Friday, December 10, 2021

Willem Sassen was a Dutch collaborator with the Nazis who ended up becoming a Nazi reporter and a colonel in the Waffen-SS.

He was held in a British prison camp after the war but managed to escape and hide in various places after the war. In 1947, his girlfriend gave birth to a daughter, Saskia, and later that year they escaped Europe with many other Nazis, SS members and collaborators to hide in Argentina. 

He became famous for interviewing Adolf Eichmann in 1957, before he was discovered and captured by the Israelis. He was friends with Eichmann, and the mass murderer visited Sassen weekly. Sassen had hoped to write a book of Eichmann's memoirs where Eichmann would deny the Holocaust, but Eichmann was proud of his role and the book never got written. Sassen sold the recordings to Life magazine in 1960, which claimed it did not know he was a war criminal.

Sassen was also a colleague of Klaus Barbie in Argentina.

His daughter Saskia grew up with Eichmann visiting her home, although at first she didn't know who he was. She would have political discussions with her father:
At home, Sassen didn’t hide his political views from his precocious daughter. Father and daughter discussed the war, politics, things that weren’t taught in school. Saskia Sassen proclaimed herself a Communist at age 12. “We were like two little titans having a lot of political debates,” she says. “When it came to politics, we disagreed completely. And he was part of my political education, clearly.”

Saskia became a professor of sociology at Columbia University with a very good reputation. 

At least one part of Sassen's thinking made it through to his daughter, though: a hatred of Jews.

While the elder Sassen wanted to deny the Holocaust to discredit Jewish survivors, his daughter agrees that Jews are overly powerful and evil and should be boycotted:

Sassen signed a statement, published on August 12, 2014 by “American Muslim organizations, academics, Imams, community leaders and activists" who wished to “affirm our unequivocal support for Palestinian rights to freedom and dignity while forcefully condemning the illegal and oppressive occupation structure."

Signatories of the petition wrote that “The Israeli aggression against the civilian population of Gaza has surpassed all levels of brutality and cruelty" and went on to “Support the BDS Campaign to end occupation."

In December 2010, Sassen authored an article in which she described Gaza as “a site where Israeli forces can experiment with modes of urban warfare given the fact of occupation and control over most of the means of survival of the Gaza people. In the process it terrorizes a whole population."

She went on to charge that Israel “has done just about all that is conceivable to destroy it and demoralize a people."

On November 10, 2004, Sassen appeared on a panel at the University of Chicago (U of C) titled “Examining National Identity: Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Future of the Middle East."

In an article chronicling the event, it was reported that Sassen walked out in the middle of the panel, outraged that her co-panelist suggested that Israel is disproportionately criticized by the United Nations.
The horseshoe theory of antisemitism has a great mascot.

(h/t Martin D)

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