Ober­lan­der’s story doesn’t add up

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION - RE: Hel­mut Ober­lan­der and jus­tice (Aug. 3)

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

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