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'Ikea founder was an active Nazi': report

'Ikea founder was an active Nazi': report

Published: 24 Aug 2011 08:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Aug 2011 17:07 GMT+02:00

The Swedish security police tracked Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's membership of a Swedish Nazi movement in the 1940s, one of the revelations of the business leader's Nazi past revealed in a new book.

Sveriges Television journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink's book "Och i Wienervald" (literally: And in Wienervald) furthermore reveals that Kamprad was active in recruiting to Sweden's main war-time Nazi movement the National Socialist Workers' Party (Svensk Socialistisk Samling - SSS).

The book also details how the 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad's movements were of sufficient interest to the Swedish security police in 1943 that his involvement was mapped in a security police file, leading to further questions about his links to the Nazis.

Åsbrink claims in her book that the predecessor to the Security Service (Säpo), Allmänna Säkerhetstjänsten ('Public Security Service'), steamed open young Ingvar Kamprad's letters and were thus able to establish his role in recruiting new members.

"It is a little odd that Ingvar Kamprad has not himself come out with this information. He has said that he wants to tell, and to say sorry," Elisabeth Åsbrink told SVT's Aktuellt news programme on Tuesday.

Åsbrink's book establishes that Kamprad's links to the SSS and far-right leader Per Engdahl continued long after the end of the war, and after the horrors of Adolf Hitler's regime and the Holocaust became known.

Kamprad was, for example, present at Per Engdahl's wedding in the 1950s, writing a letter at the time in which he expressed his pride to be part of the 'nysvenska' circles", referring to the nationalist movement founded by Engdahl in the late 1930s.

A spokesperson for the Ikea founder said on Wednesday that Kamprad was unaware that Swedish security services had files detailing the time he was active in the Nazi movement.

“But it's not that strange, that was Säpo's job to keep tabs on people on the right and left side,” Kamprad spokesperson Per Heggenes told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

“It confirms only one thing – that Ingvar time after time has told about the biggest mistake of his life and apologised to all involved 20 years ago.”

According to Heggenes, Kamprad hadn't seen the SVT report himself.

“But it's clear he hopes he can put this behind him. It's not fun to be reminded of it again and again – when he's been open from the beginning about it and apologised."

Heggenes doubted that the new details would have a negative impact on Ikea, however.

“It doesn't affect its image in any way. Everyone who knows Ikea knows that it's a multicultural company which practices a multicultural strategy,” he told TT.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:12 August 24, 2011 by StockholmSam
If you want to get filthy rich, at some point you have to step on the backs of others.
10:19 August 24, 2011 by Tysknaden
Many millions of people already expected something like this :-)
10:49 August 24, 2011 by eppie
You could sort of tell when you read their building instruction leaflets.
11:07 August 24, 2011 by Taxlady
This has been public news for years. Now another journalist who wants recognition thinks they found something new? Oh give us a break! So many Swedes were sympathetic to Germany and had close ties 70 years ago but hey, move on folks.This Ikea guy has done more for Sweden economically through employing people and so forth. Let it rest.
11:13 August 24, 2011 by burito
just another baloni...the war is long time over,everything is setled,who cares anymore?seriosly.For same the nazis were the bad guys,for others the comunists, for milions of armenians,bulgarians and southern slavs there is turks to blame,and so on and on...
11:32 August 24, 2011 by Rick Methven
I do not expect it will stop people buying from IKEA
12:07 August 24, 2011 by Jes
@burito , if no one cares anymore , what are you here for ?

@Rick Methven , this is not about buying or not buying from IKEA. Finding out and comfirming that artist X is /was a padophile is not the same as saying that his/ her music will not sell or be listened to .
12:39 August 24, 2011 by cowboykodp
"Nysvenska" ??? Hmmm

I thought Sweden was the perfect country before the Muslims, Middle Easterns, and Eastern Europeans came here.

