Flak88’s day job

You don’t have to be an obsessive collector of Nazi memorabilia to be a designated anti-Israel critic for Human Rights Watch, but it apparently doesn’t hurt.
Similarly, you don’t have be be a Nazi sympathizer to collect Nazi souvenirs, but the presence of “88” in your user name can’t help but raise a few questions.
Update: some readers say “Flak88” refers to an 88mm anti-aircraft gun. Maybe. But Garlasco still has some explaining to do.

19 thoughts on “Flak88’s day job

  1. Anon says:

    All is not always as it appears.
    Your comment that you don’t have be be a Nazi sympathizer to collect Nazi souvenirs is accurate because that would label as Nazis my grandfather and almost everyone else who served over in Europe for the allies . They all brought something home and now this stuff is in the hands of the families. I have a couple things in a box in my basement myself I am sure that if known about might label me as some kind of sympathizer as well.
    Reading the linked article it says that Garlasco wrote a book about German flak related awards so that might explain the 88.I think it would be a safe bet in this case that it refers to the famous German 88mm anti aircraft gun that was manufactured in the millions during the war. If his name was Mark88 I think you might have something but if it is Flak88 I think it has more to do with his hobby than anything else.
    I also noticed that the book is in his real name which shows me that he really is not trying to hide.

  2. SDC says:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to imply here; “Flak 88” is the common western name for the 88mm Flugzeugabwehrkanone (abbreviated as “Flak”, and used by both sides in that meaning), the primary large-calibre anti-aircraft gun used by the Germans during WW2 (and also used effectively as an anti-tank gun). Is “88” supposed to have any other meaning I’m not aware of?

  3. Anonymous says:

    If one collects coins it does not make him a banker, and if one collects stamps it does not make him a mailman so it is wise never to assume.

  4. Kursk says:

    The Flak 88 was indeed popular, but was produced in the many thousands, not millions..it was a highly complex and accurate piece of machinery, with its own telemetry and ranging system, gun carriage and ground mount.It took about two weeks at peak production to make one, and employed about 35 men for each example.
    Later versions simplified the gun carriage and mount and took 3 days off the production of this very labour intensive high velocity gun.

  5. Kursk says:

    BTW, Wehrmacht-Awards is a huge site that deals with the collecting of all types of German memorabilia, and research in general to that era..really quite fascinating..you will also find that some of the biggest collectors have been/ are Jewish..the famous collection of Third Reich daggers of the late Dr.Julian Milestone comes to mind..

  6. Kyle says:

    “A Nazi-memorabilia hobby sure is a strange one for a professional human-rights activist to have. Are there any senior staffers at PETA who moonlight as collectors of fur coats and leg-hold traps?”
    “The more we learn about Human Rights Watch, the more the mask slips. There is Sarah Leah Whitson, the intifada-era activist for Palestine and apologist for terrorism; Joe Stork, the radical leftist and anti-Zionist; and now Garlasco, the Nazi-memorabilia collector.”
    ( Re. Joe Stork…
    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2009/08/maariv-vs-hrw.html )

  7. Bruce Rheinstein says:

    “Is “88” supposed to have any other meaning I’m not aware of?”
    You mean other the freaking obvious? “Eighty-eight is used as code among Neo-Nazis to identify each other. H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, so 88 is taken to stand for HH which in turn means Heil Hitler.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_(number)

  8. sdc says:

    “You mean other the freaking obvious?”
    Do you mean to say that those devious Nazis actually chose the CALIBRE of their anti-aircraft weapons based on what some pinhead(s) years into the future might read into it? Gee, this thing is like an onion; the more layers you peel off, the more it stinks. Of course, the more plausible explanation is that you’re just IMAGINING the “88” in “Flak88” to be Nazi shorthand, given that this guy is supposed to have written a book on German anti-aircraft troops, tactics, and equipment.

  9. Joshua says:

    Most posters are correct on what the Flak 88 was.I believe its caliber was 88mm thus the term.It was a very effective anti-aircraft and anti-tank gun on the Western front in France as well as the Eastern Front in Russia during world war 2.Recently however national socialists ,anti-semites,or Hitler lovers use it sometimes to identify themselves to each other online.And thats directly from the horses mouth.How do i know?i asked one of them.

