Tuesday, 27. January 2015 - 11:01
This newspaper is a time machine, locked in around the time of two World Wars, one World Cup and a lost age when it was permissible to poke fun at Germans.
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01. 12. 10. - 11:00
SWEDEN’S royal family - recovering from revelations of the secret affair the king enjoyed with a pop singer - has been thrown into fresh turmoil over the Nazi past of the queen’s father.
Swedish TV4’s investigative programme Kalla fakta has broadcast the first of a two-part documentary detailing how Queen Silvia‘s late father grew rich producing armaments in a factory stolen from the Jews.
When she married in 1976 the Queen’s German father Walter Sommerlath denied he had ever been a member of the Nazi party. That fiction was exposed some years later by a Swedish newspaper which proved he joined the movement in 1934.
Earlier this year Queen Silvia spoke for the first time about it in a TV documentary in which she said he was not ``politically active´´ and that the factory he ran produced toy trains and hair dryers, as well as parts for gasmask for civilians. She said he did not take the factory over from Jewish owners.
Now the revelations about Sommerlath, who was living in Brazil at the time he joined the Nazis and only returned to Germany on the eve of war, have plunged the royals into a new crisis.
Swedish investigative journalist Bosse Schön says, “The truth about Queen Silvia’s father, which she doesn’t want to tell herself or her family, is that he joined Hitler’s Nazi party beginning on December 1st, 1934.
“Also, Queen Silvia’s father worked during his time in Brazil for the German company Acos-Burderus-do Brasil-Ltda, which used wartime prisoners as slave labour in Nazi Germany.”
Sommelath resettled in Berlin and on 24 May 1939 he took over the company Wechsler & Hennig. Documents found by Kalla fakta show that Sommerlath took over the firm from Efim Wechsler, a Jew, and that this was part of the so-called “Ayranisation“ of such enterprises according to the Nuremberg Laws which stripped Jews of their rights and property.
He bought it at a knock-down price, as was common at the time. Jews needed the money to try to escape from Germany.
The documents also show that his factory produced items which were used by the Luftwaffe - ack-ack guns - and also parts for tanks.
Her brother Ralf told the newspaper Expressen that the Queen is “terribly upset” and he calls the documentary “lies and slanders”. He fumed that if all Swedes are like Mats Deland, one of the three documentary makers, he will never again visit Sweden and will tell his sister to “come home.”
The queen’s attempts earlier this year to play down the Nazi past of her father have led to fierce criticism of her in the media now, both in Germany and Sweden.
She has refused all comment but a statement was issued by the palace ahead of part two of the documentary which runs on Sunday night this coming weekend.
“Concerning the discussions about Walther Sommerlath in the media, which deal with events which took place before the Queen was born, the Queen has no reason to comment on the content of the programme.
“Of course The Queen is sorry about her father becoming a member of the National Socialist Party in 1934. The Queen first got knowledge of his membership in adulthood, and she never had the opportunity to discuss this with her father."
Her husband King Carl XVI Gustaf was recently exposed in a book over a secret affair he had with a pop singer.
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