Waddup SD and their disciples? Seems like your kind of propaganda has been around for a long time.

As far as Kamprad, I am sure he has grown up a lot from the time he was 17 years old.

The only people that hold hate in their hearts are ignorant, hopeless, jobless, uneducated people. Again, much like SD and other right wing nuts.

Success somehow seems to reveal to yourself just how idiotic your bigoted views really were.
13:12 August 24, 2011 by Scambaiter
No, it hasn't been "public news for years", Taxlady.

There is a huge difference between a "sympathizer" and an "activist". The latter implies active support.

But whether he still holds Nazi sympathies now is another matter.

PS...notice that you haven't criticized Kamprad for not paying his share to the taxman in Swden...rofl.
13:46 August 24, 2011 by GLO
WOW!!!! Get over this, all 17 year olds do dumb things. Sweden invited the Nazi Govt to lunch, dont throw stones if you live in a glass house.....
13:58 August 24, 2011 by conboy
So much for the old canard of no racism in Sweden prior to the arrival of immigrants one of the SD's favourite myths! On the other hand like a lot of mouthy patriots his patriotism should begin at home by paying his fare share of taxes like I an immigrant am forced to do. As for his furniture? I have seen and sat in better!
13:59 August 24, 2011 by flintis
@cowboykodp #I thought Sweden was the perfect country before the Muslims, Middle Easterns, and Eastern Europeans came here.#

!!!!!!!!! It was !!!!!!!
15:25 August 24, 2011 by cowboykodp
@Flintis

Can I assume then you are an SD, Nazi loving supporter?

You too, along with the rest of your buddies will be accountable for your racism, bigotry and hatred in due time, in this life or the next.

Good luck.
15:45 August 24, 2011 by skumdum
This is old news.
16:29 August 24, 2011 by RobinHood
Mc McCarthyism was repugnant when it was conducted by - well, the repugnant Senator McCarthy. All that "Are you now, or have you ever been etc …" Åsbrinks' hysterical "revelations" of envelope steaming bring those bad old days to mind.

It's very sad when the only way some journalists can find a story is by regurgitating very old news about a very old man, who has already admitted and apologised for his dreadful youthful indiscretions. Doesn't Åsbrink have anything better to do? How about a similar investigation into the current owners of Saab? Now that might be worth a look Elisabeth, and actually useful!
18:00 August 24, 2011 by jack sprat
While much of this is old news I still find it quite surprising that most Swedes prefer to bury their heads in the sand or else dismiss it as though it never happened.

The fact that he was still an active Nazi and proud of the fact, long after their attrocities had been fully exposed I still find very surprising if not shocking.

It is also painfully obvious that his attempt to try and renounce his actions only when his business was under threat of collapse really doesn't wash.

It seems to be the opinion of many who have studied his more recent actions that it is a very thinly veiled smokescreen and the leopard still hasn't changed it's spots right up to the present day.
21:28 August 24, 2011 by Haubits77B
Kamprad is part-German! His Grandmother was a German refugee from Sudentenland (today a part of the Check Republic) - and those Germans was the greatest loosers after "The great war".. NO wonder that he became a Nazi!
23:10 August 24, 2011 by Smallnose
I am surprised i thought he had communist sympathies: affordable furniture for all and letting third world countries share in progress by providing them labour for the children.
23:17 August 24, 2011 by johnny1939
Kamprad was 17 years old for god's sake!!!!!! Who cares?He is not a nazi now. Everybody was looked at in those years by the police my own mother was chastised for saying nasty things about the Germans ..somebody had complained.
01:41 August 25, 2011 by jack sprat
@ johnny1939.

Only "17yrs old for gods sake",.... yet still a Nazi many years later and proud of it, long after all the attrocities came to light.

Somehow I'm not inclined to take his word or yours for it,especially as the only reason he publicly denounced his membership was to save his company and his bacon.

