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New Book Reveals Dark Nazi Secrets in IKEA Founder’s Past

New Book Reveals Dark Nazi Secrets in IKEA Founder’s Past

Though it has long been known that IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad had Nazi ties during World War II, the extent of his involvement with the regime and political movement was a mystery…until now. Swedish author Elisabeth Asbrink has recently written a new book that uncovers Kamprad’s dark history of active and prolonged involvement with Nazis and other far right groups both during and after World War II.

The International Business Times explains that though Kamprad, one of the wealthiest billionaires in the world, “had previously admitted only that he had flirtations with Nazism in his youth,” his previous disclosures did not cover the extent of his involvement. According to reports, Kamprad was an “active Nazi recruiter,” whom the Swedish police identified as having “some sort of official position within the organization.”

His Nazi sympathies were not just confined to the war years, though. Kamprad’s native Stockholm Times reveals that for almost a decade after the war, he kept up ties with the Nazi sympathizing Swedish Socialist Union party, a fascist and anti-Semitic political party. Kampard said in 2010 that Per Engdahl, the head of the SSU, “was a great man” despite his history of anti-Semitic comments and calling Hitler “Europe’s savior.”

These revelations are undoubtedly disturbing, especially considering that IKEA has become one of the most successful companies in the world. It is so widespread that despite Kamprad’s Nazi past, IKEA has even spread to Israel (pictured above). Understandably, shoppers may not want their hard-earned money to go to someone who actively recruited for Nazis then stood by these view points for decades. Go figure.

It might be easy to throw up one’s hands in the air and say, “you can’t shop anywhere” in light of all of the corporate executives who hold offensive viewpoints or do objectionable things with their money. Indeed, this just serves as yet another important reminder about the pitfalls of buying from multinational corporations, where we don’t know where products come from or where the money goes. It’s often best to buy locally from small business, where one can get to know the owner and find out where his or her products come from.

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Photo credit: Just_Jane's Flickr stream.

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40 comments

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7:09AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

1:51AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

This makes me a lot less fond of IKEA.

4:12AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Oh now I get it, one of the two Ikea stores in Israel burnt down in February...(Nobody injured, it happened very early morning on a Saturday and the store was closed.)
Ah, but they said it wasn't arson, oh well.

1:58PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Not surprising. More than a few businesses have had founders that supported Nazis. Both Adidas and Puma shoes were founded by the Dassler brothers who were both members of the Nazi party.

Frankly, unless the current ownership are modern-day Nazis, I see no reason why this should be relevant today. It is interesting historically, and an example of how pervasive Nazi supporters were in both the States and abroad. Nonetheless, it is not a reflection of people's behavior today. Look back in your own family trees. I'm sure you'll find a murderer, slave owner, Nazi supporter, racist in your background. Does this make you any of these things? NO.

Judge a business by its actions today, not in decades past.

1:11AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:24AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

ok, sam, i'm not impressed: you contradict your own article: you said a Decades, then turned it into Decades. quite the difference. you also left out other information, easily found on the net. was it to slant our opinions into one direction - the one you chose?

meanwhile, from Wiki:

" Kamprad devotes two chapters to his time in Nysvenska Rörelsen in his book, Leading By Design: The IKEA Story and, in a 1994 letter to IKEA employees, called his affiliation with the organization the "greatest mistake of his life."[5] In 2011"

you figure it out.

i personally try not to buy anything that has a Made in China sticker, regardless of where it is sold. that is getting harder all the time.

9:29AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

It's not clear if the guy's still around. If he is, I say boycott IKEA. But otherwise, why boycott when so many other companies are still going strong, like Bayer, etc. Support local, small businesses when possible.

8:51AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

If this guy has a demonstrably reprehensible Nazi past, then maybe file charges and bring him to trial. You cannot, however, damn the company because its founder had a bad history decades ago.

Ikea has a perfectly respectable record as a company and always (since it appeared in this country, at least, back in the 80s) has done. Think about how many of Germany's leading industrial companies were implicated in forced labour during WW2. How many American companies or historical figures were involved in slavery? We don't think twice about dealing with them nowadays. Even the Pope had a slightly questionable history during the war, before he saw the light.

We need to concentrate on those companies guilty of wrongdoing now (such as Nestle, for instance), rather than worrying about ancient history.

1:34AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

not much news there. what I find interesting is how many US companies continued to do business in Nazi Germany, i.e. Coca-Cola-Fanta. The idea of neutrality in business is a bit odd. Then again, the idea of neutral countries is a bit odd as well. How many secrets are locked away in swiss vaults?

I'm not sure the Nazi connection is strong enough to stop people from shopping at IKEA (I'm guess 'no,' as this connection is not new), but there are so many other reasons. Perhaps the cumulative effect will change people's minds. How Wal-Mart is perceived as evil and IKEA is not is lost on me. An anti-union purveyor of cheap crap from China = An anti-union purveyor of cheap crap from China.

10:51PM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Michael R- so true,,,,

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What a great story. I love happy endings x

Or maybe we could leave it in peace - we're doing enough damage already!

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