Republican Rich Iott Not Backing Down On Nazi Reenactments
Republican Congressional Candidate Rich Iott is continuing, bizarrely, to defend himself over the story of his involvement in a World War II reenactment group dedicated to a notorious Waffen SS Division:
Ohio Congressional candidate Rich Iott got grilled by Anderson Cooper last night on his rather unusual hobby of dressing up as a member of the 5th SS Wiking Panzer Division, a unit in the German army during World War II.
Iott defended the members of the unit, who he said “wanted to fight what they saw as a bigger threat to them than Germany,” so they joined up with the Nazis to fight the eastern front of the war against Soviet forces. “I don’t think we can sit here and judge that today. We weren’t there the time they made those decisions,” he said.
Iott called “what happened in Germany during the second World War one of “the low points in human history,” but defended the Wiking Division when Cooper referred to them as collaborators: “I don’t know that I would put that label on them. They were doing what they thought was right for their country. And they were going out and fighting what they thought was a bigger, you know, a bigger evil.”
Iott also contended that “this particular unit was one that was never charged with war crimes,” though Cooper pointed out that one member was recently charged with the murder of 58 Jews. Iott replied: “The war on the eastern front was extremely brutal on both sides. Nobody was lily-white, that’s for sure. Horrible things that happened on both sides.”
You can visit the Wiking SS website yourself, but I think it’s clear that Iott is either completely ignoring the history of the men he chooses to memorialize, or he’s not being completely truthful about his own feelings.