Kitchener-Waterloo Record | Thu., Jan. 10, 2002 | Susan Stark

Hunt the real criminals

For years I have watched the tennis ball that is Helmut Oberlander be hit to and fro, wondering if this game will end. After reading Bernie M. Farber's Jan. 7, 2002 letter to the editor, I had to write. For the past six months it seems the Canadian Jewish Congress is on a witch hunt, with a lit match under the stake to which Oberlander is tied.

Farber explains the actions of the Jewish council leaders in Nazi-controlled Germany by saying they feared for their lives, which I have no doubt is true. Yet he denies Oberlander the same courtesy. Given what we know about Hitler and his group, does Farber think a 17-year-old who dared say "no" to an order would be given a pat on the back and a fond farewell?

Maybe there are no documented cases of a member of an einsatzkommando being punished because either you did it or you quietly disappeared, as many Jews did? In Nazi Germany, most 17-year-olds probably did what they were told without question, regardless of who gave the order.

I think true war criminals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What they did was horrendous, and most did so wilfully, without regret. Oberlander is not a war criminal, unless I have missed something.

Susan Stark