Canada’s top court on Thursday declined to review a decision to strip the citizenship of a Ukrainian immigrant for alleged ties to a Nazi killing squad in World War II.
The Supreme Court decision paves the way to begin anew proceedings to deport Helmut Oberlander, after three previous attempts to revoke his citizenship were set aside on appeal.
According to B’nai Brith Canada’s website, Oberlander was allegedly a member of a Nazi death squad unit that murdered over 90,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
The 95-year-old has been fighting to stay in Canada since federal police in 1995 launched an investigation into his links to Nazi atrocities.
A federal court found that he had “significantly misrepresented his wartime activities to Canadian immigration and citizenship officials when he applied to enter Canada” in 1952, according to a legal summary of the case.
In 1954 he was approved as a permanent resident, and in 1960 obtained Canadian citizenship.
Oberlander claims he had been forcibly recruited by the Nazis, and that he only acted as an interpreter for the Einsatzkommando 10a death squad.
In 2017, officials tried again to revoke his citizenship, saying that he “was complicit in crimes against humanity” and had made “a voluntary, knowing and significant contribution to the crimes committed” by the Nazis.
“Oberlander has been given opportunity after opportunity to present his case, but it has finally come to an end,” said Ran Ukashi, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. “Now that Oberlander’s leave has been denied, albeit after much delay, it is imperative that he be deported from Canada immediately so that all Canadians – but especially the victims and their descendants of the mobile death squad Oberlander served in – can have their justice. There are no more excuses for having him remain in Canada. Oberlander must go immediately.”
Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada said, “We commend the Supreme Court of Canada for today’s decision and call on the Federal Government to delay no further in finally deporting this man from our country, as the law demand. There was already no excuse for Mr. Oberlander to remain in Canada, and B’nai Brith will be loudly and consistently demanding his removal until justice is served.
“No matter how many years have passed since the Holocaust, what happened to the victims can never be forgotten or let go. As a beacon of human rights and morality in the world, Canada must demonstrate in no uncertain terms that Nazis are still not welcome here.”