Walther Sommerlath

Carl August Walther Sommerlath (January 22, 1901 Heidelberg, Germany - October 21, 1990 Heidelberg, Germany), father of Queen Silvia of Sweden, was a German businessman, president of the Brazilian subsidiary of the Swedish steel-parts manufacturer Uddeholm. Expatriate member of the German Nazi Party 1934 - 1945.

Biography

Early life

He was born and raised in Heidelberg. Son of Louis Carl Moritz Sommerlath (1860 - 1930) and Erna Sophie Christine Sommerlath, née Waldau (1864 - 1944). In the mid 1920s, Walther Sommerlath moved to São Paulo, Brazil where he worked for the steel company Acus Roechling Boulerus do Brasil, a subsidiary in the German steel group Roechling. On December 10, 1925 he married Alice Soares de Toledo, in Porto Feliz, Brazil.

In 1938, Walther Sommerlath left Brazil and returned to Heidelberg. In 1939 he moved to the German capital Berlin. Between 1939 and 1943, Sommerlath ran a company in Berlin that manufactured arms to be used in the War. In 1943, Sommerlath’s plant was destroyed by allied bombs. Later that year, the Sommerlath family returned to Heidelberg, and the same year, Silvia was born.

After the War, in 1947 the Sommerlath family returned to Brazil, where Walther Sommerlath worked as the president of the Brazilian subsidiary of the Swedish steel-parts manufacturer Uddeholm. The family finally moved back to Heidelberg in 1957.

Nazi connection

Living as a German citizen in São Paulo, Brazil, Sommerlath joined as an expatriate member the German Nazi Party, NSDAP/AO on December 1, 1934, as member no. 3592030. His brother Paul Sommerlath had joined the Nazi Party in 1933. The Sommerlath brothers remained members of the Nazi party until the party was banned and dissolved in 1945.

Legacy

The whole issue of Queen Silvia’s father is very sensitive in Sweden. In 1976, when Silvia was to marry King Carl Gustaf, the Swedish daily Expressen interviewed Walther Sommerlath about his Nazi background. In the interview, Sommerlath denied that he had had any connections with the Nazi Party, saying that his only part of the War was his work at the arms factory in Berlin.

However, Sommerlath's membership card to the Nazi Party is preserved at the National Archives in Berlin, Germany. There are no signs on the membership documentation that Sommerlath on his own initiatives wanted to leave the Nazi Party, which was dissolved and made illegal by the allies after the War.

According to legal experts in Swedish constitutional law, the marriage between Carl Gustaf and Silvia would probably have been jeopardized had the details of Walther Sommerlath's eleven year long membership of the Nazi Party at the time been known to the Swedish Government.

References

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Porto Feliz (Portuguese: Happy Haven) is a municipality in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. As of 2004, The population was 49,915, the density was 89.5/km², the area is 557.98 km², and the elevation is 523 m.
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weapon is a tool used to injure, incapacitate, or kill an adversary.[1][2] Weapons may be used to attack and defend, and consequently also to threaten or protect. Metaphorically, anything used to damage (even psychologically) can be referred to as a weapon.
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Silvia, Queen of Sweden (born Silvia Renate Sommerlath Soares de Toledo on 23 December 1943) is the Queen Consort of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Sweden's monarch, and the mother of the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria.
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