In it, HRW defends Garlasco by claiming that he is merely a history buff:
“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,” the statement read. “These falsehoods are an affront to Garlasco and thousands of other serious military historians.”
Garlasco clearly has Nazi sympathies—why else would so much of his time be devoted to collecting and writing about Nazi paraphernalia? This does not mean that he sympathizes with the Final Solution, although Garlasco surely is capable of understanding why people find it difficult to fathom how someone could be such an enthusiast for Nazi memorabilia while maintaining a proper abhorrence of the Nazi genocidal project. Garlasco, after all, makes his living as a human-rights activist.
And then there are things that do indeed undermine one’s confidence that Garlasco understands the moral significance of the Nazis. Here he is in a 2005 post on the “Wehrmacht Awards” forum gushing over a particularly vile item of clothing:
That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!
These are certainly not the words of a “serious military historian,” as HRW characterizes him. They appear rather more like the words of someone with sympathies.