"Åsbrink's book establishes that Kamprad's links to the SSS and far-right leader Per Engdahl continued long after the end of the war, and after the horrors of Adolf Hitler's regime and the Holocaust became known.

Kamprad was, for example, present at Per Engdahl's wedding in the 1950s, writing a letter at the time in which he expressed his pride to be part of the 'nysvenska' circles", referring to the nationalist movement founded by Engdahl in the late 1930s."

As I said there is no good reason to believe the leopard has changed it's spots even today, but quite a few signs still point in the other direction.

If full knowledge and awareness of the holocaust hadn't changed his views, I very much doubt anything else would.
03:55 August 25, 2011 by Jan Svenson
Just what I expect, there is always a cruel hatred of all things different when dealing with power hungry people.
11:44 August 25, 2011 by spy
The Swedes were all collaborators, not like the brave Norwegians.
11:53 August 25, 2011 by Jes
Another lie surely . Kamprad has NEVER been 17 !
18:58 August 25, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
Damn, now I'll have to send my Ikea table back. LOL!!

There were lots of Nazi sympathizers in Sweden during WWII, particularly at the start of the war. Many switched sides as the war progressed - some when they heard of the atrocities being commited by the Nazis and others only once they realized Germany was going to lose the war. It's all in the past now and this was old news.

My father and two uncles served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII and they have no grudge with this today. Let it go people.
19:08 August 25, 2011 by spy
Smiling Canuk

The Swedes didn't switch sides (as you suggest) - they collaborated throughout the entire war and did not take a stand like the brave Norwegians. The shame will be forever theirs.
22:47 August 25, 2011 by ollibolli
Spy: The norwegians, danes and finns didn't have a choice. Besides, Sweden helped them as well in different ways.

Training resistance groups, sending food, weapons and volunteertroops to Finland.

Sweden also helped jews to flee from Denmark, Raoul Wallenberg saved jews in Hungary and so on.

And who cracked the germans codes as to when and where they would be stationing troops? Sweden

Sure, they traded with the nazis, but it was either that or being invaded and not being able to do a darn thing. Obviously it would have looked better in the history books if Sweden had suffered the same fate as its neighbours but they were able to stay out of the war, somewhat help alot of people and in the same time earn some money from it.

Look at the finns btw, they worked with the nazis to throw out Russia, or Quissling who tried to make Norway a nazi-country. No country is perfect. You adapt to the situation, and try to make the best of it.
00:33 August 26, 2011 by jack sprat
Which country was it that even arranged a secret bank loan to help the Nazi war effort ?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1146462/Revealed-How-neutral-Sweden-secret-loans-Nazi-Germany-WWII.html

Surprise,surprise.
00:43 August 26, 2011 by wxman
What hypocracy. Stainless steel and other items critical to the German war effort? Please, stop.
10:32 August 26, 2011 by spy
ollibolli

Your quote: 'Sure they traded with the Nazis, but it was either that or being invaded and not being able to do a darn thing' is the stock Swedish answer but the fact is that it did not make a stand with the rest of Europe but chose to profiteer from the war - The shame will always be theirs...
15:08 August 26, 2011 by Yunis
I always believed that as Western forces are causing great damage in Muslim countries, Westerners have no right in complaining about Muslim immigration. Muslim immigration does not cause crime as much as 'white' Western forces cause heinous crimes in Muslim lands. If Westerners don't like Muslims in their countries, tough luck because they're the bad guys.
15:51 August 26, 2011 by swengelsk
Ikea , Sweden royal house , Its popular to be a nazi uper clas . . .
16:49 August 26, 2011 by Roy E
World War II ended and the scores were settled a long, long time ago.

You people sure are slow on the uptake.
17:59 August 26, 2011 by rufus.t.firefly
It seems the point is that Kamprad is a liar and hypocrite, for what it's worth. When he admitted involvement with Nazis, he described it as a "brief flirtation" or something to that effect, when it can more accurately be described as a lifelong commitment.