  10. Bruce Rheinstein says:

    Anyone remotely familiar with Nazis and neo-Nazis knows what “88” means and wouldn’t include it in his screen name without realizing the significance. Contrary to the spin seen in comments above, there’s no way to excuse this.

  11. Anon says:

    Actually anyone familiar with only the real Nazi’s would have no idea what 88 NOW is supposed to mean. It certainly does not mean the same thing today as it did in 1935 when the real ones were running around.

  12. John says:

    Keep your 88 straight!
    I used to have 88 in my email address until I read of the nazi connotation in some CHRC related blog. Silly me, I was simply trying to channel my interest in music. The piano has 88 keys.

  13. Bruce Rheinstein says:

    “I was simply trying to channel my interest in music.”
    I’m reminded of Tom Lehrer’s old “88-string guitar”.

  14. Sam P. says:

    This is total nonsense. It’s malicious and defamatory and borderline libelous, to be honest. The mere fact that someone collects a certain kind of military artifact does not make them loyal to what those artifacts represent. Saying Garlasco is a Nazi b/c he owns Nazi medals is like saying someone interested in cave paintings is a neanderthal. It simply makes no sense! Instead of dragging this man’s name through the mud, perhaps it would be better to consider his record, his position at a leading Human Rights NGO (which, despite claims to the contrary, is not anti-Israel since they criticize Israeli and Palestinian tactics alike when either cross the line of legality), and the fact that he COLLECTS stuff. That’s as far as it goes. People study and write about and read about and are interested in every evil figure and vile empire that ever existed, Nero, Ghengis Khan, Sadam Hussein, Stalin, Hitler. This interest does not equal acceptance or agreement or support in any way and to argue otherwise is totally illogical!

  15. Eric says:

    Several blogs and others critical of Human Rights Watch have suggested that Marc Garlasco, Human Rights Watch’s senior military advisor, is a Nazi sympathizer because he collects German (as well as American) military memorabilia. This accusation is demonstrably false and fits into a campaign to deflect attention from Human Rights Watch’s rigorous and detailed reporting on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by the Israeli government. Garlasco has co-authored several Human Rights Watch reports on violations of the laws of war, including in Afghanistan, Georgia and Iraq, as well as by Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah.
    Garlasco has never held or expressed Nazi or anti-Semitic views and in fact prefaced his book by giving thanks that Germany was defeated in the Second World War.
    Garlasco’s grandfather was conscripted into the German armed forces during the Second World War, like virtually all young German men at the time, and served as a radar operator on an anti-aircraft battery. He never joined the Nazi Party, and later became a dedicated pacifist. Meanwhile, Garlasco’s great-uncle was an American B-17 crewman, who survived many attacks by German anti-aircraft gunners.
    Garlasco own family’s experience on both sides of the Second World War has led him to collect military items related to both sides, including American 8th Air Force memorabilia and German Air Force medals and other objects (not from the Nazi Party or the SS, as falsely alleged). Many military historians, and others with an academic interest in the Second World War, including former and active-duty US service members, collect memorabilia from that era.
    Some bloggers have picked up three comments Garlasco made on a memorabilia website in 2005, and a photo of him wearing a sweatshirt with a picture of the Iron Cross and the words in German: “The Iron Cross, 1813, 1870, 1914, 1939 and 1957.” The comments reflect the enthusiasm of a keen collector. They are not in any way indicative of support for Nazis, as has been alleged, and have no bearing on Garlasco’s work for Human Rights Watch.
    Garlasco is the author of a monograph on the history of German Air Force and Army anti-aircraft medals and a contributor to websites that promote serious historical research into the Second World War (and which forbid hate speech). In the foreword he writes of telling his daughters that “the war was horrible and cruel, that Germany lost and for that we should be thankful.”
    To imply that Garlasco’s collection is evidence of Nazi sympathies is not only absurd but an attempt to deflect attention from his deeply felt efforts to uphold the laws of war and minimize civilian suffering in wartime. These falsehoods are an affront to Garlasco and thousands of other serious military historians.

  16. joe says:

    Anyone who does human rights research would be aware of the new meaning of 88. It is hard to believe that somebody who has spent time collecting nazi memorabilia would be completely blind to this new meaning. If you are going to research human rights in Israel and your hobby is collecting Nazi trinkets, you might want to let your employer know that you engage in activities that could utterly discredit your research and your employer. Trouble is this guy is either a moron or a racist, either way it destroys his credibility.

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