German shop axes ‘Brevik’ after protests

A shop selling clothes favoured by neo-Nazis has changed its name from “Brevik” after massive protests in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, forced a u-turn just a week after it opened.

Mediatex, owners of the Thor Steinar clothing label often worn by neo-Nazis, bowed to pressure from local politicians, shop-owners, and citizens who protested in front of the shop.

They were offended by it being just one letter short of that of Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist who killed 77 people in Norway last year, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday.

Thor Steinar, which decorates its clothes with symbols from Nordic mythology, names all its branches after places in Norway – their newest branch, opened last Thursday, was named after the village of Brevik, south of Oslo. Indeed, the company previously had a shop called "Brevik" in Hamburg, though it was closed in 2008.

A company spokesman said Mediatex had “not expected” that people would make the association, and called the name “an oversight.” The shop is now called Tønsberg.

Local Social Democrat politician Hanka Kliese was unconvinced by the explanation, citing the company’s alleged neo-Nazi sympathies. “The name was consciously chosen to make the connection to Breivik,” she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It is repellent, shocking and unmasks the firm.”

“Behind the company there is a violent and inhuman ideology,” she added. “We don’t want a shop like that here, whatever they call it.”

Chemnitz has seen a rising problem with neo-Nazis in recent years. “The situation has got a lot worse, since the head of [far-right party] the NPD moved his office here,” said Kliese.

Several Norwegian newspapers have also picked up the story, and Anne-Kirsti Karlsen, spokeswoman for the Norwegian embassy in Germany, described the choice of name as “very unfortunate and thoughtless.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Norway mosque shooter ‘has admitted the facts’: Police

A Norwegian man suspected of killing his step sister and opening fire in a mosque near Oslo last weekend, has admitted to the crimes though he has not officially entered a plea, police said on Friday.

Norway mosque shooter 'has admitted the facts': Police
Philip Manshaus appears in court on August 12. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB Scanpix / AFP
Philip Manshaus, 21, was remanded in custody Monday, suspected of murder and a “terrorist act” that police say he filmed himself committing.
Answering police questions on Friday, “the suspect admits the facts but has not taken a formal position as to the charges,” Oslo police official Pal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said in a statement.
Manshaus is suspected of murdering his 17-year-old step sister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, before entering the Al-Noor mosque in an affluent Oslo suburb and opening fire before he was overpowered by a 65-year-old man.
Just three worshippers were in the mosque at the time, and there were no serious injuries.
Manshaus appeared in court this week with two black eyes and scrapes and bruises to his face, neck and hands.
Police have said he has “extreme right views” and “xenophobic positions” and that he had filmed the mosque attack with a camera mounted on a helmet. He had initially denied the accusations.
The incident came amid a rise in white supremacy attacks around the world, including the recent El Paso massacre in the United States.
Norway witnessed one of the worst-ever attacks by a rightwing extremist in July 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik, who said he feared a “Muslim invasion”, killed 77 people in a truck bomb blast near government offices in Oslo and a shooting spree at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utøya.