His personal hypocrisy does seem analogous to that of the Swedish establishment and ruling class when it comes to the stories that have been told of those years versus actual facts that have surfaced since.

It is important to have an accurate historical record. One can always attempt to justify, deny, or distort, but facts are stubborn.

What difference does it make now? The facts are there for anyone too see.
18:27 August 26, 2011 by MarshaLynn
There is so much anti-semitism and hatred of Israel going on today that frankly I see no difference between Nazis and those who currently harbor so much hatred for Israel today. There is plenty of that sickness in the world, including a great deal in the USA. It is very disturbing. And please don't say it's because they stole Palestinian land. There never was such a thing as Palestinians, nor land belonging to Palestinians. That is a contrived story that American and other Western liberals are only too happy to be propagandized by. Never mind the truth.
18:20 August 27, 2011 by zoroastrina
Jack Sprat could eat no fat.

His wife could eat no lean.

And so between them both, you see,

They licked the platter clean. I like the name Jack Sprat.

Well, I as a philosopher and sociologist will never admire the likes of Martin

Heidegger, who never apologized for his extreme moral lapse

and Seinsvergessenheit in embracing Nazism as das Schicksal des deutschen Volkes except in a densely veiled way by acknowledging his

having been "auf dem Holzweg". The great Richard Rorty stated that Heidegger could not be forgiven for that. I am no admirer of Kamprad or Kampfrad, the combat wheel. Das "Rad der Geschichte" cannot be turned back, to erase

the blotch on Kamprad's life' narrative.
20:43 August 27, 2011 by motti
#26 / spy.

virtually every country in europe and the Islamic world collaberated weith the Nazis during WW". Brave Norwgians, yesm but do you mean quisling, the police, the Norwegian Nazis? Do yuo mean the large organisations like Fred Olsen, Storbrand and Den norske Creditbank and many others who profiteered by their trading with Germany? What about Ford, and Kennedy in America? King Edward of Britain? So the list can go on...... and on..... and on.
05:03 August 28, 2011 by jomamas
Leftist propaganda.

The Nazis were just 'the Germans' back in the day, no doubt ethno-nationalist, but not the evil party we knew that put people to death in death camps.

The Nazis became truly evil when we found out about the gas chambers etc.

So, a 17 year old Swede caught up in a nationalist ideology is not a big deal.

If the founder of IKEA actually thinks we should be putting Jews into gas chambers - well then you have a story.

If he publicly states that he supports what the Nazis did - then you have a story.

If you found out he turned in Jews to be killed, then you have a story.

But you have none of that - and don't have a story.
22:46 August 29, 2011 by Catarin
What's done is done, and I bet the old gent has already punished himself more than anyone else could.

Quite a long time ago I read about a reunion former Nazi soldiers attend where they drink and sing and express their love for the fatherland. This seems idiotic, but they do it. This group will soon pass from history, thank g-d.
10:09 September 1, 2011 by sjuttiosjusköterskorpåsjukhuset
This man is in the "winter" of his life, leave him alone. I think WW2 was a matter of "survival of the fittest." Sweden played her cards right: highly skilled at playing both sides, knowing when to get involved, not involved, or staying on the "middle way" (sounds like my abusive childhood), then in the end, coming out unscathed and at an economic advantage way above the rest of war-torn Europe (unfortunately, unlike Sweden, the end result of my abusive childhood was not unscathed.)
20:21 September 5, 2011 by waffen
You can dig forever, and always come up with some dirt.

In the United States, there is a town in NW PA that once was the carbon center of the world, and that mostly German ethnicity town had corporate owners who were still doing business with the SS as late as 1942, even as the United States was fighting a war with Germany, and people from that town and the county were dying in the air, on the ground and on and under the seas in combat.

Kamprad was a 17 year old kid,. What do you want next, to have him hounded until he is 98 by other factors who do the same?
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