It seems that often when I step into many of my friends and families homes I can’t resist the urge to tell them that I see a piece of furniture that I like. The answer I often get, “I bought it at IKEA”. They then usually turn to me and tell me how much they love IKEA and how their entire home is filled with IKEA items. This is usually the time when I tell them that I won’t buy from IKEA. And here’s why.
Between 1933-1945 Germany was ruled by one of the most brutal, murderous, sadistic governments this planet has ever seen. The rule of the Nazi party in Germany took the world down a path that led to the death of over 60 million people. Millions were murdered in genocidal fashion by the Nazis lead by their leader Adolph Hitler, including 6 million Jews from all over Europe. While this was taking place, many turned a blind eye. Even leaders that history has declared to be great men, such as FDR and Winston Churchill, may have known to a certain degree what was taking place but took no action. We may never know for sure what they did and did not know until the Nazi party was defeated in 1945. At that point in time however we do know that the word got out of what had taken place. The death camps, the gas chambers, the torture, the medical experiments, this all began to come out and become public knowledge in 1945. It was at this time that Ingvar Kamprad, the founder and owner of IKEA decided to begin attending pro Nazi meetings in his hometown in Sweden. Yes Sweden. Not Germany, not Austria, Sweden. Since the time I was old enough to understand the history, I have been clear on the difference between the German who was a nominal member of the Nazi party, and the German who was an active member of the Nazi party. I still think it speaks volumes that the United Nations chose, as one of its Secretary Generals, Kurt Waldheim, a man who not only should never have been head of a worldwide organization, but more than likely history would show as more likely to be a candidate for prosecution based on war crimes. He was not only an active member of the Nazi party, but an officer as well.
Nominal membership was all over Germany during the Nazi reign. A tide swept the nation and many became members out of fear or just the understanding that they had to fit in. There were the heroic few, such as former German Chancellor Willy Brandt, who actively resisted being part of the Nazi party because they understood what it stood for and had the bravery to stand against it. So had Ingvar Kamprad been from Germany, I might have looked at it differently. But, no, IKEA’s honorable owner is from Sweden. And in Sweden, to be a member of the Nazi party you had to look for it. You didn’t have to resist it, you didn’t have to fight it, you had to search it out. And to add fuel to this fire, this all took place between 1945-1948. 3 years after the atrocities began to become public. Mr. Kamprad refers to this as “the biggest mistake of my life”. Well a mistake that last 3 years is a long mistake. And although I see no evidence of him having done anything that requires prosecution, I for one, a son of Jewish Dutch holocaust survivors refuse to give him my money. For those of you who feel otherwise, it is not my place to make a judgment and I have no desire to do so. Just ask yourself if this is the kind of man that deserves to be made even wealthier from your hard earned money.