Danish police have arrested a prominent neo-Nazi activist and an alleged accomplice after 84 Jewish tombstones were vandalised in the city of Randers.
Jacob Vullum Andersen, 38, is a leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), which is also active in Sweden.
He and a 27-year-old suspect have been charged with gross vandalism and a hate crime offence.
The cemetery desecration happened on 9 November, exactly 81 years after Nazi anti-Jewish “Kristallnacht” violence.
Instigated by the Nazi regime, rioters in 1938 attacked the Jewish community in Germany, burning hundreds of synagogues and vandalising Jewish schools and businesses.
“Kristallnacht” means “night of broken glass”. At least 91 Jewish people were killed in the persecution, which escalated into the Holocaust during World War Two.
There were also anti-Semitic incidents in four other places in Denmark on Saturday, involving Nazi-style Star of David stickers and graffiti.
In the Swedish capital Stockholm, such stickers were also plastered on the Great Synagogue and Bajit Jewish Centre, the national broadcaster SVT reported.
Anti-Semitism ‘wake-up call’
Green paint was daubed on the tombstones in Randers, central Denmark, and some were knocked over.
Israeli ambassador Benny Dagan visited the scene on Wednesday and said “it’s a wake-up call to all of us that we must take anti-Semitism much more seriously”.
On Facebook, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wrote: “It pains me to think what it must be like to see the last resting place of loved ones exposed to such disgusting vandalism.”
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Mr Andersen told Danish TV2 that he was not involved, but he voiced support for the vandalism, alluding to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
“We think it is positive that people have finally woken up and recognised that Jewish power and Jewish infiltration in society are extremely harmful and undesirable,” he was quoted as saying.
TV2 and another Danish broadcaster, DR, report that investigators found green paint on items belonging to Mr Andersen and the other suspect, who has not been named. Both are now in custody for four weeks.
There were several other anti-Semitic incidents in Denmark on 9 November.
A yellow Star of David sticker, like the badges that Jews had to wear under the Nazi dictatorship, was plastered on the letter box of a couple in the central town of Silkeborg.
Henrik and Ella Chievitz expressed their shock on Facebook over the incident.
Henrik wrote: “On the 81th anniversary of Kristallnacht, when Jews and Jewish properties were subjected to massive organised persecution and vandalism, Ella and I woke up to this message on our mailbox. The heavy clouds from Nazi Germany in the 1930s are still hanging over Europe, and even our hometown Silkeborg doesn’t escape. This has of course been reported to the police.”