Thursday, September 23, 2021

Helmut Oberlander, former member of Nazi Einsatzgruppe, dies

 When the story broke in 1995, the Toronto Star sent me to his house - he'd decamped to his condo in Florida, but the CBC found him there. One of his neighbours offered to let me set up cameras in a room that overlooked his house! He never gave any support in Canada to neo-Nazis, but I did go to his trial and some of the people in the court who seem to be there to support him definitely had pro-Nazi sympathies, verbally attacking some of the German witnesses as traitors. I sat with Professor Gunnar Boehnert , a Canadian Mennonite who spent the war years interned in Germany with his parents who were missionaries, and we heard some of the audience making some obvious anti-Semitic remarks in German. Einsatzgruppe is another one of those innocuous words that the Nazis used to disguise their actions - it sounds like it means an 'assigned task group' but they really were death squads that murdered Jews and others in occupied eastern Europe.

CBC story: Helmut Oberlander has died in Waterloo, Ont.

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