Queen Silvia slammed for 'flawed' Nazi probe

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Queen Silvia slammed for 'flawed' Nazi probe

Sweden's Queen Silvia was reportedly "shattered" following an investigative journalism report criticizing the findings of a probe meant to clear the air regarding her father's Nazi connections.


After Queen Silvia posted an updated version of a 2010 investigation into her father's Nazi past on the Royal Court website on Monday, TV4 documentary series Kalla Fakta (The Cold Facts) on Wednesday slammed the Queen's probe, saying the investigation was flawed.

”We can show point by point that there are pure inaccuracies to the Queen's investigation. Everyone is responsible for writing history. Even Silvia,” said Johan Åsard of Kalla Fakta in a statement.

In the wake of the new TV4 report, staff close to the Royals told Aftonbladet that they are worried about the Queen's reactions to the latest developments, as she has reportedly suffered greatly from the whole affair.

That the Queen is taking the whole incident badly was also confirmed for the paper by Roger Lundgren, previous editor of Queen magazine and expert on the Swedish royal family.

”The Queen has told me that the worst part of it has been the feeling that TV4 has made her father sound as one of the biggest crooks in Germany,” Lundgren told Aftonbladet.

The Queen began her probe after a slew of reports had claimed that her father, Walther Sommerlath, who died in 1990, had joined the Nazi party in 1934.

In 2009, the TV4 series reported a widely rumoured story that, upon his return from Brazil as part of the so-called Aryanisation of Jewish assets in Germany in 1939, Sommerlath took over a factory which was owned by a Jew.

Silvia reacted angrily to the revelations in the documentary and replied with a private letter of complaint to Jan Scherman, who was general manager of the television channel at the time.

She denied her father was ever politically active or even in the military.

Sommerlath had also continued to deny membership in the Nazi Party up until his death.

In 2010, the Queen's own investigation showed that her father had conducted a business deal with a prominent Jewish businessman whereby he took over his company in Berlin in 1939 and so facilitated the man's emigration to Brazil from Nazi Germany.

"I have searched in the Brazilian and German archives and found that my father and Efim Wechsler made an agreement on the factory in Berlin and coffee plantation in Brazil," Queen Silvia told Göteborgs-Posten in August last year.

According to the Queen, it was her father's transfer of the plantation, and three plots in São Paulo in 1939 that made it possible for Wechsler to move to Brazil. Wechsler had already in 1938 been urged by the authorities to leave Germany.

But Ingrid Lomfors, researcher in history at Gothenburg University and one of the experts on the TV4 show which aired on Wednesday this week, criticized that fact that the Queen's investigator – Erik Norberg – has a connection to the Royal Court.

Norberg is a history scholar and used to be the director general of the National Archives, but he is also the secretary of the The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Kungliga Vitterhetsakademien), the board of which the King the Queen and Crown Princess Victoria serve as honourary members.

Lomfors also criticized the fact that Wechsler and Sommerlath were described as equals in the Queen's investigation.

”They had a business transaction, that much is true, but to make it sound as if the two parties were meeting in a good deal, that is almost to falsify history,” Lomfors said to Aftonbladet.

But the Royal Court repudiated the criticism, claiming the Queen has done everything in her power to clear her father's name.

”Erik Norberg is one of the foremost scholars in his field. The Queen and her family have delivered all the facts they have been able to find. It is facts that Norberg presents. We feel that it is the interpretation of these facts that TV4 differ from us on,” Bertil Ternert, Royal Court spokesperson told Aftonbladet.


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