Jewish, Swedish leaders discuss antisemitism ahead of Malmö Forum

Ann Katina, chair of the Jewish Community of Malmö: “Jewish life in Sweden is more than antisemitism."

Rabbis, politicians, imam commemorate Kristallnacht in Malmö (photo credit: AMANAH: THE JEWISH – MUSLIM FAITH AND TRUST PROJECT - COURTESY)
Rabbis, politicians, imam commemorate Kristallnacht in Malmö
(photo credit: AMANAH: THE JEWISH – MUSLIM FAITH AND TRUST PROJECT - COURTESY)

Top Jewish and Swedish leaders met at Malmö Synagogue Tuesday to celebrate the history and vibrant life of the local Jewish community, most notably its resilience during a period of heightened antisemitism in the country.

The synagogue event, hosted by the World Jewish Congress (WJC), along with the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community of Malmö, was held one day ahead of the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.

Malmö, the third-largest city in Sweden, has been slammed with antisemitism in recent years. In 2013, it saw near a tripling of reports of antisemitic attacks, JTA reported

WJC President Ronald Lauder shared insight at the event about the history of Jewish life in Sweden and next steps in combating antisemitism. 

“I have been dealing with antisemitism since I became involved in the Jewish world. That’s most of my adult life. I’ve witnessed it, I’ve talked to too many victims of antisemitism. I’ve also been the target of it, myself. I have seen people lose their lives … because they happened to be Jewish," Lauder said. 

“I am aware that a just and reasonable settlement must be found with the Palestinian people. I have pursued a two-state solution for years and I have never given up on this idea. Two states for two people is the only way that this long conflict can finally come to a just conclusion," he continued. 

He added, “All schoolchildren must learn about the Holocaust and understand how it came about and where hatred ultimately leads.”

President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder CourtesyPresident of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder Courtesy

Lauder went on to advocate for a national holiday on January 27, the day Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, for schools worldwide to teach about the Holocaust.

 “There is still so much to be done. I am not naïve; I realize the hatred of Jews has been with us for 2,000 years and will never completely go away. But we can do everything in our power to keep this virus from spreading. We applaud the Swedish Prime Minister and the government for taking the first steps. And I thank you for your help with the Jewish community here in protecting its synagogues, its school and its people,” he said. 

Ann Katina, chair of the Jewish Community of Malmö, emceed the ceremony while discussing the lively history of Jewish life in Malmö, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary next month.

“Jewish life in Sweden is more than antisemitism,” she said. 

Sweden has pledged to open the Swedish Museum of the Holocaust by July 2022.