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  #21  
Old 08-09-2011, 10:31 AM
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From AP:

New report on Swedish queen's father's Nazi ties

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A report commissioned by Sweden's Queen Silvia investigating claims her German father had ties to the Nazi says he helped at least one Jew escape Hitler's Germany.
Swedish media in 2002 reported Walther Sommerlath joined Germany's Nazi party in 1934 and took over Efim Wechsler's business under unclear circumstances in 1939.
World War II expert Erik Norberg says in the report that documents indicate Sommerlath exchanged his coffee plantation in Brazil for Wechsler's company, helping him escape to South America in 1939.
Other researchers question the nobility of Sommerlath's actions, suggesting he too gained from the deal.
The report published Tuesday says Sommerlath belonged to the NSDAP Nazi party but that he appeared to have been an inactive member.
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  #22  
Old 08-09-2011, 11:42 AM
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It's rather unfortunate that many articles commenting on the report claim that it turns Queen Silvia's father into a 'hero', which it doesn't, or even claim that Queen Silvia herself called him a hero, which she did not.
The report is actually far more precise and nonjudgamental than the media make it sound and very detailed in describing the circumstances in Nazi Germany at the time in general and the destiny of the Wechsler/Sommerlath factory in particular.
A quite interesting historic document which is also a fascinating read for everyone who has more than a superficial interest in history; IMO it has to be applauded that the decision was made to present it on the official website for everyone to read and form an opinion of their own.
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  #23  
Old 08-09-2011, 04:16 PM
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BBC News - Swedish queen's report denies father had Nazi links
Swedish queen probe shows dad not a Nazi | Herald Sun
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  #24  
Old 08-10-2011, 01:19 AM
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Silvia want´s to whitewash her family

I pray to God I never going to be held to account for that my parents claimed to have done before I was born, regardless of whatever it might be, and to my own children will not have to defend my actions before they were born. For me it is not at all strange that Queen Silvia, as public figure, wants to whitewash her family from the horrific allegations of scandal journalists.
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  #25  
Old 08-10-2011, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Karisma View Post
For me it is not at all strange that Queen Silvia, as public figure, wants to whitewash her family from the horrific allegations of scandal journalists.
The attitude you describe here as Queen Silvia's is fortunately not the one I detect in the way she and the historian who wrote the report handled the matter.
Thankfully, the report published on royalcourt.se is focusing too thoroughly on historical facts for the quite ugly term 'whitewashing' to apply.
Neither the Nazi party membership of Walter Sommerlath nor the fact that his factory produced materials for the war effort after 1940 are denied, but analyzed instead, as is the precise nature of the purchase of the Berlin factory from Jewish Efim Wechsler in exchange of Brazilian real estate formerly belonging to Queen Silvia's maternal family.

Link to part 2 of the interview articles in ‚Gothenburg Post’ which accompany the report, in google English – this one deals with the war and post-war years of Queen Silvia the Sommerlaths:

http://translate.googleusercontent.c...Wq077neOsYi40w
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  #26  
Old 08-10-2011, 06:23 AM
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Link to very good commented summary of the historian's report on Trond N. Isaken's great blog:

Trond Norén Isaksen: A new report on Walther Sommerlath’s actions in the Nazi era
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  #27  
Old 08-11-2011, 04:30 AM
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The American association for Holocaust survivors compares the Queen to 'A butcher who is judging the quality of his own meat'. The critisism was already heard before the actual report was published.

According to royalblog, the queen could have spared herself some critisism if she wouldn't have been involved in the research and when it would have been considered more independent. This doesn't mean that the historian didn't do his work independently and by all sources Erik Norberg has an excellent reputation.

IMHO it is a bit cheap to automatically label the report as 'white washing the past', before reading it.

Some unawnsered questions (as posted on royalblog):

- Why did Walther Sommerlath return to Germany in 1937 and returned to Brazil in 1939, after the business deals (or 'deals'?) with Efim Wechsler. In business deals all is about the position of the two parties, and it is a fact that Wechsler didn't have much choice but to sell his company.

- It is unclear how Wechsler came in touch with Sommerlath, though according to a relative the family thinks that he reacted to an advertisement posted by Sommerlath, in which Sommerlath says that he wants to by a business in Germany. Another thing that is unclear is if Walther Sommerlath was aware that in Germany businesses belonging to Jewish people were for sale for very low prices. The report is however sure about a 'fair deal'.

The article ends with the question: what can we blame Silvia for? The awnser is: nothing. It is only noble that you want to defend your parents. But it isn't always productive, both Máxima as prince Bernhard tried and failed.

Silvia oogst kritiek met eigen onderzoek naar vader - Achtergronden ROYALBLOG.NL
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  #28  
Old 08-11-2011, 05:27 AM
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I think one should not automatically assume that because Mr. Wechsler was the Jew and Walter Sommerlath the German, that Wechsler was the looser in this deal.

