The Queen speaks about the report relating to her father, Walther Sommerlath, part 1
The Queen at Solliden Palace. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/Scanpix
The Queen has been interviewed in connection with the report that she and the Sommerlath family have initiated. Queen Silvia was shocked to learn that her father, Walther Sommerlath, had been a member of the Nazi Party in Brazil in 1934. Her brothers were also unaware of their father's membership of the party. The Queen did not know that her father had bought a factory in Berlin from a Jewish owner, who had not been permitted to keep his property by Hitler's administration.
During the past six months, The Queen has used private funding to search through archives in Germany and Brazil and the letters and papers left by her father, in order to obtain a complete picture of her family's history. A number of people have helped her to evaluate and supplement these materials, including former military archivist and Director General of the Swedish National Archives Erik Norberg, who is secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, and The Queen's cousin in Brazil, lawyer Alvaro Aguiar. The Queen has found a number of important and previously unpublished documents that help to clarify how the factory in Berlin came to be taken over. These documents show that the previous owner, Efim Wechsler, managed to escape from Germany thanks to a deal that was struck with Walther Sommerlath. He was given the Sommerlath family's Brazilian coffee plantation and three plots of land in exchange for the factory. This meant that he was granted entry to Brazil, and was able to emigrate immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War. Britt-Marie Mattsson has interviewed Queen Silvia at the Royal Palace and at Solliden on Öland, and has read the documentation which Göteborgs-Posten can publish exclusively. "I was not worried about what I would find when I started searching the archives," says The Queen. "I knew that I had no reason to be concerned."
Text: Britt-Marie Mattsson
Extract published with the permission of Göteborgs-Posten.
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