Weeks after revelations of the King’s secret affair with a pop singer, the Sweden royal family 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, reports the Daily Mail.
When she married in 1976 the Queen’s German father Walter Sommerlath denied he had ever been a member of the Nazi party – fiction that was exposed some years later by a Swedish newspaper.
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.
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 gas masks for civilians.
As Hitler rose to power in Germany in the early Thirties, the National Socialist Workers Party was set up by Sven Olof Lindholm in 1933 to mirror its views.
A newspaper was set up as a mouthpiece for fascist views, a Nordic Youth set up along the lines of the Hitler Youth and the swastika even featured for a time on the party’s emblem.
During the war itself, the country declared itself neutral and maintained iron ore exports to Germany and allowed the Wehrmacht to use its transport network.
Sweden used its position of influence for some good, however, and saved the lives of 8,000 Danish Jews and 44,000 Norwegians smuggled into the country.
Support waned and the Nazi-sympathising parties dissolved. A core clung on and in 1956, the Nordic Reich Party was established.
Swedish investigative journalist Bosse Schon said, “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.”
Her brother Ralf told the newspaper Expressen that the Queen is “terribly upset” and he calls the documentary “lies and slanders”.
A statement issued by the Palace said, “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.
“The Queen first got knowledge of his membership in adulthood, and she never had the opportunity to discuss this with her father.”