Rising antisemitism in Denmark

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Rising antisemitism in Denmark

Multiple instances of harassment and slur against the Jewish population in Denmark point towards an increase in antisemitism in a country where this phenomenon historically has played a small role.

The Danish Jewish minority has never played a large role in Danish society. However, a number of influential literary and political figures throughout newer Danish history have been Jews. During World War ll, Danish sailors transported Danish Jews over to neutral Sweden. Israel even commemorates this at the Holocaust Museum.[1] This has led to a relatively low level of antisemitism in Denmark.[2]

However, this tranquil situation might not be as easy today as it used to be. In Copenhagen, the window of a Jewish butcher shop was recently broken with a stone, and slurs were written on the facade of the shop. The police has multiple motives to look into this issue.[3] The crime can namely be perpetrated both by right-wing extremists and by Danish Muslims, among whom there is a growing sense of antisemitism. In a situation where questions of national, religious and racial identity are being renegotiated, it is once again important to remember that Jews in the diaspora are at a quite precarious position.

Simon Schmidt

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[1] The boat of Gilbert Lassen, a fisherman from the village of Gilleleje, Denmark, used to smuggle Jews to Sweden in October 1943

[2] Kisch, Conrad. “The Jewish community in Denmark: history and present status.” Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought 47, no. 2 (1998): pages 214+.

[3] Jødisk slagter udsat for hærværk: Sagen kan ende som del af mørketal i hadforbrydelser