Alex Constantine - May 17, 2011
By Nathan Burstein
Forward | May 16, 2011
A year after issuing an angry denial, Sweden’s Queen Silvia will investigate her family’s alleged Nazi past, including her father’s 1939 acquisition of a Jewish-owned factory in Germany.
Rumors about her family history have long trailed the German-born queen, who last year protested a Swedish television documentary that looked into her father’s role in Germany’s “Aryanization” program, in which Jewish property was seized and taken over by other Germans.
The documentary, Kalla Fakta (The Cold Facts), investigated reports that the queen’s father, Walther Sommerlath, had obtained the factory after returning to Germany from Brazil. Following the documentary’s broadcast, the queen wrote a letter of protest to the channel’s general manager. She has long denied any family connections to the Nazis, as did her father, who was rumored to have joined the party in 1934.
Her sudden willingness to investigate her family’s past therefore comes as a “surprise,” according to a Swedish news source.
A spokesperson for the royal family suggested the investigation could be challenging. “The difficulty is that this happened over 70 years ago, there has been a World War in between and so much is incomplete,” Bertil Ternert told newsagency TT. “However, the Queen would still like to make an effort to produce as clear picture as is possible.”