Mike the Mad Biologist

In Ohio’s ninth congressional district, Republican voters have nominated Rich Iott, a wealthy businessman, who has an interesting hobby: he likes to dress up as a member of the Waffen SS, which were Nazi Germany’s elite and ideologically motivated shock troops. Here is how Iott’s play-date buddies describe the Waffen SS (italics mine):

Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

This is sounds very familiar to anyone familiar with apologists for the Confederacy.

You know, the ‘Neo-Confederates’ who claim that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, even as the adopted Declarations of Causes of Secession begin with the issue of slavery. Well, alright, they’ll admit, it was kind of about slavery, but they were fighting for the ideal of states’ rights and their freedom to determine if African-Americans would be chattel.

Keep in mind, Rick Iott is not just some guy off the street, he is a Republican congressional candidate. Yet what he is doing is no different from the Neo-Confederates who are welcomed into the Republican Party, if quietly. It only seems crazy because it involves Nazis, instead of secessionist slave holders. But the form of the apology is identical–and equally reprehensible.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua
    October 11, 2010

    Yeah, ok. My first reaction on hearing this story was, “Well, the guys cosplaying the 81st Airborne need somebody to pretend to shoot at, right?” But the detailed apology for how the Nazis were just valiantly defending a Free Europe from the Hideous Specter of Communism? That’s some grade A bullshit right there.

  2. #2 Onkel Bob
    October 11, 2010

    This topic came up on Balloon Juice, and a commenter noted, how many 50 y.o. men put on clothes they don’t want to wear? I know a couple of scientists for whom it would take an act of Congress, and perhaps supernatural forces, for them to don a tie, let alone a uniform. A 50 y.o. man playing dress-up?
    And don’t say re-enactors are performing historical inquiries or experiments. There are forensic historians, but they don’t dress-up in costumes and run around pretending they are something they are not. This is fantasy fulfillment, and this guy wants to be a Nazi, that’s all that can be said.
    Now mind you, he’s running against a 28 year resident of the village, so there was little chance he was going to win anyway. It also explains why the Republicans couldn’t find a decent candidate to oppose Kaptur. Here’s where the choice between two evils might just encourage people to stay home, and allow someone who is extremely evil to usurp someone who is simply evil. Fortunately the cat (or is that Oberfuhrer) is out of the bag.

  3. #3 film izle
    October 11, 2010

    Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the fo

  4. #4 rijkswaanvijand
    October 11, 2010

    National socialism was never quite popular in Holland.. They must have it confused with Friesland.

  5. #5 MikeB
    October 11, 2010

    Having got a little bit concerned about the various ‘reinactment’ societies that have popped up in the past decade here in the UK and the US, I was wondering when they would jump the shark and dress up as death camp guards. Now the Waffen SS isn’t quite that disgusting, but its not far off (‘my groups having a ‘Special Action’ this weekend dear, so I can’t do brunch with your parents’).

    Of course you don’t have to actually dress in the original uniforms to be scary. This website http://www.military-print.co.uk/british-freikorps-p-280.html will supply you with repro recruiting posters for the British Freikorps, as well as a mug with Waffen SS crests on it (for the Republican candidate who has everything), and of course the T-shirts with the unit crests of well-known SS formations.

    I’m not sure which is more worrying – the fact that someone thought that dressing up in SS uniform in public was a good thing, or that the Republicans thought that having him as a candidate was in any way a good idea. Still, at least he never dabbled in witchcraft….

  6. #6 Onkel Bob
    October 11, 2010

    @rijkswaanvijand, Not quite sure about that assertion. According to William Shirer, (don’t have the specific cite) but he records 2 million Dutch soldiers dying on the Eastern Front. (They had a rather horrific casualty rate, over 80% IIRC) Now he may be wrong, his thesis of Sonderweg isn’t all that credible, but on statistics, he was fairly accurate.

  7. #7 MacTurk
    October 12, 2010

    Onkel bob, rijkswaanvijand is correct, and your figures are hilariously wrong, not to mention impossible. The TOTAL population of the Netherlands in 1940 was approximately 8.8 million. By the end of the war in Europe, 205,900 Dutch men and women had died, and an additional 30,000 in the Pacific theatre. This latter figure, relative to population, represents a death rate of 2.36%, which is among the highest for those countries which took part in WW2.

    The generally agreed figure for Dutch participation in the Nazi armed forces(vast majority in the volunteer formations of the Waffen-SS) is a maximum of 25,000. They served mainly in the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland(which saw action exclusively on the Eastern Front) and the SS Volunteer Grenadier Brigade Landstorm Nederland(Belgium and the Netherlands).

    The Dutch Nazi Party(Dutch:Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland, NSB) membership peaked at 100,000. This was in 1941, after the occupying german government had outlawed all other parties and social organisations.

    I have no memory of reading anything by Mr Shirer, but either your recollection is mistaken, or he got it totally wrong.

  8. #8 Onkel Bob
    October 12, 2010

    mea culpa, old memories, distorted orders of magnitude. Probably the stat was total foreign troops in fighting for the Axis (may have even included Italy!) and not even casualties. Should have looked to Wiki first…