Has anyone ever met reenactors?
They’re usually a completely harmless bunch of enthusiasts, doing in the field what wargamers have been doing on tabletops for years.
People are always going to be fascinated with WW2 including the Waffen SS. I know fully about the atrocities, the deliberate policy of genocide and the political ethos of the Nazi regime (I include the Germany Army in this) but we do not have to always go into paroxysms of self-righteous fury over a bloody hobby!
Do we accuse Civil War reenactors for the Confederacy as secret racists who wish for the return of slavery? No, because we MAKE a separation between the hobby and the event.
The reenactors recreate in the field military engagements. It’s not my cup of tea but it is theirs and they enjoy themselves.
If you ask yourselves why Americans reenact the Eastern Front, then maybe this is because their fathers, grandfathers or great-grandfathers fought the Nazis and this is part of honouring that memory.
If you’re going to go the whole hog on this, then condemn ALL WW2 reenactors who wear Wehrmacht uniforms because the German Army was as guilty as the Waffen SS of war crimes. I would suggest reading David Glantz, Omar Bartov (though I disagree with some of his methodology) or looking for Niklas Zetterling’s work since 1990 on the Eastern Front.
To address the Mengele issue, I would first point out that only a tiny proportion of war criminals were ever investigated, convicted or punished for war crimes: Mengele happens to be one of the more notorious.
Second, he was in the unit for about a year and was wounded in combat. It is not very significant given that he was already a committed Nazi and that if he hadn’t conducted those experiments in Auschwitz, then another committed Nazi doctor would have.
So how is the fact that this political candidate for the Republican Party in Ohio actually relevant? Has anyone checked Rich Iott’s history? I doubt it.
On a cursory glance, he was unable to fight in Vietnam because of a heart murmur and was a leading member of Ohio Military Reserve for 28 years. This fuss has arisen because of two factors:
1. He’s a grass-roots Republican (or Tea-Party if you prefer). That makes him a “nasty right winger”.
2. The Democrats are running scared of the elections. A nice little PC controversy like this is to be expected.
This is a storm in a tea cup besides being simply ridiculous.