This deal helped Mr. Wechsler to own property in Brazil which was the key to his getting official permission to leave Germany. If he had stayed he surely would have ended in a concentration camp, as he was already know to the authorities, so not much chance to live undetected in Berlin like some other managed. Concentration Camp in 1939 meant there was close to nil chance of survival.

OTOH I cannot believe Walter Sommerlath had any idea what had become of Germany through the Nazi-reign. Otherwise he wouldn't have brought his Brazilian wife and his "half-blooded" children to Germany for fear of their safety. Alice Sommerlath did not look like the type of female the Nazis wished for and Brazil was far away - it could have easily happened that a strict Nazi in charge did not accept her as a "real" German citizen and that meant a lot of (potentially deadly) problems. in addition Alice is said to have spoken only broken German - thus adding additional suspicion on her, espeically when the war was started. So all in all I think Walter Sommerlath was well-meaning and ended up leaving the security and social position he had in Brazil, exchanged it for Nazi and than Nazi/War-time Germany, lost all and came back to Brazil a refugee who needed the help of his wife's relatives. Not the story of someone who wanted to enrich himself of jewish money....

Just my thoughts, but there have been many, many cases when Germans took over Jewish businesses and helped the former owners to escape. There is never only greed in a nation, but altruism as well.
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  #29  
Old 08-11-2011, 06:05 AM
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Thank you Jan Maarten for making this a seperate topic, and thank you and Kataryn for sharing your very interesting thoughts on the issue.
IMO the simple fact that the publication of the detailed report allows and provokes an intelligent and also critical discussion of this kind can be considered an achievement on Queen Silvia's part. Im certain that she must have been aware from the start that her decision to start the investigation would invite accusations of the resulting report being biased.
That she proceeded regardless and went for this publication gives everyone the opportuntity to consider the facts here by themselves and to form an own opinion on the matter - an open and productive approach, as well as a courageous one, since the report does also produce a few facts which she herself previously tended to deny, either intentionally or due to her lack of knowledge about them.
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  #30  
Old 08-13-2011, 07:31 PM
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Rubbish is rubbish

The origins of the discussions comes from Republican sources. No reasonable person can ask someone who was not born to take a beating for what was done before you came to this earth. To involve the Queen in the discussion was cheap dirty and unethical. But Silvia is just like any other healthy human being - she wants to defend her family. But no one had an interest in the history of the Republican club does not have driven smear campaigns.
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  #31  
Old 08-13-2011, 11:49 PM
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Kataryn, thank you for your insightful input into this discussion. The Commission was hired by Her Majesty, yet the conclusions remain balanced and carefully researched. The absolute odious thing about all of this is the press stirring up controversy about events that occurred nearly 70 yr. ago. The whole issue was brought out now to add further hurt and embarrassment to the Royal Family. The press is desperate for news and if these actions were so dire, then why wasn't it brought up when the King and Sylvia were seeing each instead of many, many years later?
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  #32  
Old 09-16-2011, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katrianna View Post
The press is desperate for news and if these actions were so dire, then why wasn't it brought up when the King and Sylvia were seeing each instead of many, many years later?
I think one reason for the Swedish media interest in well-known people's involvement with the Nazi in the 30:ies and during WW II today is political, as in the last decade or so a right-wing political party have gained more support in Sweden than they have had before. There might be an interest in making people aware where what could be seen as an "innocent" support of a right-wing political movement could lead. It's not just Walter Sommerlath who have been investigated, the same have been done to the founder of the IKEA chain. There was not the same interest (or perhaps the same need) to look for people's connections with the Nazi movement in the 1970:ies when the king and queen met.

As for the SRF and their Nazi links, the king's maternal grand-father was a member of the Nazi party from 1935 and was sentenced for his involvement with the Nazi's after the war.
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  #33  
Old 01-21-2012, 10:13 AM
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Queen Silvia slammed for 'flawed' Nazi probe - The Local
Sweden's Queen Silvia was reportedly "shattered" following an investigative journalism report criticizing the findings of a probe meant to clear the air regarding her father's Nazi connections.
After Queen Silvia posted an updated version of a 2010 investigation into her father's Nazi past on the Royal Court website on Monday, TV4 documentary series Kalla Fakta (The Cold Facts) on Wednesday slammed the Queen's probe, saying the investigation was flawed.
”We can show point by point that there are pure inaccuracies to the Queen's investigation. Everyone is responsible for writing history. Even Silvia,” said Johan Åsard of Kalla Fakta in a statement.
In the wake of the new TV4 report, staff close to the Royals told Aftonbladet that they are worried about the Queen's reactions to the latest developments, as she has reportedly suffered greatly from the whole affair.
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  #34  
Old 01-21-2012, 07:35 PM
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This whole issue has turned into pure harassment of the Queen. If there is an interest in who cooperated with the Germans during the time in question then all families in Sweden and elsewhere should be investigated and everyone's decisions and activities during this timeperiod should be open to the public. To publicly prosecute children for their parents activities is pure nonsense. Most children will never have a full and clear picture of their parents activities. Most of us are not our parents confidants.
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  #35  
Old 12-20-2012, 09:37 AM
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There is a video at the Swedish royal court's homepage where queen Silvia tells about the work behind the book ”De glömda dokumenten – berättelsen om Walther Sommerlath och Efim Wechsler”, Drottningen om
You can also view all the documents yourself as they are available for download.
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  #36  
Old 12-20-2012, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Meraude View Post
There is a video at the Swedish royal court's homepage where queen Silvia tells about the work behind the book ”De glömda dokumenten – berättelsen om Walther Sommerlath och Efim Wechsler”, Drottningen om
You can also view all the documents yourself as they are available for download.

