Two sons of high-ranking Nazi officers spoke about their fathers’ role in the Holocaust in an interview with Jewish writer Philippe Sands at the Southbank Centre in London last week.
While journalist Niklas Frank was quick to condemn his father, Hans, whom he last saw in a Nuremberg prison cell before he was hanged, Horst von Wachter defended his father, Otto, who was said to “specialise” in the extermination of Polish intelligentsia. He was named a war criminal, fled to Italy and died in 1949.
Mr von Wachter implied that his father was forced to carry out actions that he would not otherwise have done.
“For me, it is impossible that [my father] would have done it,” he was quoted as saying in the Times. “I cannot say my father was a criminal. I love him. It was all [protocol]. You have to understand the system.”
“[He] resists compelling evidence that show’s [his father’s] involvement,” interjected Mr Frank.