Anti-Semitic statements, including one mocking Holocaust victims with a picture of Anne Frank, were discovered on the social media accounts of regional politicians from the far-right Sweden Democrats party.
Per Olsson, who represents the party on the city council of Oskarshamn, a coastal Swedish city, earlier this year posted a picture of Anne Frank captioned “coolest Jew in the shower room” on the Russian social network VKontakt, the Expressen daily reported Friday.
Anne Frank, a Dutch Jew who wrote a famous diary while hiding for two years from the Nazis, died of typhus in 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Out of 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims, the Nazis and their collaborators killed more than half in gas chambers – some disguised as shower rooms.
The Expressen report was part of a project in which journalists for that daily and the Expo magazine looked into the digital footprint of many politicians from various parties ahead of the country’s September 9 general and local elections.
Sweden Democrats is currently in third place according to various polls, with 18.7 percent of the vote. Its share was just under 13 percent in the 2014 elections.
The journalists also found anti-Semitic material on the social media accounts of Raghu Jacobsen, who represents the party on the city council of Stenungsund, located in western Sweden.
“As long as Rothschild controls the economy and with the modern slavery on this planet, there will be anti-Semitism. #Jews #israel,” he wrote in English in February on Twitter. One month later, he shared a picture of a woman with a milk package and the English-language text: “What is the difference between a cow and the Holocaust? You cannot milk a cow for 70 years.”
Martin Sihlén, representing the Sweden Democrats in Örkelljunga in Sweden’s south, wrote on Facebook that “Hitler wasn’t so bad” and “did not lie about Jews.”
He also wrote that “international Jewry is thirsting for destroying Europe. It was ultimately not Germany who started the Second World War, it was the Jews.”
Bjorn Soder, who represents the Sweden Democrats party at the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament, came under fire earlier this year after he wrote on Facebook that Jews and members of the Sami minority are not Swedes.
Soder maintained he never questioned minorities’ rights as Swedish citizens, but merely stood up for their rights to preserve their distinct ethnic identities.
Sweden Democrats has several Jews in its ranks, including lawmakers. It has nonetheless been accused of espousing anti-Semitic views, which the party denies.
In October, a party lawmaker called for action against what she labeled the “control of media by any family or ethnic group,” citing a prominent publisher with Jewish roots.
Senior lawmaker Carina Herrstedt was widely criticized in the media for writing a racist joke in an email that was deemed offensive to gays, blacks, nuns, Roma and Jews. Finance spokesman Oscar Sjostedt was heard in a recording jokingly comparing Jews to sheep being killed in German abattoirs.
While SD has no chance of entering government as long as the other parties refuse to reconsider its pariah status, it will nonetheless wield strong influence, holding key positions on parliamentary committees that draft legislation.
A country of 10 million people, Sweden has welcomed 400,000 asylum seekers since 2012.
Unemployment is at its lowest in 10 years, economic growth is robust, inflation is contained and public finances are strong.
But Swedes are dissatisfied with long health care queues, growing social inequalities and mounting segregation, with gangland shootings claiming 40 lives in disadvantaged suburbs last year.