Drottning Silvia ses i ny film – Berättelsen om Walter Sommerlath | Svensk Damtidning *** translation

Drottningen sätter punkt i video | Nyheter | Aftonbladet >
In a new film on the royal family's website says Queen Silvia The forgotten documents - the story of Walther Sommerlath and Efim Wechsler
- I'm relieved now that I got up the forgotten documents in light of my father's and Efins fate, she says in the video.
It is about the investigation of her father and a jew businessman National Antiquities Erik Norberg presented last year. So far, the Queen has been frugal with statements about its results.
- Perhaps many have wondered why I have not answered questions about my father before. It was not just the emotional work that was difficult to handle. It took search, knowledge and answers about events that happened 70 years ago. This is a process which takes time. And is not so easy to do in the public light always, she says in the film posted on the court's website.
The study showed that among annats settlement between Sommerlath and Weschsler 1939 meant that Sommerlath changed part of a Brazilian coffee plantation and three plots against Wechsler factory in Germany.
Wanted to get the truth
- What the queen would say is that now they have done everything possible to find documents about these families' history. This is her final commentary on the work, explains the court's information officer Bertil Ternert.
In the film, Queen says further:
- I have searched the truth about my father Walther Sommerlath and Efim Wechsler. I have found a deep thought-provoking and complex story of how two people's paths crossed and how vital it was for both of them. I'm relieved now that I got up the forgotten documents in light of my father's and Efins fate.
New Documents
The Queen also says she wishes she'd had the opportunity to ask any questions to his family directly.
- My parents never talked to me or my siblings about this time. There are many questions I would like to ask them, 'she says.
According Ternert has the investigation been added document confirming Norberg conclusions. All documents can be read on the court's website.
- The Queen has himself written again and afterword to Norberg's letter says Ternert said.


Drottningen berättar om sin pappa och kopplingen till nazismen | Hovbloggen >
The Queen talks about his dad and the link to Nazism

Just now la royal family a video where Queen Silvia talks about the studies she has made ​​about his father and his links to Nazism. A couple of years ago, TV4's Kalla Fakta a program about how much closer Walther Sommerlath was partitet than has previously been recognized, and they showed up some confusion about how he took over a jew party companies in Germany.

The queen says in the movie clip that her parents never spoke to her or her siblings this time.

And she responds to the question I was wondering about already when TV4 broadcast program. Why not commented on the queen of the new information about his father? It had been so easy for her to say briefly that she rejects Nazism and the possible links that existed then between her father and the party. For no one can accuse her of things that her father has done, no child can or need to take that responsibility. Inheritance Sin does not exist.

Instead, there was only silence from the palace and now tells the queen why.

- Perhaps many have wondered why I have not responded to questions about my father before. It was not just the emotional work that was difficult to handle. It took search, knowledge, and it took answers about events that happened 70 years ago. This is a process which takes time. And it may not always be so easy to do in the public light, either.
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  #37  
Old 12-20-2012, 02:49 PM
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I just read the foreword written by the Queen and I can't wait to read the rest of the book!
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:13 PM
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  #39  
Old 12-20-2012, 06:44 PM
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Silvia talar ut om nazistisk historia | Nyheter | Expressen | Senaste nytt - Nyheter Sport Nöje TV *** translation
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:47 PM
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TV4's "Kalla Fakta" has at several programs examined Walther Sommerlaths background at the German Nazi Party.
Now journalist and "Kalla Faktas" former editorial director John Åsard is writing a book "The Queen's Secret" about the case. The book is said to reveal how the royal family is acting in secrecy to control the image of themselves. The book will be published by Ordfront Publishers in late August. "The Queen's Secret" will according to the presentation "uncover a world hitherto unknown to the Swedish people" where "royals acting in secret and use their status to control the public image of themselves."
Johan Åsard is very secretive about the content.
- It's no secret that I write the book, it is under production. But I will not say anything more about it, or what it will contain, he says.
Bertil Ternert, press officer of the court, is not aware of the issue.
- It was not familiar to me, I can not comment on that, says Ternert.
Ny bok ska avslöja Silvias ’hemlighet’ Nyheter Aftonbladet
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