In one of the most shocking recent anti-Semitism episodes to emerge, a Jewish-Israeli woman referred to as ‘A’ who emigrated to Sweden 39 years ago, has claimed she was fired from a teaching post for being Jewish.
After just a week’s employment at the school in Malmö, the principal told ‘A’ there could be problems because of her origins. “It won’t be easy for you here. Most of the Swedish students are racists. They hate everybody, but especially the Jews, so it’s very possible you’ll ‘get it’ from both the Swedish and the Arab students.” He suggested she find a different job, far from any school.
Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, a Swedish-Jewish activist well-known in the country for her pro-Israel activism and both personal and public battles against anti-Semitism in Europe, told The Algemeiner that, “Malmö is lost to us. And by that I mean Sweden, not merely Jews. This is a city that represents an accelerated version of what we see going on in the rest of the country and the continent today.”
Hernroth-Rothstein said that Swedish municipalities have started segregating communal swimming pools, due to the complaints by young women that immigrant men molest them when they go swimming. This, she said, “is how Sweden responds to the violation of human rights and transgression of the Swedish law — it adapts to the perpetrator and abandons the victim, and I see the same thing happening to us Jews in Sweden today. Indeed, the teacher in question will likely receive neither a public apology nor compensation, but she is asked to adapt to the perpetrators and accept this reality. There is no excuse for this travesty of justice.”
‘A’ drew a similar analogy suggesting that Malmö “has become a place I no longer recognize. I feel the way I did when I arrived here 39 years ago – like a tourist. Though the buildings and streets are familiar, everything else has changed.”
When she started working in this school, the history teacher came to her and told explained, “I’m on your [ie, the Jews] side, but it’s important you know this school has a serious problem with racism.”
Although she naturally felt like crying when the principal fired her she also understood what problems he was talking about. She understood that it is not enough to cover up her Magen David necklace with scarves, and that she will have to continue and stay silent when people ask her about her origins.
Hernroth-Rothstein meanwhile also explained, “The Malmö orthodox Rabbi has long sounded the alarm and filed numerous police reports citing harassment, both physical and verbal. Yet the answer, from both politicians and intellectuals, has been to condemn the Jewish state and excuse anti-Semitism by saying that it is the logical consequence of Israeli military actions. The fish rots from the head, and Malmö is an excellent example of this, as it has sold out and abandoned its once significant Jewish population.”
Another former Israeli, Noami Lind, a friend of ‘A’, has said she faced similar problems. Lind emigrated to Sweden 34 years ago and lives in a Stockholm suburb, where she taught computer science.
“A girl was upset at her marks and told me she hopes Hitler will come back and finish the job. I always felt that the school administration wasn’t comfortable with the fact that I’m Israeli. They talked in class about the Holocaust, but despite that, they didn’t know how to deal with modern anti-Semitism. The school didn’t deal with the girl who said those racist things, even though it’s a criminal offense here. I’m a daughter of Holocaust survivors, and I took it really hard. My coworkers were amazing, they demanded the school lodge a complaint and expel the girl, but the administration didn’t do it.”
“Over the years, I also got uncalled for remarks from Arab students.” For example, an Arab student asked if she was Jewish, and when she answered in the affirmative, he started arguing and saying bad things. She also had a student from a Muslim country who became very devout “because the Jews control Coca-Cola and the all world.”
She finally decided she could not stand it. “I felt that I don’t want to expose myself. I left the school. I quit / was fired.”
When asked about the situation of the Jews in Sweden, Lind said, “They, the Swedes, are pushing us away. They’re scared, they don’t want conflicts. They suddenly didn’t feel comfortable because now there’s a lot of Muslim students, so they just push us, the Jewish teachers, away. It’s not easy and it’s not okay.”
She sued the school and was awarded the highest compensation level possible. However, she had not found a good job since.
Another Jewish teacher, Katrine Hamori, lives in Southern Sweden. Now retired, she said she faced anti-Semitic harassment. A few years ago, late at night, she got an anti-Semitic picture by mail. The picture showed two men with a kippah and long, crooked noses, murdering a Christian child.
It turned out the picture was sent by her principal. When she asked him about it, he said he sent it by mistake, that he meant to send it to himself. She did not buy it, since she was the only Jew in the school. He said he was sorry.
When she spoke to her union, the union rep said, “The principal apologized, it was by mistake, you Jews get insulted so easily. Why don’t you drop it?”
After her dismissal, alone in a train car, ‘A’, “Allowed the tears of my frustration to flow. I was angry with myself. I was angry with my frustration. I was angry with my tears. I was angry about maybe having to find other work, not as a teacher. Above all, I was angry at Sweden in 2016. When I arrived home, I began to look for another job.”
Her union will not back her up because she can not prove she was fired due to racism. She has also discovered that her co-workers have blocked her on Facebook.
Is there any future left for the Jews in Sweden?
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