Oberlander’s story doesn’t add up
This editorial says Helmut Oberlander “denies lying about his war record when he immigrated to Canada.” Well, what did he say? We know only what he has repeated again and again much more recently, that he was merely a translator while a member of a Second World War German killing squad and didn’t participate in killings.
Christopher Browning followed his earlier rigorous work in Holocaust history with “Ordinary Men,” a remarkable study of a German police-battalion killing unit. Browning names this German regime policy as a “blitzkrieg against the Jews.” Within killing units, writes Browning, “mass murder and routine had become one.”
But Browning shows clearly that choices were available, with known and relatively minor consequences, to the minority of those who demurred from participation in mass murder of civilians or in its support.
Yet, as Canadian courts have observed, Mr. Oberlander had, historically, failed to disclose even this purported wartime reticence of his. Shea Hoffmitz, Hamilton