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Royal husband's grandad was anti-Nazi hero

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Royal husband's grandad was anti-Nazi hero
Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill at the baptism of Prince Nicolas Christopher O'Neill in November. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
12:53 CEST+02:00
The grandfather of Chris O'Neill, the banker husband of Sweden's Princess Madeleine, was a hero who put his life on the line to fight the Nazis and save Jews from persecution, Sweden's Expressen newspaper has reported.
According to documents in the Bavarian State Archives, published in Expressen, Otto Walter, a doctor in Nazi Germany, wrote out false medical certificates to help Jewish people avoid labour camps, and listened to Allied radio transmissions to help supply insurgents with information. 
 
The evidence of Walter's anti-Nazi credentials will come as a relief to Sweden's royals, who have recently faced uncomfortable revelations about the Nazi connections of Queen Sylvia's father, a German Brazilian businessman. 
 
“In Otto Walter's case, the certificates have a high credibility,” said Efraim Zuroff, the renowned Nazi hunter and head of Israel's Simon Wiesenthal centre. “They come from several different people, and they take up various aspects of his life and activities. Also his family background with relatives in concentration camps enhances his credibility." 
 
The papers include affidavits both from those helped by Walter and from insurgents who describe him as “a convinced opponent of Nazism”. 
 
“I confirm that Mr Dr O Walter, when I, who am 50% Jewish by blood, was about to be sent to labour camps by the Carlsbad Labour office, provided me with a medical certificate and taught me to simulate a severe disease,” a man named Wilfred wrote.
 
“In this way, and by further medical certificates, he protected me all the time from being sent to labor camps.” 
 
Wilfred also claimed that Walter had passed him and other activists news from Allied radio broadcasts. 
 
Albin Lohwasser, who wrote another of the affidavits, said that Walter had been a political opponent of Nazism. 
 
“As a Marxist and opponent of Nazis, I could discuss the political situation and the Nazi regime which I hated with Dr Walter as a like-minded party comrade,” he wrote. 
 
Otto Walter, a doctor from German speaking parts of what is now Slovakia, died of a heart attack in 1952 in Bavaria, where he is buried. 
 
Queen Sylvia's father Walther Sommerlath was accused of being an active Nazi in a documentary broadcast on Sweden's TV4 in 2009, which revealed how he had benefited from taking over a factory owned by a Jewish businessman. 
 
In 2012, Queen Sylvia confirmed that her own researches had confirmed that her father had joined the Nazi party as a young man in 1934, but she argued that he had taken over the factories as an exchange deal with the Jewish businessman, helping him and his family leave Germany. 
 
 
 
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