Walther Sommerlath was back with his family in Germany. He now owned a factory, and bought a house in Berlin in the summer of 1939. Immediately afterwards, the Second World War broke out. It was not until 1947 that the family was able to return to Brazil. Queen Silvia's parents Walther and Alice Sommerlath came to Germany from Brazil in 1937 with their two sons, nine-year-old Ralf and four-year-old Walther. They lived in Berlin, where Walther Sommerlath took over the engineering company Wechsler und Hennig from the Jewish former owner, Efim Wechsler, in 1939. Wechsler received Sommerlath's coffee plantation and three plots of land in Brazil as payment for the company. With the Sommerlaths' help, Wechsler was able to escape to Brazil immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Walther and Alice Sommerlath remained in Germany with their children throughout the war. Their son Jörg was born in 1941, and Silvia was born in 1943. The family was unable to return to Brazil until 1947, almost two years after the end of the war. "I do not have any memories from that time, as I was so young," says The Queen. "Afterwards, nobody could bring themselves to talk about the war. I assume that this was because their experiences were so hard to deal with. And those who had not lived through the war found it hard to understand all those who had been affected."
Text: Britt-Marie Mattsson
Extract published with the permission of Göteborgs-Posten.
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