A new book details the deep ties that Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the Ikea furniture chain, had with Nazism.
Elisabeth Asbrink, author of ‘And in Wienerwald the trees remain’, claims that Kamprad was not only an active recruiter for the fascist Sweden's Socialist Union (SSS) party, but also remained close to Nazi sympathizers long after the end of the Second World War.
Kamprad had previously admitted only that he had flirtations with Nazism in his youth, but dismissed that activity as stupidity and the greatest mistake of his life.
The Swedish billionaire wrote in his own autobiography in 1988 that he was close friends with Per Engdahl, a leading Swedish fascist and was a member of his ‘New Swedish Movement’ between 1942 and 1945.
Asbrink’s book suggests a much deeper involvement.
She alleged that in 1943, when Kamprad was only 17 years old, Sweden’s security police established a file on his activities and determined that he had some sort of functionary position in a Nazi youth organization.
Ironically, that was the same year he founded Ikea.
Why then didn't he tell us that he was a member of the worst Nazi party, and that the police found it serious enough to create a file on him? Asbrink told media.
She also claims that Kamprad’s relationship with Engdahl lasted at least into the 1950s and likely beyond.
In a 2010 interview, Kamprad reportedly told Asbrink: Per Engdahl is a great man, and I will maintain that as long as I live.
In response to the allegations, a spokesman for Kamprad said [now] there are no Nazi-sympathizing thoughts in Ingvar's head whatsoever.
Ironically, Asbrink’s book also describes Kamprad’s close friendship with a young Jewish refugee who worked on his family farm and then helped him develop the Ikea concept.
[Kamprad] came from a background where it was normal to speak badly about Jews, but when he met Otto [the Jewish refugee], they became the closest friends, she said.