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NAZI

‘Ikea founder was an active Nazi’: report

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.

'Ikea founder was an active Nazi': report

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.

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IKEA

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.

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