• Sweden edition
 
STATELY HOMES AND CASTLES
Secluded Swedish castle reveals hidden Nazi past

Secluded Swedish castle reveals hidden Nazi past

Published: 06 Oct 2011 13:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Oct 2011 13:54 GMT+02:00

Over the centuries, Sweden's mystical Rockelstad castle, located in the province of Sörmland in eastern Sweden, has been a magnet for international visitors—including Nazi leader Hermann Göring who turned up regularly in the interwar period.

On his first visit, the notorious Göring landed at Rockelstad’s private jetty in a seaplane on during a nighttime snow storm in 1920.

My own beeline to Rockelstad was more roundabout.

In the spring of 1968, I alighted in Sweden during my first foray into Europe and boarded a pokey overnight train chugging from Malmö northwards. It wasn’t easy to sleep with the glimmerings of dawn at around 1am as we ambled across the somnambulistic landscape.

I finally nodded off until early morning when we disembarked for a long stopover.

I wandered around the train platform aimlessly until spotting a fellow passenger, pert and pretty. I decided to exchange a few words with her.

“Hello, do you speak English?” I asked.

“Yes, I do,” replied Astrid von Rosen. “And what a shame there’s no place to have breakfast.”

I told her it felt bizarre hearing birds chirping at one in the morning. “Yes, I do understand,” said Astrid.

“Sweden is a strange country, you know. Take me, for instance. I live in a castle.”

“Do you really?”

“Yes, I really do!”

I told Astrid I had turned up in Sweden to reunite with my Swedish girlfriend whom I had gotten to know in the States.

“Well,” she said, “perhaps the two of you would like to visit me at Rockelstad? That’s the name of my castle. Would you find that interesting?”

A few days later, my Swedish girlfriend Lisa and I bussed to Rockelstad, near Sparreholm in Sörmland.

Astrid was waiting for us at the red-brick edifice of towers and turrets, sort of medieval but sometimes not. Although the foundations were laid around 1380, the “medieval” turrets were built as late as 1889 as a salute to Nordic romanticism.

Moments after we entered the Great Hall, I couldn’t help noticing painted swastikas here and there. It turned out they had nothing to do with Nazis. The swastika was a Viking symbol that made its way into several cultures.

 

“But then there’s Göring,” remarked Astrid as we moved into the huge castle kitchen for an omelet lunch.

Hermann Göring was a World War I fighter pilot and war hero before embracing Nazism, ultimately rising to second in command after Hitler.

 

His Rockelstad connection occurred during the rugged winter of 1920, years before Hitler came to power.

Astrid’s grandfather Count von Rosen was in Stockholm but needed to return to his Rockelstad property urgently. Trains had been cancelled because of the weather, so he drove to the airport to find somebody to fly him home.

 

German commercial pilot Hermann Göring was available–and stepped forward. During the storm Göring and the Count flew low along the railway line and landed at the Rockelstad jetty on icebound Lake Båven.

 

The two men were thawing out in front of the fireplace in the Great Hall when the Count’s sister-in-law, Carin von Kantzow, came down the stairs. According to some accounts, Göring was immediately attracted.

 

But Carin was married: and her subsequent affair with the handsome war hero scandalized high society until her divorce and marriage to him.

They moved to Munich, briefly, but had to flee Germany after the botched 1923 Nazi “beer hall” putsch led by Göring and Hitler.

The Görings then spent several years of “exile” in Sweden where he was temporarily cured of morphine addiction, and also learned Swedish.

 

Never in good health, Carin died of heart failure at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Göring and Hitler led the funeral procession in Berlin in 1934 that honored her as “First Lady of the Party.” Göring continued to visit Rockelstad as a friend of old Count Rosen. Reichmarschall Göring became No. 2 Nazi after Hitler, and was convicted of crimes against humanity in the Nuremburg war trials in 1946. He swallowed a cyanide capsule two hours before his execution.

All of this was a very long time ago, of course, and only an interlude in the life of an old castle. Astrid’s father was a fervent anti-Nazi and humanitarian, and over the years Rockelstad has drawn a constant stream of visitors, ranging from oil sheiks and film stars--and ordinary folk like me.

 

I caught up with Astrid von Rosen not long ago after a 43 year interval. She had much to recall. Astrid thought the very best aspect of castle life were the constant visitors.

