This week is chock full of controversy — and it’s only Tuesday. Yesterday we had Marc Jacobs not paying his models, and today we have a neo-Nazi clothing company naming a store after a Norwegian terrorist.
Favored by neo-Nazis, Thor Steinar is a German brand that was banned in 2004 when its logo was deemed too similar to symbols worn by SS officers. The company has since rebranded, incorporating more coded allusions to Nazism in its products, making it legal under German law. As per a 2008 article in Der Spiegel:
On one Thor Steinar T-shirt, the word kontaktfreudig is splashed across red splotches that look like spatters of blood. The word could be translated as “outgoing,” or more literally, “happy to make contact.” The display on Rosa-Luxemburg Street includes clothing with common symbols like an eagle for German pride, or “18″ and “88″ for “Adolf Hitler” and “Heil Hitler” — numbers freighted with meaning because of the position of the initials in the alphabet.
Now Der Spiegel reports Thor Steinar has opened a store in the German cirt of Chemnitz and named it Brevik. Despite a slight variation in spelling, many believe there is a connection between the name and Anders Behring Breivik, the man responsible for killing 77 people in last summer’s Norway massacre. The company denies the connection, explaining that all of its stores are named after Norwegian towns (Brevik is indeed a small town south of Oslo), and that they named another store Brevik years before the massacre.
Regardless, the people of Chemnitz aren’t pleased. A protest was held in the city center yesterday, and the owner of the building that houses the store says he was unaware the space would be occupied by Thor Steinar. As city spokesperson Kaja Uhlemann told German daily Die Walt: “It is out of the question for a store to have a name like that.”