Jews in Sweden say that they are finding it harder to be openly Jewish as statistics show antisemitic attacks are rising across the country.
According to statistics published by the Swedish Crime Prevention Council (Brå), the number of antisemitic attacks has increased from 182 in 2016 to 278 in 2018, a 52 per cent increase, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.
The broadcaster spoke to a Jewish mother who sends her children to the Hillel Jewish school in Stockholm but declined to give her name. “It is very, very sad that it is so. And it is, perhaps, something that makes us sometimes think about moving to another country where it would be easier to fully be who we are.”
Shari Tingman, Acting Group Chief and Preliminary Investigation Leader at Stockholm Police’s Democracy and Hate Crime Group, said police need to do more to understand Jewish culture. Tingman stated: “If the police department cannot understand the culture, how should we be able to work with what is happening out there?”
Several weeks ago, on the anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht, the Hillel school was vandalised when an individual drew a Star of David on the front door along with the word “Jew”.
The actual figures for antisemitic attacks could be much higher as many Jews do not report them to the police according to Isak Reichel, secretary-general of the Jewish Central Council.
“Many people do not think there is any point in reporting. They have negative experiences from reporting a crime the police have not taken seriously, may not have considered it to be antisemitism, or just closed the investigation. So there is quite a bit of distrust, I think, and scepticism about reporting crimes to the police,” Reichel said.
The multicultural southern city of Malmö has become known as a hotspot for antisemitism. The Jewish congregation noted earlier this year that the numbers of Jews in the city has rapidly decreased in the last 20 years and warned the city’s community risked disappearing entirely.
Local Jewish teen Daniel Vaknine described his experience living in the city in August saying: “Uncertainty means that you cannot go to school with a visible Star of David because then there is a high risk of being threatened, or that someone follows you from the school or even being beaten.”