• Germany edition
 
Ikea investigates Stasi prisoner labour claims
Photo: DPA

Ikea investigates Stasi prisoner labour claims

Published: 01 May 2012 10:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 May 2012 23:37 GMT+02:00

The claims, which will be aired on Swedish public television’s (SVT) Uppdrag Granskning programme on Wednesday, first emerged in a German television documentary aired on WDR in July 2011.

The world’s largest furniture retailer said it had previously investigated the claims when they were aired on WDR and found no evidence to support them, according to an Ikea statement released on Friday.

But on Saturday the company said it had requested documents from the former East German secret police or Stasi archives and is “interviewing people at Ikea who were around back then,” according to Ikea's social and environmental manager Jeanette Skjelmose.

"So far there are no indications that we would have asked that prisoners be used in manufacturing or known about it," she told the Swedish news agency TT.

"What we're looking into now is whether it could have happened anyway, without our knowledge," she said.

The show claims there is evidence to support the allegation that political prisoners were used. A reporter for the show found documents supporting the claim in the Stasi files, according to a trailer for the show on SVT’s website.

"After the German documentary, Ikea examined the issue to get a more complete picture of what happened. We have so far found no evidence to suggest that political prisoners were used in production," the firm wrote in its Friday statement.

Ikea claimed in its statement that it takes the issue seriously and stated that regular inspections were made of the firm's factories in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

"We were clear in our demands then as we are now," the firm stated.

During the 1970s, Ikea developed a strong manufacturing presence in the GDR, establishing operations in 65 locations across the country to produce parts and furniture.

The 2011 WDR documentary detailed claims, citing Stasi documents, that Ikea had a thorough cooperation with the East German authorities.

The programme illustrated the example of one factory, where Ikea's popular Klippan sofa was produced, and which was located beside a prison in Waldheim.

A former prison chief told WDR that prison labour was an expected part of furniture production.

Ikea, an unlisted, family-owned company, is the world's largest furniture retailer, with sales of €25 billion in 2011 and 131,000 employees at the end of its last fiscal year in August 2011.

AFP/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:41 May 1, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
You want it cheap.. are you ready to live with the consequences?

Not to excuse anyone, but check out WIKIPEDIA on other companies that made their livelihood out of abuse (in no way a
07:06 May 2, 2012 by danclarkie
"Swedish furniture giant Ikea is investigating claims that its factories East German political prisoners for labour during the 1970s and 1980s." - What does this even mean??
Today's headlines
Germany's first Iraq arms delivery is ready
The weapons are ready to be sent. Photo: Bundeswehr/Pulpanek

Germany's first Iraq arms delivery is ready

Germany’s military said on Thursday it was ready to send its first shipment of arms to Kurds fighting Islamic extremists Isis in northern Iraq. READ  

Police find dead baby in train station locker
The lockers at Hamburg central station. Photo: DPA

Police find dead baby in train station locker

Police in Hamburg found the body of a baby hidden in a train station locker on Thursday morning. The woman believed to be its mother is in psychiatric care. READ  

German of the Week
Munich's mayor practices for Oktoberfest
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter. Photo: DPA

Munich's mayor practices for Oktoberfest

Dieter Reiter has been in office for less than five months and will this week take on one of the Munich mayor's most important duties - tapping the first keg at Oktoberfest. He is only the city's second mayor in the last 21 years. READ  

Europeans descended from three tribes
The skull of a farmer from Stuttgart examined for the study. Photo: Joanna Drath, University of Tübingen

Europeans descended from three tribes

German researchers have traced the origins of modern Europeans to a migratory melting pot of three ancient tribes dating back 8,000 years. READ  

Germans return 'stolen' parts of Great Pyramid
The pyramids at Giza. Photo: DPA

Germans return 'stolen' parts of Great Pyramid

Fragments of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which were allegedly stolen by German archaeologists last year, have been returned to Egypt from Germany. But the case against those who allegedly took the samples is continuing. READ  

Oktoberfest 2014
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents
Photo: DPA

Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents

There are 14 "tents" at Munich's Oktoberfest, all with their own uniqueness and theme. In the second of The Local's four-part guide to the world's biggest beer festival, we look at some of the best ones. READ  

Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg
Photo: DPA

Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg

A school trip was cancelled after just one day when two teachers got so drunk while they were supposed to be looking after pupils in Hamburg that police had to be called. READ  

Where to find the speed cameras today
Photo: DPA

Where to find the speed cameras today

Police deployed 13,000 officers across Germany on Thursday to catch speeding drivers in a so called "Blitzmarathon". Here is where the radar guns are. READ  

US WWII bomb forces 11,000 from homes
The area of the town centre evacuated. Photo: Lüneberg Stadt

US WWII bomb forces 11,000 from homes

Thousands of people in the centre of an historic town in central Germany had to leave their homes late on Wednesday evening after a 250kg bomb was found. READ  

Who is listening to Berlin's music?
Photo: DPA

Who is listening to Berlin's music?

A study by music-streaming service Spotify has revealed the global reach of Berlin-born music, with genres originating in the capital finding a loyal audience in some unlikely places. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Oktoberfest 2014: The best and worst in dirndl fashion
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: DPA
Tech
Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Photo: DPA
Politics
These men want to be the next mayor of Berlin
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,363
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd