Outrage as far-right's favourite outfitter 'Thor Steinar' opens shop in heart of London's Jewish community

 

A German clothing brand favoured by neo-Nazis in Europe, whose goods were banned because of their similarity to logos worn by SS officers, has opened a high-street store in the heart of London’s Jewish community.

The Viking Thor Shop, which opened in Finchley, North London a fortnight ago, is an outlet for Thor Steinar, a controversial brand whose products are strongly associated with far-right street groups and football hooligans.

The Ballards Lane store is situated yards from the office of the UK’s Chief Rabbi. Jewish and Islamic groups in the multicultural community have expressed concerns that the shop will attract far-right supporters and inflame tensions. But the store’s manager denied any neo-Nazi associations and claimed he was simply selling leisurewear.

The Thor Steinar brand has faced bans in the German Bundestag and across several football stadiums.

In 2012, eight members of the far-right German National Democratic Party were expelled from Saxony’s state parliament for wearing the brand’s T-shirts, which display runic symbols and Nordic themes popular with neo-Nazis.

After a 2004 ban in Germany, the company rebranded its original logo which bore a similarity to symbols worn by the Nazi SS.

The Finchley shop displays a Wolfsangel-style Nordic rune above the door, and variations of the symbol, which was adopted by some Waffen-SS units, feature on the brand’s T-shirts and hoodies.

One T-shirt on sale shows a man holding an automatic weapon and reads “last man standing”.

Users on the white power website Stormfront claimed “London gets its first white nationalist clothing shop”.

The office of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is based a few doors away, as is the Islamic Association of North London, a mosque which serves the large local Muslim population.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, a charity which provides security advice for the UK Jewish community, said: “This is a multi-cultural area with very few problems from racism and neo-Nazism and the like. This shop is not welcome here and the sooner it moves on the better.”

Store owner Zsolt Mogyorodi said he was not racist and had opened the store to serve a local eastern European community with whom the brand is popular.

Mogyorodi told The Independent: “I don’t know what is wrong with our clothes, they are just normal outdoor clothes. I can’t stop stupid people like football hooligans from wearing them.”

He denied any neo-Nazi link: “We welcome all kinds of customers in the shop. The Nazi thing is a silly old story from years ago and the brand has changed since then.”

Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said that while the shop might be “unwelcome” there was as yet no evidence that it was operating illegally.

Passers-by said they found the shop and its clientele intimidating and considered its location, situated between a number of Asian-owned shops and Afghan restaurants, “provocative”.

In 2012, Thor Steinar named a new German store Brevik, which critics claimed was in honour of right-wing Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

The brand claimed it was named in honour of the Norwegian town of Brevik in Oslo but later changed the name and removed the sign.

Anti-fascist groups have staged protests outside German Thor Steinar stores, which have been repeatedly vandalised.

Launched in 2002, Thor Steinar was sold to a Dubai-based company in 2009. Its clothes are banned from the Bundestag, the state parliaments of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony as well as the football stadiums of Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss