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Marengo 11-30-2010 08:17 AM

Discussion & Research about Walther Sommerlath's Role in the Nazi Period
 
Queen Silvia is 'furious' about new alligations towards her father Walther Sommerlath, her brother told the press on monday. The Swedish court refused any comment.

Television station TV4 claimed on sunday evening that the father of the Queen took over a company that belonged to a Jewish person in 1939 under the arianising programme of the Nazi's. The company produced material that was used for air defence. The Queen always told that her fathers company only made toy trains and hair dryers.

It was already clear that Walther Sommerlath joined the Nazi party in 1934. Queen Silvia said that her father was happy by the economic boost that Germany went trhough during the first years of Nazi rule. Newspaper Dagens Nyheter called that 'absolutely impossible' at the time.

source: ANP/DPA through Reformatorisch Dagblad

Boris 11-30-2010 09:01 AM

The sources you quote are partly mis-informed, Marengo.

In this year's Bernadotte TV documentary, Queen Silvia didn't talk about 'toys and hair dryers' as products from her father's factory, but did mention the production of components for gas masks.
The factory was indeed bought in 1938 (not '39...) at a bargain price by Sommerlath from its Jewish owner, who subsequently emigrated to Brazil.
As a matter of fact, this can be considered part of the deplorable 'Aryanizing' executed by the fascist Nazi regime.

The Swedish Court did not 'refuse any comment', but released a press statement already yesterday:

Kommentar med anledning av programmet Kalla fakta i TV4, 28 november 2010 - Sveriges Kungahus [NS4 version]

My translation:
"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 program.
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."

Marengo 11-30-2010 09:07 AM

Oh dear, if even the orthodox protestant 'Reformatorisch Dagblad' isn't reliable anymore I wonder which newspaper can still be trusted ;):

Koningin Zweden

Thanks for the correction! Do you know if the former owner ever tried to get the company back or any other financial compensation after the war? It seems that the story is blown out of proportion, hence the angry comment of HM's brother.

Boris 11-30-2010 09:15 AM

The Swedish TV documentary is shown in two parts; the second part is exclusvely dealing with the fate of the factory's former owner Efim Wechsler after his emigration, and will be broadcast next Sunday.

I find it rather amazing that comments about this revelation are for the most part completely devoid of any sympathy for Queen Silvia (and I'm not saying this only because she obviously has a rough time anyway currently).
It's very likely that she herself and her brothers only knew half about their father's past, and finding out unpleasant details about it so late in life via the media is certainly not easy to digest.

mattep74 11-30-2010 01:56 PM

The guestbook that Kalla Fakta uses was filled with stuff like: "Since when do we blame the children for the wrongdoings of the parents" or "I am a repulican, but stop this nonsens" or "Payed by the republican movement are we?". Atleast when i checked yesterday. Have decided to avoid that page from now on.

I didnt see it but the people that did woundered why it is necessary to bring it up at all since Silvia wasnt even born yet when it happened.

Boris 11-30-2010 02:05 PM

That's good to hear, those comments sound like they put things into perspective.
When I wrote above of un-sympathetic 'comments', I was actually thinking of those in the Swedish print media. Worst example: a nasty 'Aftonbladet' article with the headline "No, Silvia! Your father was in fact worse than others".
Link:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article8202419.ab
It's fortunate that the Swedish people in general seem to assess the story differently.

Esmerelda 11-30-2010 06:26 PM

It's ridiculous. Unfortunately, I think the new book about the King has provided 'money-making ideas' which are currently being tried out. Unless they're going to do this to every single person who has an ancestor involved in the Nazi regime, they should leave the Queen alone. Nobody can choose their parents or change their past actions especially if they occurred before they were born. I don't excuse Walter Sommerlath's early membership of the Nazi party (when he wasn't coerced to join) but I don't blame the Queen for it either.

Marengo 11-30-2010 06:34 PM

I don't excuse anybody's membership of the NSDAP either, but in hindsight it is of course easy to judge (as some in the Swedish press seems to be doing). Sadly, mr. Sommerlath didn't have a crystal ball in 1934, so he couldn't see that his party would be responsible for the worst crime in human history. Of course there were many who didn't see that either but who still didn't support the party. The economic success blinded many voters of the NSDAP, and when they realised that things were going wrong it was too late. It isn't right but the motives can be understood, they are not unsimular to the same reason why many voters in Western Europe are turning to populist anti immigrant parties right now.

And indeed, you can not hold Queen Silvia or any of her siblings responsible for the actions of their father. Although it seems that the Swedish headline Boris' mentioned is more concerned with the Queen downplaying her fathers role. Something which also happened in my own country when many were rather cynical about princess Máxima's defence of her father (deploring the regime but believing her fathers lies).

nascarlucy 11-30-2010 07:37 PM

You can't hold Queen Silva responsible for her father's actions. That's very unfair.

I knew two German women who are now in their early 80's who grew up during the Nazi era. One was a child, the other was a toddler when Hilter came to power and was a teen-ager when World War II ended. They told me that what the Nazis did was never discussed before, during or after the war ended. It was very taboo subject and not something you would ask your parents or your teachers or any other adult. The whole topic was swept under the rug because of what one might find when looking for answers.

A lot of this had to do with survival and fear. Even when these women opened up, they were very guarded.

LadyFinn 05-15-2011 03:57 AM

Queen Silvia and the family Sommerlath have launched an investigation about Walther Sommerlath´s activities in 1930s - and '40s.
The informationschef of the court, Bertil Ternert, will be interviewed at TV4´s program "Kalla fakta" today.
He tells that the Queen together with family Sommerlath has launched a fact-finding regarding Walther Sommerlath´s operations in Brazil and Germany in 1930s - and '40s. The inquiry has lasted several months and it is not decided when and how the results will be presented. The aim is to present the material at some point in autumn 2011.
Drottning Silvia och familjen Sommerlath undersöker Walther Sommerlaths verksamhet under 1930- och 40-talen - Pressrum - Sveriges Kungahus
Drottningen inleder egen granskning - Nyheterna.se - Sveriges nyhetskanal på nätet - nyheterna.se

Biri 05-15-2011 04:20 AM

It has to be painful for them (for Queen & her brothers)...
It's widely known that some of prominent Nazis found shelter in Brazil.

nascarlucy 05-15-2011 07:49 AM

Sometimes the truth (whatever it may be) can be very painful. Usually the truth comes out in one way or another.

LadyFinn 05-15-2011 01:43 PM

Forskar i sin fars förflutna | Nyheter | Aftonbladet
Egen utredning om pappan - Sverige - Sydsvenskan

Esmerelda 05-15-2011 05:29 PM

Yes, better the truth come from them straight out and at once than being played out and potentially twisted by the media to maximize sales.

Duke of Marmalade 05-16-2011 08:31 AM

German media is interested in the topic
Recherchen: Königin Silvia erforscht väterliche NS-Geschichte - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Panorama

Of course Queen Silvia is not responsible for what her family has done during Nazi rule but unfortunately there was the impression that she always tried to sweep the topic under the carpet instead of being upfront. What she is doing now should have been done years ago.
Silvia represents a country and the citizens have the right to know about the past. Its not about passing on a judgement on the Queen herself, its not her issue but her fathers.

grevinnan 05-16-2011 10:05 AM

Perhaps this is the time for all the royal houses and all politicians in high positions (they also represent the people and at times the respective country) to investigate and make public their previous generations involvement and actions during the Nazi times.

There are lots more skeletons rattling around in Europe than I believe will come out of this investigation by Queen Silvia and her family. And lots of well to do families not in public positions will also find out where their wealth originated.

NotHRH 06-14-2011 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grevinnan
Perhaps this is the time for all the royal houses and all politicians in high positions (they also represent the people and at times the respective country) to investigate and make public their previous generations involvement and actions during the Nazi times.

There are lots more skeletons rattling around in Europe than I believe will come out of this investigation by Queen Silvia and her family. And lots of well to do families not in public positions will also find out where their wealth originated.



No matter the outcome of the investigation, the controversy will remain an issue. The purpose of the investigation is for naught - HM the queen is simply not responsible for members of the Sommerlath's family member's past actions. What would result if Walter Sommerlath was indeed found 'guilty?' How would this outcome change actions committed so long ago? (I am in no way supporting the followers or leaders of the third reich of Germany in the 1930's and the 1940's.)

ursulajohanna 06-29-2011 10:36 AM

In which city/town live the brother of the queen, Walter Sommerlath?

Karisma 07-01-2011 01:28 AM

Plausibility
 
I hope that none of us should have to answer for what our parents did, or did not do, before we were born, and that our children will not be liable for the acts we did before they were born ...

Boris 08-09-2011 05:12 AM

Today, Queen Silvia presents the research results of her privately financed investigation into her father’s past, his purchase of a previously Jewish owned factory and his Nazi membership.
The first in a series of detailed interviews of the Queen with ‘Göteborg Posten’, in google English:
Google Translate

In a remarkably thorough and open approach, the full report of the investigation was published on royalcourt.se in several pdf files in Swedish, German and English (also including the CB of the professional historian employed to do the research):
Undersökning om Drottningens far, Walter Sommerlath, publiceras - Sveriges Kungahus [NS4 version]


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