Record (Kitchener-Waterloo) | Jun. 28, 2004 | Henry Hawken
Letter to Editor

Read the history books

After I read Elisabeth Perrin Snyder's June 15 letter, Leave Oberlander Alone, I think she would do well to follow her own advice rather than dispensing it to Len Rudner and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Rudner's point regarding the findings of the Federal Court was that Justice Andrew MacKay ruled on a balance of probabilities that Helmut Oberlander of Waterloo lied about or misrepresented his war-time activities in order to get into this country. Like it or not, that is a fact.

Snyder would also do herself well to check her history on the matter of the "penalties" suffered by individuals who refused to participate directly or otherwise in the murder of Jews and other civilians.

Neither Christopher Browning in Ordinary Men nor Daniel Goldhagen, in Hitler's Willing Executioners ever found a single instance of an individual being executed for refusing to kill civilians. In the 1991 essay, Those Who Said "No!," David Kitterman stated there were at least 100 cases of refusal by soldiers, policemen and members of the SS. In most cases, there were no serious repercussions to their refusal.

As a veteran of the Second World War, I laid my life on the line to fight the evil of Nazism. I survived, though many of my comrades did not. It is a scandal and a shame to the memory of my friends, who never had the chance to compile a 50-year record of "exemplary citizenship," that Oberlander remains a citizen of this country.

Henry Hawken