• Sweden edition
 

Ikea used East German prison labour: report

Published: 02 Sep 2011 18:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Sep 2011 18:12 GMT+02:00

During the 1970s, Ikea developed a strong manufacturing presence in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), establishing operations in 65 locations across the country to produce parts and furniture, according to a report by German public broadcaster WDR.

Citing documents taken from the Stasi archives, the broadcaster found evidence of deep cooperation between Ikea and East German authorities.

According to the Stasi files, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad stated that, while he had no official knowledge of the use of prison labour, if it did indeed exist, “in the opinion of Ikea it would be in society's interests”.

One factory, where Ikea's popular Klippan sofa was produced, stood beside a prison in the town of Waldhiem.

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

And Hans Otto Klare, who was imprisoned for trying to flee East Germany, told WDR of miserable working conditions at a factory in Naumberg where Ikea fasteners and hinges were produced.

“Our team of workers lived in the upper part [of the factory], where the windows were covered. In the lower part of the building were the machines,” he told the broadcaster.

“The machines were like this: they had no proper seats, no hearing protection, no gloves. It was even more primitive than conditions that already existed in the GDR economy. It was slave labour.”

In an interview, Sabine Nold, a spokesperson for Ikea in Germany, told the programme she had no comment on the revelations.

On the day the programme was broadcast in early Auguest, Ikea also issued a statement claiming they hadn't found any evidence of prison labour, but was nevertheless sorry if it did indeed occur.

The report came just prior to the publication of a new book by Swedish journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink, entitled "And in Wienerwald the trees remain" (”Och i Wienerwald står träden kvar), which includes revelations that Kamprad was more active in Swedish Nazi circles than previously known.

Among other things, Kamprad is believed to have actively recruited new members to Sweden's main war-time Nazi movement the National Socialist Workers' Party (Svensk Socialistisk Samling - SSS).

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

19:15 September 2, 2011 by Grokh
if sweden is gona complain about stuff like this then they have to also pursue fanatic religious people no matter their religion... i see no difference between a nazi saying racist stuff and a muslim saying racist stuff and a christian saying racist stuff. They are all "political views" if one is defended then they have to all be, or heres a good idea get rid of all their lunatic asses ;D
19:47 September 2, 2011 by Tysknaden
Yes. After WW 2, Eastern Germany became a Russian hostage. It became the real-socialist paradise named "GDR" :-(

@Grokh: All this has nothing to do with races.
06:53 September 3, 2011 by sjuttiosjusköterskorpåsjukhuset
Mr. Kamprad is so old. The 1970s and '80s are long ago. Can we just move on with REAL news? I realise that it's important to learn from history so that mistakes are not repeated, but this is sensationalist journalism, nothing can be substantiated or proven.
07:30 September 3, 2011 by Decedo
Yeah it did happen a long time ago (...but the '70s and '80s aren't that long ago), and IKEA can try and plead innocent by forgetting and not finding evidence in their records, but blood money is still blood money.
12:35 September 3, 2011 by rybo1
Maybe IKEA should use Swedish prison labour.
09:30 September 4, 2011 by calebian22
There doesn't need to be an agenda. Justice doesn't always have a convenient timetable.
11:53 September 4, 2011 by Tysknaden
@tompaine: To break the national pride. To weaken self defense - making Sweden easier game. It is some kind of education. And money; it's about money, too.
20:50 September 4, 2011 by jack sprat
@tompaine

They are being pointed out right now because most of the world knew very little about these things at the time they happened and the ones who did know obviously didn't care.

The media no longer have any major nazi war criminals to pursue so lesser evils such as kamprad can now be considered fair game
22:41 September 4, 2011 by Tysknaden
@jack sprat: Kamprad is an importent and prominent figure of business. Ikea is a national symbol.

Those informations about Kamprad have been on ice for a special use. This day of use has come: Education and punishment of Swedish voters. Warning to other important persons with a stained past. The next election result shall be different. So a little shock has been placed in the media. A bigger shock amongst many smaller ones.

Do you really think, the intelligence services of several modern countries did not know about Kamprad's and Ikea's history? - For so many years?

With the same methods Germany has been made a lapdog and the EU money torrent for many years.

Buying the politicians and brainwashing the voters.
09:06 September 5, 2011 by rise
I wasn't even aware of this being a secret? Because already when I was a small child in the 1970's I was being told that prisoners are making IKEA-stuff..!
09:41 September 5, 2011 by isenhand
Isn't this just good business? Making profits?Just looks to me like the free market in action at its best. Don't we all want such wonders of the free market?
09:57 September 5, 2011 by Tysknaden
@isenhand: In this case the slaves have been made and delivered by socialists. And stop, please, using computer and Internet; both are products of the free market.

Oh! - And free speech... is only possible in countries with a free market.
10:32 September 5, 2011 by isenhand
@Tysknaden

And that's what I was getting at. Both a free market and the socialist system of Eastern Europe both produce human suffering one way or the other (look at the tramps and beggars in Stockholm for example) Both justify the suffering one way or the other. Both as bad as each other. Nether the drive towards a free market nor the type of socialism implement last century are the way to go.

And no, free speech is not only possible in countries with a free market, that's a non sequitur.
12:30 September 5, 2011 by Tysknaden
Not non sequitur in history and in practical daily life.
12:48 September 5, 2011 by isenhand
@Tysknaden

Its a non sequitur because it does not follow that just because you see freedom of speech only in countries that have free markets that only freedom of speech can only occur in those countries that have free markets. For example, you have no idea of any future system that might occur that doesn't rely on a free market but still has freedom of speech. Also, we have not had many place that have implemented a real free market anyway. A few examples would include Somalia and Singapore in its early years and those places did not have much in the way of freedom of speech.

Have a look here:

http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/johnquiggin/news01/CIS0109.html

" Freedom of speech, in universities, public spaces and elsewhere, is ultimately incompatible with privatisation and unfettered freedom of action for corporations. "
13:11 September 5, 2011 by Tysknaden
@isenhand: I am not that much into spiritismn and religion.

And the future will bring only slavery and death.
02:01 September 6, 2011 by waffen
There could be Rovism plants from the United States on this blog to keep up the same level of disinformation that pollutes the blogs in the United States.

Isenhand's last comment hit the nail on the head with his quote, because the University system in the United States follows the Powell Doctrine whereby the Corporate Oligarchy in the United States is hand-in-glove with the University system, to the point that the only thing that matters is the freedom of action for coporations to drain the Universities of talented people who keep the Oligarchy fat, rich and happy,

That is especially so under the present scheme of Republicans now in power who are doing everything in their power to thwart the United States President and to hold the working people down,

The only religion that the quote represents is that of the Republicans like Limbaugh, Rove, Nyquist, and those others both in and out of government, like Cheney and Fife, et al, of that crowd. who began the Depression in the United States under policies that kept them rich.. .
Today's headlines
VIDEO: All Saints' Day
Halloween 'boosts' All Saints celebrations
Photo: Cecilia Larsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Halloween 'boosts' All Saints celebrations

The advance of Halloween as a popular holiday in Sweden has increased the popularity of All Saints' Day, contrary to fears when the US-inspired celebration first emerged in Sweden. READ  

Politics
Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

The Swedish government has been criticized by a slew of organisations for omitting a series of notorious cases of discrimination and a general lack of self-criticism in its report to the UN Human Rights Council. READ  

Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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 Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

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

935
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN