Rockelstad and Hermann Göring
Eric von Rosen had made himself known as a pioneer in Swedish aeronautics after
his crossing the Baltic Sea during the Finnish War of Freedom in 1918. Later on he
sometimes used aeroplanes for transports in Sweden and abroad. This was the case
the 21st of February 1920, when he had been in Stockholm and needed urgently to
go to Rockelstad. The trains were all cancelled due to bad weather, so the Count
went to the small airfield in Stockholm. The Swedish pilots were unwilling to
head out in the snowstorm that late, but a German former fighter-pilot, Hermann Goring,
Carin Göring on German postcard
Eric and Goring flew through the snow-storm towards Rockelstad; they flew low
along the railway until they reached Sparreholm, where they turned south across
the lake and landed on the ice below Rockelstad. They tied the plane to the
steamboat jetty and the two freezing men went in to heat up in front of the
fireplace in the Hall. Countess Mary's sister, Carin von Kantzow, was visiting
this weekend, and when she came down the stairs Goring immediately fell in love.
When Carin and Goring started seeing each other in Stockholm it caused a scandal
in the high-society, for Carin was married and had a young child. The pair moved
to Germany later that year, where Goring soon leaned about a group of
revolutionaries in Munich; Hitler and his henchmen, who had started with
demonstrations on the streets.
Goring soon travelled to
Hitler, who welcomed the national war hero into the party. Goring became a
trophy that the Nazis could use to gain popularity with the masses. His noble
background and social talent also made him the perfect ambassador for the Nazis
among the upper classes.
Carin and Goring's romantic
love-story was soon exploited by Goebbels massive machinery of propaganda, and
the couple was toured around the nation to boost popularity. Carin, who became
the First Lady of the Nazis, was especially celebrated. But she did not live to
see the atrocities committed in the 30ies, for she died of a weak heart in 1931,
before Hitler gained power.
But even after death she remained a mascot of the Nazis, who had a booklet printed
to commemorate their Swedish Saint, in a gigantic edition. Goring even had a room
in his Berlin flat arranged as a shrine to Carin. During the thirties Goring
maintained close connections with his Swedish relatives, and the Count and Countess
often went on visits to Germany.
Carin Göring as young
Görings estate Carinhall a little bit north of Berlin. It was build as memory
of Carin, and blown away by Hermann Göring in the end of January 1945 when the Russians came.
Eric became something of an unofficial diplomat in the relationship between the Reich
and Sweden. When the Swedish government out of a fear for diplomatic complications
could not receive a high-ranking Nazi, they asked von Rosen to be the host. In Sweden
the Count's pro-German opinion was well known, but he did not actively spread Nazi
propaganda in the country, nor did he have a role in any of the national Nazi-parties.
After Hitler's invasion of Denmark and Norway, Eric von Rosen wrote in the press to
calm the Swedish people. He maintained that Goring's strong love for the country was
a guarantee that it would not be invaded. But privately Eric could not accept that
the brother-peoples had been attacked, and when Hitler started his crusade against
the Soviet Union, he understood that Hitler was a megalomaniac, and that Germany was
to lose the war. Towards the end of the war he renounced Hitler and Goring altogether.
Göring arrives from Germany to Rockelstad Castle and lake Båven. Picture possibly taken
in the summer of 1933, when Eric and Mary von Rosen’s youngest daughter Birgitta
was getting married
About the Swastika
Eric von Rosen found swastikas on a Viking rune-stone on Gotland, where he went
through high-school. This seemed to him a typical Viking symbol, and as such it
held great appeal to the nationalistic young Count. The Vikings used the swastika
as a symbol of light and happiness. When Eric was preparing for his first
expedition, the one to South America in 1901, he had swastikas painted on his
crates and luggage, to separate them from those of the other participants. This
way of choosing for oneself a personal emblem or token of luck, was common and
fashionable at that time. During his travels among the descendants of the Inca
in Bolivia, he was surprised to see how often their textiles were adorned with
swastikas, and realised that this was a universal symbol that had been used by
many cultures all over the world.
When he started
rebuilding at Rockelstad the next year, he used the symbol as a decorative
element everywhere in the house. They are easily spotted in the ceiling of the
Great Hall, where they are painted green on a red background. The Hall was
finished in 1903. When he planned his spectacular hunting-lodge in 1910, the
architect Tengbom was commissioned to design a group of furniture in Old Nordic
style, decorated with carved swastikas.
The aeroplane that von
Rosen bought in 1918, to support the Finnish fight for independence, was
painted with large blue and white swastikas on its wings before it was
delivered to General Mannerheim. The symbol then became the emblem of the
Finnish Air Force and remained so until sometime during World War II.
The first plane of the Finnish airforce arrives to Vasa in Finland the 6:th of mars 1918
It seems like a strange coincidence that Hermann Goring came to Rockelstad before
he met Hitler or even heard of the Nazi movement. Could Goring, who apparently took
a great deal of interest in Eric's personal symbol of luck, have brought the swastika
from Rockelstad to the movement in Munich?
We are not of that opinion. The background of the Nazi cross is probably a different one,
where some sources claim that it emanated from DAP (Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) and later NSDAP - With all the
distastefulness it thereafter is associated with.
Several individuals who have researched in Hitler's notes claim
to have found sketches of swastikas from as early as 1919. And besides, swastikas were
quite abundant in Germany from the late 19th century on; it had been used by the
nationalistic Volkes-movement as well as a logo for several companies, e.g. ASEA.
There are also several differences between the von Rosen sign and the Nazi swastika.
Von Rosen usually placed his sun-crosses in a circle, so that the arms of the cross
are curved and it forms a circle itself. The Nazi swastika is tilted so that it stands
diagonally, and it has straight arms even when it is confined by a circular field.