The Nazi past of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of global home products company IKEA, was first revealed in the 1990s.
But these Nazi ties were not a temporary "teenage confusion", as Kamprad had claimed in the past, according to a new book described in a Stockholm News report Tuesday, but an ideology he continued to support long after World War II and despite his friendship and business relations with a Jewish man.
In her book, "Och i Wienerwald står träden kvar" (And in Wienerwald the trees remain), author Elisabeth Åsbrink writes about the life of Otto Ullmann, who came to Sweden from Vienna with a transport of Jewish children, and was placed with the family Kamprad.
There he became friends with young Ingvar Kamprad, who was active in the far-Right "Nysvenska rörelsen" (New Swedish Movement) and for a while also was very active in the purely Nazi party "Svensk socialistisk samling" (Swedish Socialist Unity).
During the war, the Swedish secret police prepared a file on 17-year-old Kamprad and labeled him as a Nazi. The file said he worked to recruit new members to the Nazi party, according to a letter he himself wrote.
Åsbrink claims that Kamprad’s relationship with the far-Right party and with its leader Per Engdahl continued long after the war, even when the horrors of the Holocaust became known to the world.
Engdahl was a guest at Kamprad’s wedding in 1950 and the IKEA founder even wrote him a letter, saying he was "proud to be part of the New Swedish circle."
At the same time, Stockholm News reported, the Jewish refugee Ullmann remained one of Kamprad’s closest friends and helped him build the global home products company.
Some information about Kamprad’s Nazi past was first revealed in 1994, when Engdahl died and his correspondences were published. Kamprad argued in the past that his attraction to the Nazis stemmed from his confusion as a teenager, and that he was in fact more of a fascist than a Nazi.
But according to Åsbrink, Engdahl’s party had a Nazi ideology, not just a fascist one. "The Jews are an alien element in the Western public body," Engdahl had written. In 1944, he referred to Hitler as "Europe’s savior".
According to the book, after the war Engdahl remained opposed to democracy, and even helped Nazis from Norway and Denmark evade trial.
Nonetheless, in an interview he gave to Åsbrink a year ago, Kamprad stated that “Per Engdahl was a great man. This I will maintain as long as I live.”