Stockholm: A Sweden Democrats official has been suspended by the far-right party for making degrading comments about Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank.

In an Instagram posting that has now been deleted, Rebecka Fallenkvist called Anne “immoral” among other things, according to Swedish media.

Rebecka Fallenkvist, a Sweden Democrats official, was suspended by the far-right party for making degrading comments about Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank. Credit:AP

Anne, who wrote a diary while in hiding in Amsterdam before she was captured, died at age 15 in Nazi Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February 1945.

The posting by Fallenkvist, a 26-year-old head of television programming for the Sweden Democrats, prompted strong reactions from Jewish groups and Israeli ambassador Ziv Nevo Kulman, who in a tweet said: “I strongly condemn this despicable insult, disrespectful of the memory of Anne Frank.” His posting included what appeared to be a screenshot of Fallenkvist’s Instagram post.

The Sweden Democrats’ media director, Oskar Cavalli-Bjorkman, told the Swedish news agency TT that the party would take Fallenkvist’s “insensitive and inappropriate” comments seriously and launch an internal investigation on the matter.

While it remained unclear what kind of point Fallenkvist wanted to make with her comments on Anne’s diary, she sent later a text message to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter saying she had been misinterpreted.

“The book is a moving depiction of human good and evil,” Fallenkvist said in her message to the newspaper. “The good Anne, who in the first chapters is like any other young girl living her life in peace and finding an interest in boys (which I highlighted), is contrasted with the evil of Nazism. My story was aimed at the good and human in Anne while not playing down the evil to which she was subjected.”

Sweden Democrats was founded in the 1980s by people who had been active in right-wing extremist groups, including neo-Nazis. The party emerged as Sweden’s second-largest party in the September 11 election under the leadership of Jimmie Akesson.

On Friday, three Swedish centre-right parties agreed to form a coalition government with the support of the Sweden Democrats that has moved toward mainstream politics, but retains a hard line on immigration.

Meanwhile, in Italy, the far-right political leadership marked the 79th anniversary of the World War II roundup of Rome’s Jews on Sunday (Europe time) with calls for such horror to never occur again, messages that took on greater significance following a national election won by a party with neo-fascist roots.

Giorgia Meloni, who is expected to head Italy’s first far-right-led government since the war’s end, phoned the leader of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, to commemorate the anniversary, according to a community spokesman.

Meloni said in a statement that the anniversary serves as a “warning so that certain tragedies never happen again.” She said all Italians bear the memory “that serves to build antibodies against indifference and hatred, to continue to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

On the morning of October 16, 1943 during the German occupation of Italy, 1259 people were arrested from Rome’s Ghetto and surrounding neighbourhoods and brought to a military barracks near the Vatican, bound for deportation to Auschwitz. Only 16 survived.

Meloni called it a “tragic, dark and incurable day for Rome and Italy,” that ended with the “vile and inhuman deportation of Roman Jews at the hands of the Nazi-Fascist fury: women, men and children were snatched from life, house by house”.

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party won the most votes in September 25 national election — about 26 per cent – and is expected to head a government along with the right-wing League and centre-right Forza Italia. Her party traces its roots to the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, or MSI, which was founded in 1946 by the remnants of Benito Mussolini’s final government in the Nazi puppet state in Salo, northern Italy. It remained a small right-wing party until the 1990s, when it became the National Alliance, which sought to distance itself from its neo-fascist origins.

AP

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