Putting together IKEA furniture is hard enough for people who go out and willingly buy it, knowing later they’ll be gazing adoringly at the affordability of it all while digesting meatballs. But it would be much worse to be say, an East German political prisoner forced to manufacture the stuff before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Independent says a new documentary airing in Sweden claims that IKEA used prisoners from the formerly communist East Germany to make its products, aided by the Stasi secret police.
SVT, the broadcaster airing the documentary, says its investigators found evidence in Stasi files showing that East German political prisoners were directly involved in IKEA’s manufacturing process in the 1970s and 1980s.
“We are taking this matter very seriously,” IKEA spokeswoman Jeanette Skjelmose was quoted as saying. IKEA is going through its own investigation, she said, adding, “So far there are no indications that we would have asked prisoners to be used in manufacturing or known about it.”
A German public television channel aired a documentary last year that there were at least 65 workshops in East Germany alone that were used for manufacturing IKEA products, and that there were several prisons where inmates were used to make furniture. IKEA said after that documentary that they’d found no evidence that prisoners were part of that manufacturing process.