Ed Driscoll

Pay No Attention to the Man in the Iron Cross Hoodie

At Contentions, Alana Goodman asks, “Is a Nazi Memorabilia Collector Overseeing Human Rights Issues at the UN?”

Former Human Rights Watch senior military analyst Marc Garlasco, who resigned from the organization after his affinity for collecting Nazi memorabilia was discovered, is now working as a senior human rights officer at the United Nations, Israel Matzav reports.

Garlasco’s Nazi obsession — first reported by Omri Ceren — made the pages of the New York Times and the Jerusalem Post. Garlasco’s hobby seemed particularly relevant, as he had helped write numerous reports for HRW that were perceived as extremely biased against Israel.

In 2009, the Guardian reported:

It has now emerged that he is also an avid collector of German and American wartime memorabilia, including awards badges handed out to soldiers working in the anti-aircraft Flak units. He is the author of a 430-page book on the Flak badges of the Wehrmarcht, and a regular contributor to two internet bulletin boards used by military collectors under his moniker Flak 88.

Several pro-Israeli bloggers have latched on to Garlasco’s hobby, questioning whether it is appropriate for a human rights investigator involved in the Middle East. They have unearthed one blogpost in which Flak 88 writes: “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”

In another Garlasco is shown in a photograph [online here — Ed] wearing a jumper bearing an Iron Cross. A correspondent comments on the picture: “Love the sweatshirt Mark [sic]. Not one I could wear here in germany [sic] though (well I could but it would be a lot of hassle).”

Garlasco replies: “Everyone thinks it is a biker shirt!”

Still look, at the bright side. For the UN, this is actually a step up from Kurt Waldheim, who acquired his Nazi memorabilia first hand.