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Swedish queen probes her father's Nazi past

The Local · 16 May 2011, 11:05

Published: 16 May 2011 11:05 GMT+02:00

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"The queen, along with the Sommerlath family, has taken the initiative to gather the facts concerning the activities of Walter Sommerlath in Brazil and Germany between 1930 and 1940," the royal court said in a statement.

"The inquiry has already lasted several months but it has not been established when the results will be made available," said the palace, adding that it would likely be autumn.

Revelations and accusations regarding the past of Walter Sommerlath, who died in 1990, have regularly made the headlines in Sweden recent years.

The queen, 67, has said until now that, although her father was a member of the Nazi party, he was not politically active and was forced to comply as others were to save his career.

Sunday's announcement follows an investigation by the commercial TV station TV4 last year which said that he took over a German factory belonging to a Jew in 1939 as part of an "Aryanisation" programme.

Sommerlath left Germany for Brazil in 1919, aged 18, where he met and married the queen's Brazilian mother Alice.

A member of the Nazi party from 1934, he worked for a local branch of a German steel company before returning to his home country in 1938 with his wife and two children.

In 1939 he began managing a factory employed in the war effort until its destruction five years later.

It was during their time in Germany that the couple had a further two children, including Silvia. The family returned to Brazil in 1947.

Silvia Sommerlath met the future king of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where she was working as an interpreter.

Story continues below…

When she married in 1976, Walter Sommerlath denied having been a member of

the Nazi party but it was confirmed by press reports in 2002.

AFP/The Local/adn

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:42 May 16, 2011 by derExDeutsche
you don't say, there are/were national socialist anti-Semitic kooks all over the most intelligent/genetically gifted continent?
21:01 May 16, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
ExE., I suppose you'd argue that it was the most intelligent/genetically gifted people of all who fell for all that national socialist racial bullshit?
23:25 May 16, 2011 by FIUMAN
I applaud the Queen for making the effort to look into her past, although I have to wonder why it took so long and what she will do with what she finds. In some ways I prefer the ideological honesty of a Himmler or Hitler over what her Father is being accused of. Nazis who joined the party due to their personal advancement, that is to say they were not true NS ideologues, are perhaps low trash. These are the same people who could, without harm to conscience, profit over the detriment done to Jews under the 1935 Reich Racial Laws, but would just as easily plead innocence after the Nazis fell out of favor. These are the true leeches of the Shoah, the ones making blood money over the murdered victims of Nazism.

Two random things come to mind. First, please recall the Nazis despised royalty and all its trappings so our darling Queen might just as well have found herself on a transport back to Brazil if the Nazis had their way. Second, despite a rather shaky history of neutrality in WWII, Sweden did in fact often do the right thing. Please recall the efforts of Count Raoul Wallenberg, savior of thousands of Hungarian Jews and who for his courage died a martyr's death in a Soviet gulag.

Moral of the story? As in modern Germany, let us not judge a person or people by their past but what they do in light of the truth of their past as they progress into the future.
11:16 May 17, 2011 by trash head
> neutrality in WWII, Sweden

Lol !

Ggood joke, they just sticked with their heads in the richest asses. Sweden, Denmarks and also Finlands history is full of this - concerned only about their own profits. But aftwerwards playing the moralizing - swedens most favourite task. I just wonder why sweden have the highest suicide rate in whole Europe if they are so unbelievable smart as they say. Nordic nations - a bunch of axmans and wood exporters.

Who cares abt intrigue of the swedish royalty.
17:25 May 17, 2011 by FredFinger
The Swedes?
20:17 May 17, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
hey, nothing wrong with nordic nations Trash Head. Otherwise you're right - the Swedes were (and still are) looking out for their own. But can you blame them? Switzerland did it for years and they were never bombed and have a stable economy! By the way, the Swedes allowed the German army to march through its borders during their withdrawal from Finland in WWII. Doesn't really sound like a neutral nation, does it?!
21:52 May 17, 2011 by wxman
With Swedes, you gotta do what you gotta do, at the time. What's the beaf?
19:57 May 22, 2011 by Howard de Barfield
Show me a prominate person or persons, heads of state or country that DID NOT benefit from the acts of WW!! INCLUDING the CONCENTRATION CAMPs?? I can name a few: VW, KLM, Prins Barhard of Holland. Wgy not go after all those involved?? Many of my family members lost lives while others survived tahnks to the American Soldiers. Lots of people are in torment now for the behavior they displayed.
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