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ADL Report Says Leading European Neo-Nazi Group Exports Antisemitism Across Scandinavia and Beyond

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Sweden’s Nordic Resistance Movement held 185 “combat training” sessions in 2020 and has served as inspiration for American white supremacists

New York, NY, March 28, 2022 … A new report from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) identifies the Nordic Resistance Movement of Sweden as the region’s most dangerous right wing extremist group, saying that the virulently antisemitic hate group poses “an ongoing and serious public security threat” and is exporting hate abroad.

The new report, issued today in partnership with the Expo Foundation, says the NRM, which vandalized a Swedish synagogue with bloody baby dolls during last year’s Passover holiday, has a mission to carry out a revolution to overthrow democracy and replace it with a Nazi dictatorship that would encompass all of Scandinavia and the Nordic region. The group has branched out internationally, with chapters in Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland and has current connections with American white supremacists.

“What is so alarming about the Nordic Resistance Movemen is its obsession with violence and its antisemitic core beliefs,” said Sharon Nazarian, ADL Senior Vice President of International Affairs. “Their name refers to its belief that it is fighting a war of resistance against Jews and they have held hundreds of combat training sessions in preparation for what they claim will be the overthrow of European democracies.”

“The NRM distinguishes itself from other Swedish right-wing extremists,” said Daniel Poohl, CEO of the Expo Foundation. “They are more violent, more ambitious and more well-organized than any other group. They actively work to disrupt democracy at the local level by intimidating and attacking anyone they deem a target – Jews and other minorities as well as activists, local politicians and journalists. For a quarter of a century, they have successfully sought to expand their reach beyond Sweden’s borders, establishing branches in neighboring countries and forging alliances with extremists across the world.”

“Right-wing extremism has always been a transnational threat, today more so than ever,” said Poohl. “Cooperating across countries to counter this threat is crucial. We are glad to have partnered with the ADL to produce this report and hope to continue working together going forward.”

Nearly a year ago, the NRM vandalized a Swedish synagogue with bloody baby dolls during the Passover holiday, invoking the centuries-old antisemitic blood libel that Jews kill gentile children and use their blood to make matzah. As a consequence of that attack, Jewish communities across Scandinavia will be taking increased security precautions as Passover approaches this year. The group is banned in Finland.

The ADL report identifies several disturbing developments in recent years that show NRM currently poses an increased threat to the Jewish community in the Nordic region, and particularly in Sweden.

Some of the key findings include:

  • NRM has made antisemitism the centerpiece of its propaganda and its activism. The group is expected to continue radicalizing both its own members and the wider circle of consumers of extreme right-wing propaganda, increasing the risk of lone-wolf terrorism.
  • NRM remains dangerous and influential, inspiring white supremacists abroad, with ties to white supremacist groups in Russia, Germany and South Africa. With 25 years of continuous existence, their staying power is proven. American white supremacist Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party said he modeled the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville Virginia on NRM organizing.
  • The group organized 185 gatherings in 2020 alone for local units to carry out strenuous physical exercise and engage in training for paramilitary tactics in anticipation of street violence, riot situations and encounters with law enforcement. The group was responsible for 1,232 propaganda distributions that year targeting all of Sweden’s 290 municipalities.

ADL and the Expo Foundation issued a series of recommendations in the report, calling on Swedish government agencies to publish data and other information related to violent extremism in Sweden.  Calling right-wing extremism a global movement and transnational threat, the report urges European governments to develop and deepen multilateral cooperation to counter this threat.