Unless you buy your earrings at a certain Brooklyn boutique, you probably haven’t heard of Thor Steinar, a German clothing company (lifestyle brand?) beloved by neo-Nazis everywhere. The company was banned in 2004 after controversy over similarities in its logos to symbols worn by SS officers but then rebranded by making its Nazi allegiances more subtle and therefore legal under German law.
Sounds like they got tired of peddling hate under the radar, though, as Thor Steinar just opened a brand new store in the German cirt of Chemnitz and named it… Brevik.
Which may sound familiar because, because if you add an “i” you get: Anders Behring Breivik, the ultranationalist terrorist who killed 77 people in a little over an hour, most of them children, last summer at a political camp in Norway.
Unsurprisingly, the store’s name prompted outrage across Germany and Norway. On Monday, thousands of Chemnitz residents protested in the city. The building’s owner claims not to have known he was renting to a neo-Nazi brand, while the brand insists that all of their stores are named after places in Norway (Brevik is indeed a small town south of Olso).
Apparently Norway has tried distancing itself from Thor Steinar for a while now, as the German brand uses the Norwegian flag and “other Nordic symbols.” Said Anne-Kirsti Wendel Karlsen of the Norwegian Embassy, “We consider it very regrettable that Thor Steinar uses Norwegian place names in order to associate Norway as such with Thor Steinar and the extreme right-wing scene. Acting at the request of a number of communities, we have asked that Norwegian town names not be used. But we unfortunately have no legal recourse to pursue it through the courts.”