Canadian Supreme Court Rules Member of Famous Nazi Death Squad May Retain Citizenship, Live Out Rest of Life in Country
Despite efforts by the Canadian government, a member of Adolf Hitler’s notorious Einsatzkommando 10a unit will not be stripped of his citizenship following a Supreme Court ruling, CBC News reported on Thursday.
Helmut Oberlander, 92, who has admitted to working as a translator for the mobile Nazi death squad which targeted Jews — will be allowed to live out his days in Canada, after a 20-year fight with Ottowa.
Born in Ukraine, Oberlander has maintained he was conscripted into the Einsatzkommando at the age of 17 and threatened with the death penalty for desertion. He said he never participated in any killings.
Since 1995, the Canadian federal government has been attempting to permanently revoke Oberlander’s citizenship and deport him.
In February, the government brought Oberlander’s case to court for the third time. The judge presiding over the case ruled that it was inconclusive whether or not Oberlander was cooperating with the Nazis under duress or fear for his life and therefore revoking his citizenship was prohibited.
The federal government appealed the decision and eventually the case was brought to the country’s highest court. The Supreme Court announced it will refuse to hear the federal government’s challenge in its latest attempt to strip Oberlander of his citizenship.
“Now it goes back to the governor in council to make a decision to consider again, for the fourth time, whether to take away the citizenship of a man who was involved in the war against his will and who did not commit war crimes,” Oberlander’s lawyer Barbara Jackman told CBC.
Jewish groups in Canada immediately blasted the court’s ruling.
“Oberlander was a member of a Nazi mobile killing unit that murdered more than 90,000 Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust. He lied about his complicity in these atrocities and gained Canadian citizenship fraudulently. Based on these facts, he should be deported without further delay,” the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (CJHSD) said in a statement.
Shimon Fogel, CIJA CEO, said, “We are disappointed in the SCC’s decision, and we encourage the Government of Canada to continue engaging fully in bringing Helmut Oberlander to justice. Though justice has been delayed, it need not be denied.”