Sweden: With violence as their weapon...
Physical assaults, armed crimes, violent riot, murder and bank robberies are the horrific inventory with which the Swedish Resistance Movement has gained a reputation as one of the most violent and feared nazi groups in Sweden.
Soon after Klas Lund, the former leader of the Swedish White Aryan Resistance (VAM), was released from prison in 1996, he went around recruiting activists for a new organisation that would take over where VAM had left off a few years earlier. Lund’s prison sentence was for bank robbery, but he had a previous conviction from 1986 for the vicious manslaughter of Ronny Landin, an anti-racist.
The new group was the Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR) and its offshoot, National Youth (NU). With Lund at its head it soon attracted Sweden’s most violent and pro-terrorist nazis. Instead of holding political meetings, it instructed its members in paramilitary skills by running survival courses and paintball battles.
Since founding the SMR Lund, 38, has continued his criminal activities. In March 2005 police in Norway seized him after he absconded from a prison in Sweden where he was serving a sentence for illegal possession of weapons. This was not his first weapons offence. In 2003 the Swedish police picked him up during raids on several leading nazis, when they found a loaded pistol beside his bed. At his trial Lund claimed he had been practising getting hold of the pistol quickly in case of attack.
In an interview in the SMR’s paper National Resistance Lund explained his ideological background, describing how as a 15-year-old he had had a revelatory experience of the concept of “people and race” through reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Lund and his followers also take their inspiration from the “terrorist bible” The Turner Diaries, by the late US nazi National Alliance leader William Pierce. The book is a manual for starting a “race war” by bombing and murdering Jews and black people.
One of Lund’s most notorious SMR allies is the so-called “Sätra murderer” Hampus Hellekant, who was recently released from prison after serving his sentence for the cold-blooded assassination of the trade union official Björn Söderberg in 1999. Before he was shot, Söderberg had publicly exposed the activities of another well known nazi, Robert Vesterlund of Info-14.
Hellekant’s name also came up in the investigation of an armed robbery of the armoured P10 regiment in Strängnäs in 1998. Hellekant was doing his military service in the regiment when two people overpowered the guards and escaped in a military lorry with 11 automatic rifles, 1,200 rounds of ammunition, armoured vests, gas masks and other military equipment. Hellekant could not be tied to the robbery and was absolved of any guilt.
For the SMR, organised violence is exactly what it was for VAM, the rule rather than the exception and directed towards clear goals. Immigrants are harassed and physically abused, seemingly arbitrarily. Homosexuals, journalists, left-wingers and others who do not share the nazis’ twisted view of the world are likewise subjected to violence at times.
People linked to the SMR often appear in court on charges involving weapons or violence. Apart from his concealment of arms, Emil Hagberg’s trial is typical. Serious physical abuse, gun crime, violence against a civil servant, violent resistance to the police, violent riot, knife crime, illegal possession of dangerous objects and illegal threats appear in many of the charges brought against SMR associates, often together with racial agitation.
These are just some of the convictions of SMR members and supporters:
In 2005, a court in Stockholm sentenced a 26-year-old man to eight years in prison for attempted murder and a serious arms offence after he tried to kill two people at a drug rehab-ilitation centre.
In 2005, a 21-year-old man was sentenced in Sollentuna to 240 hours’ community service for a serious assault and battery outside a restaurant in Märsta. The court heard that he headbutted his victim and continued stamping on his face when he lay unconscious on the ground. A friend from the SMR, whom the accused brought to court as a witness, himself had convictions for assault and battery and violent resistance. The 21-year-old was also mentioned in the police investigation in Hagberg case.
In summer 2004, two people were violently attacked outside the Tip-Top gay club on Sveavägen in Stockholm city centre. The culprits, all nazis connected to the SMR, had been hanging around outside the club earlier in the evening trying to pick a fight with club-goers. After asking a man wearing make-up, “Are you homosexual you bastard”, they hit him over the head with a club. Tip-Top’s doormen seized one of the nazis and police arrested another later at the nearby Rådmansgatan tube station.
In December 2003, three people linked to the SMR were sentenced in Solna for physical and verbal abuse. The targets were a man and a woman aged about 50 who had an immigrant background. Their attackers kicked and beat the man, made Nazi salutes, verbally abused the woman as a “damned Finnish gipsy” and accused her of coming to Sweden to steal social benefits. The couple, who had been taking an evening walk, had unwittingly turned into a road where SMR sympathisers sat drinking. The court also sentenced one of the accused for beating up an immigrant on another occasion.
The SMR’s activities – from shield production in Gothenburg to newspaper distribution in Härnösand – are reported on its website. In February, according to the website, a group of 15 to 20 activists gathered at Stockholm central station to distribute back copies of National Resistance. After distributing newspapers the nazis usually use the cover of darkness to put up posters with slogans such as “The US governs the world – who governs the US?” a reference to the nazis’ belief in Jewish world domination.
The SMR tries to present itself as the defenders of Sweden against “foreigners”, claiming that immigrants supposedly all come to the country to commit crimes and sponge off the state. But the SMR’s violent history and ideology speak volumes about the about the kind of society it really wants to build.
© Searchlight Magazine 2007