What to do with IS children?

The children of dead or imprisoned IS fighters bear no responsibility for their parents' crimes. In the debate over whether these children should be returned to their parents' countries of origin, European commentators look back to the period after the end of WWII.

Open/close all quotes
De Morgen (BE) /

Fight extremism with compassion

Around 50 IS fighters' children are currently living in camps in Iraq or Syria. De Morgen calls for them to be brought back as quickly as possible and points to the lessons of World War II:

“Our country should have learned from the mistakes of collaboration and repression after WWII. The children of IS members (some of them ex-fighters) are victims of a violent sect that swallowed up their parents. Just as the children of the Flemish or Wallonians who fought with the murderous SS on the Eastern Front were victims. If we leave these children in the lurch it will cause unrest for decades to come. If we show compassion now, we will triumph over extremism.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

The focus is disturbing

The writer Håkan Boström also draws a historical comparison in Göteborgs-Posten to describe his unease:

“Let's imagine it's the summer of 1945 and the Swedish newspapers are full of reports about the children of Swedish SS volunteers who were stranded on the Eastern Front. The editorials are calling for the Swedish state to bring these children home, and their parents as well. ... If these SS children are given more space than the Jewish victims of the Nazis of whom many were little more children themselves, we might conclude that the Swedish public or at least their representatives were ice-cold Nazi sympathisers. Of course you are right in your objections. We cannot transfer our hatred of the Nazis onto their children.... I have no answer here. But there is something disturbing about this. There is something disturbing about the focus on the SS children. ”