Anni-Frid Lyngstad – Today, Life Story, Biography, Pictures
Anni-Frid Lyngstad popular known as Frida Lyngstad, was one of the four members of the Swedish group ABBA. Also known as Princess Reuss, Countess of Plauen, Anni-Frid, she is a Norwegian-born Swedish pop singer. Her father was German while her mother was Norwegian and she has been residing in Switzerland ever since 1986.
Frida Lyngstad was born on November 15, 1945, in Bjørkåsen, a little hamlet in Ballangen, northern Norway, to a young Norwegian girl and a German soldier, Alfred Haase just after the end of the Second World War and the German occupation of Norway.
Just like Frida, there were as many as 14,000 children borne out of liaisons between Nazi soldiers and Norwegian women. Offspring were produced by RSS chief Heinrich Himmler’s Lebensborn (‘fountain of life’) plan to produce a race of blond-haired Aryans. Special homes were established throughout Germany and its occupied places in Europe, including Norway; where SS officers had intercourse with selected women. Frida was the product of one such affair.
.In 1943, three years after Germany attacked Norway, a 24 year old Nazi sergeant Alfred Haase who was posted to Ballangen was taken by the sight of the beautiful 18 year old Synni Lyngstad. Ballangen is a little town, 20 miles from the Narvik Port, where the SS had set up the Lebensborn stud home was built. Haase wooed Lyngstad with a sack of potatoes that was scarce in wartime Norway. One thing led to the other, and the two became intimate and had a physical relationship.
Haase later told Synni that he was married. He later said in an interview, “’The war meant the conditions were different. For many of us, it was a matter of living for today – tomorrow we might be dead.” The affair lasted till 1945 and then Haase was asked to come back to Germany with a pregnant Synni remaining behind in Norway. They never met again.
Synni was subject to ridicule and insults for having slept with a German man. Enough of taunts and ridicule, Synni and her widoed mother Agny (Arntine Lyngstad ) left Norway to come to Sweden. Agny left first and Synni followed her mother two years later. Though Synni took the job of a waitress to take care of her family, she didn’t live long. She died of kidney failure at a young age of 21, when Frida was just 2 years old.
Little Frida was brought up by her grand mother and had a disturbed, lonely childhood. She recalls, “’I didn’t have many friends. I thought everything about me was wrong – that there was nothing about me that was worth loving.”
Frida was told that she was the daughter of a German solider who had drowned when the ship sank en route to Germany. When ABBA was at the pinnacle of success, Frida came to know that her father Haase was actually alive. He had settled at Stuggart with his wife and two children, shortly after war. His niece who was a huge ABBA fan, read an interview in which Frida said that she was the illegitimate child of a German solider Alfred Hasse and showed it to her uncle, who came to terms that this famous female icon was actually his child.
Haase then met Frida at her palatial home, with a bouquet of flowers and what followed were hugs and tears from both sides. They went over their old pictures and realized how similar they were. An emotionally overwhelmed Frida said, ‘It’s like my entire background is coming back, flowing over me. It’s only now that the tension has been released – the other night, I lay awake crying for several hours.”
For the singer, however it it was not easy to connect with her father and also the trauma of being a Lebensborn child writ large on her personality. She said: ‘It would have been different if I’d been a child. But it’s difficult to get a father when you’re 32 years old. I can’t really connect to him and love him the way I would have if he’d been around when I grew up.’
Father and daughter parted in 1983 never to meet again. Though she had seen much professional success and had to deal with the breakup of ABBA, there were major setbacks in her personal life which did not seem to take leave of her.
Always a romantically vulnerable person like a mother, Frida then 16, fell in love with Ragnar Fredriksson, a salesman and fellow musician and married him on April 3, 1963. They had two children Hans Ragnar (born January 26 ,1963) and Ann Lise-Lotte (born February 25,1967). The marriage did not work and the couple separated in 1969, to be officially divorced on May 19, 1970. On the same day, Frida’s grand-mother Agny, passed away at the age of 71,
On 3 April 1963, at age 17, Frida married salesman and fellow musician Ragnar Fredriksson. They had two children: Hans Ragnar (born 26 January 1963) and – 13 January 1998).They separated early in 1969 and were officially divorced on 19 May 1970. On the very same day, Lyngstad’s grandmother, Arntine, died, aged 71.
In Febaruy 1969, Lyngstad met Benny Andersson, the pair had similar tastes in life and fell in love with each other. The couple were engaged in August, the same year but did not marry till October 6,1978 when ABBA was enjoying high popularity. Three years into the marriage, the couple separated in February 1981; they were officially divorced in November, the same year. ABBA broke up in 1983.
In 1982, Frida left Sweden and moved to London. 4 years later, she relocated to Switzerland and lived with her boyfriend, Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss of Plauen at his family castle in Fribourg. Frida was now a happy woman, as she became a grandmother, with her daughter Ann Lise-Lotte, bearing a son named Jonathan.
Frida married Prince Reuss in August 26, 1992, The prince who had two daughters from his previous marriage, the twins Princess Henriette Reuss and Princess Pauline Reuss (both born June 2 1977, Oslo, Norway). Tragedy struck when Frida’s daughter Ann died of injuries from a car accident in Livonia, New York, USA on January 13, 1998. Frida’s husband Prince Reuss died one year later (1999) from lymphoma. Since her husband was friends with the reigning king of Sweden, she became friends with the Swedish royal family and found a best friend in Queen Sylvia.
The immensely gifted woman, Frida Lyngstad has seen a lot of triumps and major tragedies in her life. The failed reconciliation with her father, the disbanding of ABBA, the later setbacks left her in a state of depression but this strong woman has braved them all. Her father Alfred Haase who died in 2009 was quoted as saying, : ‘It is my daughter’s life – what she chooses to do with it is up to her. I had an affair and I had a child, but this was all such a long time ago, when I was young and the world was in flames.: ‘I didn’t know she would be traumatised or anything. And I know nothing of this Lebensborn group. What she does is up to her. More, I cannot say.’
Frida had a troubled childhood but was lucky enough to come to Sweden, where she attained heights of success as one of the faces of the most influential musical group in history. Unlike so many Lebensborn children, who were branded with a Swastika and were denied education and work, she managed to do well in life, thanks to the efforts of her grand-mother and her mother.
Frida now lives a Greta Garbo-like life in seclusion in Zermatt, Switzerland, refusing to talk about her past, especially about her birth. She has immersed herself in charity work, especially environmental protection. When asked, if she would return to ABBA, Frida said that she had no interest, whatsoever to return to pursue a music career.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad Pictures