“Of course we had plenty of rooms which made it easier, and the castle also served as focal point for our extended family,” she recalled.

The lakeside setting itself is a huge draw. It was a boyhood haunt for Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf The celebrated Swedish troubadour Evert Taube loved Rockelstad and turned up regularly.

As a private residence now owned by the von Post family, the castle is not open to the public except by appointment, but does cater to special occasions such as weddings and conferences.

Accommodations can also be rented, along with row boats for a spin on the nearby lake where Göring’s seaplane frequently landed.

Related links:

Roger Choate (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

10:09 October 7, 2011 by Åskar
That is not a castle. It's a stately house, manor or whatever.
01:45 October 8, 2011 by Allen VanHouse
Thank you, Askar. You are correct, absolutely correct. As correct as the British castle expert who invited a local up to a grassy knoll to ask where the closest castle was. The local said, "Miles away!" Later, the expert chuckles as he reports the poor ignorant man was standing ON a Saxon castle. They were made of wood, you see, and the only things left were the moats and mounds. Give Ms. von Rosen a break, Askar. She's talking to an American. What do we know of such things? How can they get tourists to show for Rockelstad, the stately house? Plus at the top of the article is "Stately Homes and Castles". I wish to hell I had known of Rockelstad the one and only time I visited Sweden. To meet Astrid von Rosen in her stately home would have been the treat of a lifetime.
13:34 October 8, 2011 by GLO
Let me add to this, people love to know little pic's of history. Rockelstad is history.
09:54 October 10, 2011 by DAVID T
Great article - I will for sure now visit castle
13:22 October 11, 2011 by Roger Choate
A fine autumn day like this is just perfect for visiting a gorgeous castle
Today's headlines
Interview
'The concept of race is a slippery slope': Ullenhag
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

'The concept of race is a slippery slope': Ullenhag

Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag tells The Local why he plans to remove the term "race" from all Swedish law, how he responds to his critics, and why Sweden must steer clear of xenophobia. READ  

Sweden's tourism figures on the rise for 2014

Sweden's tourism figures on the rise for 2014

Tourism in Sweden is on the rise, with the first half of 2014 seeing a boom in visiting figures for both domestic and foreign tourists. READ  

Northern Dispatches
How I tackled northern Sweden's savage insects

How I tackled northern Sweden's savage insects

Ex-Londoner Paul Connolly has just survived a northern Sweden heat wave. But it wasn't the high temperatures that were the real problem, he recounts. READ  

What's On in Sweden - Pride Parade

What's On in Sweden - Pride Parade

Saturday marks the Stockholm Pride Parade, the biggest event of Pride Week (and the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia). Here's what to see and where to be, as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities for the weekend. READ  

Railway fatalaties on the rise in Sweden
File photo: Carl Dougge/Flickr

Railway fatalaties on the rise in Sweden

Even though Sweden's Traffic Agency has drastic plans to reduce the number of people killed by trains in Sweden, a new report shows that figures are on the rise. READ  

Woman finds Ikea bags stuffed with 80 skeletons

Woman finds Ikea bags stuffed with 80 skeletons

UPDATED: A woman in southern Sweden is furious after stumbling upon scores of skulls and human bones inside Ikea bags in a church. The man who dug up the bones, however, says it's not as bad as it looks. READ  

Swedish Wikipedia jumps to second biggest

Swedish Wikipedia jumps to second biggest

There are now more Swedish Wikipedia entries than any other language in the world, besides English. And there's one Swede who's largely responsible. READ  

Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police
The aftermath of the attack in Seved, Malmö on July 6th 2014. Drago Prvulovic / TT

Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police

Police in southern Sweden have concluded that a man who was beaten with an iron pipe for hanging an Israeli flag in his window was not a victim of a hate crime. READ  

AstraZeneca hikes earnings outlook
Photo: Claus Gertsen/TT

AstraZeneca hikes earnings outlook

After fighting off a fierce takeover bid from Pfizer, Swedish-British drugmaker AstraZeneca raised its 2014 earnings outlook and posted rising second quarter sales on Thursday. READ  

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Stockholm demonstration against Israel
National
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
National
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Society
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching
Gallery
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »

 

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Society
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
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

735
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
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
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