Queen Silvia speaks out about father’s Nazi past
The Swedish Royal Court has published a six-minute video in which Queen Silvia comments on an investigation into her father’s purchase of a Jewish-owned factory in Germany in 1939.
The investigation, launched last year by Erik Norberg, the Director General of the National Heritage Board, has found that the Queen’s late father, Walther Sommerlath, took over a factory in Berlin from its owner, a Jewish engineer named Efim Wechsler.
Sommerlath, who joined the Nazi Party in 1934, traded part of a Brazilian coffee plantation and three plots of land for Wechsler’s factory in a deal that was part of the Nazi Aryanization policy.
At the time Jews in Germany were gradually robbed of their financial and civic rights. The policy eventually culminated in the Holocaust.
“What the Queen wants to say is that everything has now been done in order to find documents concerning these two families’ stories,” said royal court spokesman Bertil Ternert.
Ternert added that the six-minute video will be the Queen’s final comment on the matter.
The Queen and Norberg have researched historical archives in Germany and Brazil. Ternert said new documents have emerged in the process.
Those documents have been posted on the Royal Court’s official website along with the video and Norberg’s book “The Forgotten Documents – The Story Of Walther Sommerlath och Efim Wechsler”. The Queen has written the book’s preface and an afterword.
“With disgust and great sorrow I think of the inhuman and brutal ways in which the Jewish people were treated,” the Queen says in the video.