Top Canadian Jewish Organization Denounces Failure to Punish Nazi War Criminal Who Died This Week at 97
A top Canadian Jewish organization has denounced Canada’s failure to deport a former member of a Nazi death squad who died Wednesday without punishment, calling it “a stain on our national conscience.”
Helmut Oberlander died Wednesday in Waterloo, Canada at the age of 97. During World War II, he had served as a translator for the SS Einsatzkommando 10a.
The Einsatzkommando were SS units that operated under the larger Einsatzgruppen squads, which were heavily involved in the initial stages of the Holocaust, hunting down and murdering Jews by mass shootings and various other means.
Einsatzkommando 10a, which operated under Einsatzgruppe D in parts of Eastern Europe, ultimately murdered approximately 90,000 Jews.
Oberlander managed to establish residence in Canada in 1954 by concealing his past crimes and was never deported, even though Canadian authorities were aware of his immigration fraud by 1963.
In 1995, action was finally taken, when the Ottawa government revoked his citizenship, which ultimately took effect in 2000. A long legal battle then ensued over Oberlander’s possible deportation, which was still ongoing at the time of his death.
B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Mostyn denounced the failure to punish Oberlander for his crimes, saying Thursday, “The peaceful demise of Helmut Oberlander on Canadian soil is a stain on our national conscience.”
“The fact is that this country slammed its doors on Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, then allowed some of their tormentors into Canada and failed to deport them,” he said.
David Matas, B’nai Brith Canada’s Senior Legal Counsel, said the case represented a “sorry record.”
“The delays in these cases were unconscionable,” he asserted. “The result was justice for victims of the crimes addressed in these cases was denied.”