Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion writes: “I’ve been joking for years that Ikea is part of some kind of fascistic experiment in social conditioning. And it’s probably true!”
According to a new book about Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, his youthful dalliance with rightwing Nazi groups is more extensive than he’s admitted in the past. Sweden’s intelligence agency actually set up a special file on him. From The Guardian:
Swedish author and journalist Elisabeth Asbrink says Kamprad joined the Swedish Nazi party in 1943 when 17, prompting the security police to start a file on him the same year.
Asbrink also claims in her book, And in Wienerwald the Trees Remain, that the founder of the Swedish furniture chain was in contact with Nazi sympathisers until at least 1950 – two years longer than he had previously acknowledged.
She writes that Kamprad’s letters were secretly opened by Swedish security police and their contents, including information about his effort to recruit members, were noted on his file, in which the police wrote “Nazi”.
“They were steamed open, copied and closed again,” Asbrink states.
The intelligence agency is also said to have noted that Kamprad “had some sort of functionary position” in a youth Nazi organisation that sent him newsletters.
Per Heggenes, a spokesman for Kamprad, told the Associated Press that the Ikea founder had never been aware of the file’s existence until now.
In 1999, Kamprad admitted his past involvement with Nazism in a book about his life and asked for forgiveness for his “stupidity.”
He also admitted to Swedish media that he had attended meetings of Nazi groups between 1945 and 1948.
Kamprad has attributed his early sympathies to Nazism to his upbringing, saying he was greatly influenced by his grandmother, a native of the current Czech Republic region of Bohemia, who introduced him to Nazi propaganda magazines at an early age.
In a statement, the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants demanded that an inquiry be opened into Kamprad’s past.
“Holocaust survivors are shocked at the reports of the depths of Kamprad’s Nazi involvement, which he previously had dismissed as mere ‘teenage confusion’,” it said.
“It is time for Kamprad to come clean. Swedish intelligence files describe his recruitment of others to the fascist movement and his involvement with it well after World War II. This can hardly be characterised as youthful confusion.”