Ex-Nazi death squad member wins new chance to keep Canadian citizenship

TORONTO -- The federal government has hit another roadblock in its decades-long effort to strip Canadian citizenship from a now 92-year-old man who was once a member of a brutal Nazi death squad.

See Full Article

In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal set aside a ruling against Helmut Oberlander and ordered the government to take another look at the case.

Oberlander, an ethnic German born in Ukraine, has argued he had no choice when German forces conscripted him at age 17 in 1941 to serve as an interpreter in Einsatzkommando 10a. The unit was part of a force responsible for killing more than two million people. Most were civilians, and most were Jewish.

"The appellant was entitled to a determination of the extent to which he made a significant and knowing contribution to the crime or criminal purpose of the Ek 10a," the Federal Court of Appeal said in its recent decision.

"Only then could a reasonable determination be made as to whether whatever harm he faced was more serious than the harm inflicted on others through his complicity."

In making its decision, the court noted the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that individuals cannot be held liable for a group's crimes only because they associated with the group or passively acquiesced to its criminal purpose.

Oberlander, who immigrated to Canada with his wife in 1954 and raised two daughters, became a citizen in 1960 and ran a construction business in Kitchener, Ont. The government first began trying to strip him of his citizenship in 1995, prompting a hotly contested and protracted court battle.

In 2000, Federal Court concluded Oberlander had obtained his citizenship fraudulently -- either by lying on his application or by hiding his Second World War activities. Ottawa moved again to revoke his citizenship, leading to one appeal that ended in 2004 with the case being sent back to the government for a new decision.

In 2007, the government again revoked his citizenship, prompting a new round of appeals.

Two years later, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the government had been reasonable in finding Oberlander's membership in Einsatzkommando 10a made him complicit in its war crimes he knew were happening.

However, the court also said Ottawa should have considered the issue of whether he had acted under duress and sent the matter back for further consideration.

Ottawa reviewed the issue and rejected the idea that Oberlander had acted under duress.

He had failed to show, the government argued, that he feared execution in order to justify his complicity in the actions of the killing squad. In 2012, it again revoked his citizenship on the grounds he had been a member of Ek 10a and, as a result, could be "suspected of being complicit in the activities of a limited brutal-purpose organization."

Oberlander appealed again to Federal Court, which rejected his arguments, and then to the Federal Court of Appeal, which has now sent the matter yet again back to the government.

His lawyer did not immediately offer any comment.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • China says misleading to suggest it needs trade deal due to slowing economy

    World News CBC News
    China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it was misleading to suggest Beijing needed a trade deal with the United States because its economy was slowing, following a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump. China's economic growth was "not bad," said ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang in comments made at a daily news briefing in Beijing. Source
  • 4-story building collapses in India; several feared trapped

    World News CTV News
    MUMBAI, India -- A four-story residential building collapsed Tuesday in a crowded neighbourhood in Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, and several people were feared trapped in the rubble, an official said. Fire official Ashok Talpade said rescuers had reached the site in Mumbai's Dongri section and pulled out three people and rushed them to a hospital. Source
  • How Zoe the lab sniffed out 2 missing girls in Ontario's Algonquin Park

    Canada News CBC News
    About 90 minutes after starting to search for two 16-year-old girls who had been missing in Ontario's Algonquin Park since Thursday, Zoe began showing the telltale signs that she had picked up a scent. "That's what you want to look for when the dogs acquire a track. Source
  • Jagmeet Singh tours Quebec in hopes of avoiding an NDP wipeout

    Canada News CBC News
    NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is taking a Quebec road trip this week, visiting a handful of ridings he hopes his party can hold in October's federal election. But even though his pit stops are in ridings that offer the NDP some of its best chances for hanging on, Singh still faces an uphill climb to win any of them. Source
  • National Métis group gave IT contracts to 2 companies linked to policy adviser

    Canada News CBC News
    The Métis National Council (MNC), facing its second federal audit in the last seven years, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to two companies directed by the same MNC policy adviser for IT-related work, according to records obtained by CBC News. Source
  • Tweets condemned as racist are part of Trump's plan, and strategists say it may work

    World News CBC News
    The chorus of condemnation U.S. President Donald Trump faced from pundits, Democrats and even a few Republicans Monday was loud and necessary but, ultimately, helped Trump accomplish what he set out to do, say some Republican strategists. Source
  • NASA's latest bid to return to the moon by 2024 may be a bit unrealistic, experts say

    World News CBC News
    This is part of our CBC News 50th anniversary coverage of the Apollo 11 mission resulting in the historic first human landing on the moon. On Dec. 14, 1972, NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan lifted his foot from the dusty lunar surface one final time. Source
  • Toronto man whose family died in Boeing 737 Max crash: Scrap the jet

    Canada News CTV News
    Paul Njoroge says he believes Boeing should scrap the 737 Max, and he wants the company's top executives to resign and face criminal charges for not grounding the plane after a deadly accident last October. Source
  • Pakistan reopens airspace, ending months of flight restrictions

    World News CTV News
    Pakistan on Tuesday fully reopened its airspace for all civilian traffic, ending months of restrictions affecting major international routes including from India after clashes between the nuclear-armed rivals brought them to the brink of war. Source
  • Quake damages buildings on Bali, other Indonesian islands

    World News CTV News
    DENPASAR, Indonesia -- An earthquake shook Bali and other Indonesian islands Tuesday, causing panic and damaging homes and other buildings, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. The magnitude 5.7 quake was centred at sea 82 kilometres (51 miles) to the southwest of Denpasar on Bali at a depth of 91 kilometres (57 miles), the U.S. Source