Alex Constantine - December 1, 2010
Sweden's royal family has been rocked by allegations that the father of Queen Silvia made a fortune from a factory seized from Jewish owners in Nazi Germany.
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
By Allan Hall
The Telegraph | December 1, 2010
Swedish TV4 broadcast a documentary detailing how Walter Sommerlath, a German Nazi Party member, had bought the factory from Efim Wechsler, a Jew.
The transaction was part of the so-called "Ayranisation" of such enterprises according to the Nuremberg Laws which stripped Jews of their rights and property. The factory allegedly made Ack Ack guns for the Luftwaffe and also parts for tanks.
When she married in 1976 the Queen's German father 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"
"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," said Swedish investigative journalist Bosse Schon. "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."
Mr Sommelath resettled in Berlin and on 24 May 1939 he took over the company Wechsler & Hennig. Documents found show Sommelath bought it at a knock-down price, as was common at the time. Jews needed the money to try to escape from Germany.
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.