Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lembit's dodgy great uncle Oskar and those other Opiks in full

Given this blog's interest in the family history of prominent Liberal Democrats (Nick Clegg and Matthew Taylor, for instance), I suppose I have to cover this story.

Tomorrow's Mail on Sunday tells us that Lembit Opik's great uncle Oskar Opik was a member of the Estonian puppet government during the German occupation in World War II. The paper links this story with Chris Huhne's attack on David Cameron at Bournemouth:

Dave’s dumped the Tories’ long term allies to jump into bed with the wackos and the weirdos. Never mind Britain’s place in the world. Never mind the need for global partners to tackle climate change, defence or crime.

David Cameron says he cares about climate change, but then joins up with the Czech ODS that denies it exists. Cameron says he will stand up for gay people, but then allies himself with a Polish party of homophobes. He says he cares about human rights, but then cuddles up to a Latvian party that celebrates Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS. You can tell a lot about a party by the company it keeps.

This is all very interesting, but quite how Lembit's family background excuses the Tories' new allies escapes me.

And, while one cannot excuse joining a puppet government, we should not rush to judge the actions of those who found themselves trapped between Hitler and Stalin - a lesson people like Seumas Milne would do well to remember.

On a happier note, a Daily Mail article from last year told us:

here in Estonia, 'the attic of Europe', the surname Opik is treated with solemn reverence. His family is perhaps the brainiest the Baltic states have ever produced.

Perched in the Liberal Democrat MP's family tree are close relatives who bestrode academia in the fields of astronomy, geology, botany, physics, mathematics, psychology, ethnology and history, attaining the highest intellectual recognition in Britain, America, Australia, and the former Soviet Union.

This has the makings of a great film comedy. In earlier days he would have been played by Jerry Lewis or Norman Wisdom, but today Lee Evans would have to play the hapless Lembit, surrounded by a family of professors.

1 comment:

wolfi said...

The Mail article is interseting, but what is the connection to today's politics/politicians ?

Is anyone responsible for the actions of his granduncle ?

My father was also in the war as an officer in the German army - would they hold that against me ?

At least I found in his papers a document by the French authorities that said he was a "Mitläufer" ("also run") not an active Nazi...