A 26-year-old contestant on ‘Denmark har talent’ has set a new mark for solving the most Pyraminx cubes underwater. Oscar Roth Andersen managed 14 before coming up for breath after 163 seconds underwater – beating the previous record of nine.

Bizarre balloon first
The media announced a record after Leon Kofoed from Amager climbed a 50-metre rope dangling from a hot air balloon at a height of at least one kilometre, but nobody seems to know which one he has broken.

Execute her majesty!
A Muslim man has been sentenced to 10 days in prison for threatening to behead the queen of Denmark and the entire Royal Family, as well as threatening the Swedish king and Stram Kurs leader Rasmus Paludan. Scared that the man’s use of cannabis had made him psychotic, his wife reported him to the police after he posted his threats on Facebook.

Possible plane price snip
A recent deal struck by Lockheed Martin, which sold Denmark its new fighter planes, bodes well for future purchases, as it knocked 12.8 percent off the going rate in a deal with the US Department of Defense. The reduction will help offset associated costs in Denmark that were higher than anticipated.

The truffle queen
A dog from near Viborg in east Jutland recently found six truffles in just 30 minutes in a forest near Aarhus. Asti, who underwent 400 hours of training, is a relative novice that only started this autumn. The truffles are seriously expensive, so that has to be a lifetime’s worth of Pedigree Chum.

New party launched
MP Simon Emil Ammitzbøll-Bille and ex-minister Christina Egelund, two former prominent members of Liberal Alliance, have launched a new political party.

Fremad will be a left-leaning liberal-value party that stands for more judicial security, fair immigration policy and stronger European engagement.

Zealand overtakes Jutland
There are now more people living in Zealand than Jutland, according to Danmarks Statistik. With a population of 2,646,379, Zealand has moved over 4,000 ahead thanks to an injection of 190,000 over the last decade, during which time Copenhagen Municipality has added 106,000.

Aarhus among the elite
Aarhus has been voted one of the world’s most attractive emerging travel destinations for 2020 by Travel Lemming. In related news, Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard reckons the city’s population of 350,000 could easily rise by 100,000 without too much bother, and the city’s light rail is in disarray due to ineffective ice removal equipment. A solution is expected to arrive in January.

Minister pay rise ruled out
The tax minister, Morten Bødskov, has ruled out a pay increase for ministers – in part to address a universal 5 percent cut introduced in 2010 as a result of the financial crisis. In related news, MP pensions are under scrutiny in light of their heavy cost. Last year, 57.6 million kroner was paid in pensions to 390 former members of Parliament and their spouses and children.

Sex lives of others
Every third woman and every fourth man in Denmark confesses to having a “bad or non-existent” sex life, according to a survey by Project Sexus. For women, the main issues are difficulty having an orgasm (12 percent), vaginal dryness (9 percent) and pain during sex (5 percent), while men tend to blame premature ejaculation (10 percent) and erectile dysfunction (7 percent).

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