Monday, 6 December 2010

Second part of documentary on Walther Sommerlath’s Nazi past

The second part (external link) of Swedish TV4’s investigative documentary on Queen Silvia’s father Walther Sommerlath’s connections to the Nazi party was broadcast last night. Whereas the first part was able to document a closer connection than what was known until now, the second part did not have much to add.
In the first part we learned that Sommerlath, who joined the Nazi party while living in Brazil in 1934, took over a factory owned by a Jew, Efim Wechsler, as part of the arianisation process following the Kristallnacht and that this contributed to the war industry. The factory was destroyed in the 1945 bombings of Berlin.
In the second part the documentary makers set out to discover what subsequently happened to Wechsler, which proved difficult. It turned out Wechsler escaped to Brazil, where his only child lived, in 1939 and died there in 1962.
His daughter died childless in 1990, leaving her estate to Jewish assocations and friends. One may thereby conclude that there are no descendants of Wechsler who might consider claiming damages from the heirs of Walther Sommerlath, who also died in 1990.

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