In the Collaborator Ian Buruma gives an account of three near-mythic figures—a Dutch fixer, a Manchu princess, and Himmler’s masseur—who may have been con artists and collaborators under Japanese and German rule, or true heroes, or something in between. All three figures have been vilified and mythologized, out of a never-ending need, Ian Buruma argues, to see history, and particularly war, and above all World War II, as a neat story of angels and devils.
Ian Buruma is the Paul W. Williams Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, New Yorker, Harper’s, The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, NRC Handelsblad, among others. He is a regular columnist for Project Syndicate.
Join us when Ian Buruma examines each character who committed wartime acts that led some to see them as national heroes, and others as villains, on this installment of Leoanrd Lopate at Large.