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.
Photo credit: Just_Jane's Flickr stream.