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

  • France heads to the polls after unpredictable presidential campaign

    World News CBC News
    France goes to the polls on Sunday for the first round of a bitterly fought presidential election, crucial to the future of Europe and a closely-watched test of voters' anger with the political establishment. Nearly 47 million voters will decide, under tight security, whether to back a pro-EU centrist newcomer, a scandal-ridden veteran conservative who wants to slash public spending, a far-left eurosceptic admirer of Fidel Castro or appoint France's first woman president, to shut borders and…
  • Conservative candidates need to step up to the front

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    News flash! There is a leadership race underway within the Conservative Party of Canada. What? Really? How long has this been going on? Forever it seems, not that many have noticed amid the drama of the ruling Liberals’ marijuana legislation, its pandering Islamophobia motion, its leader’s questionable Aga Khan vacation destination, its outright lie about changing the federal voting system before the next election, and the tabling of an omnibus bill that they supposedly would never do. Source
  • Supply ship named for John Glenn arrives at space station

    World News Toronto Sun
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A supply ship bearing John Glenn’s name arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday. Astronauts used the station’s big robot arm to grab the capsule, as the craft flew 400 kilometres above Germany. Source
  • Bank of Canada governor 'happy' to see plan for GTA housing market

    Canada News CBC News
    Measures to cool the housing market in the Greater Toronto Area have received a warm response from Canada's central banker, who said Saturday it should have some effect on runaway housing prices. "I'm happy there are measures," Stephen Poloz, the governor of the Bank of Canada, told reporters during financial meetings in Washington. Source
  • 'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents waiting out flood

    Canada News CTV News
    Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency Thursday after a combination of heavy rainfall and spring thaw flooded the region. Source
  • 'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents wait out flood

    Canada News CTV News
    Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency Thursday after a combination of heavy rainfall and spring thaw flooded the region. Source
  • Calgarian who joined ISIS added to U.S. most-wanted terrorist list

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Once thought killed while fighting alongside ISIS forces in Iraq, a Calgarian is now one of the United States' most-wanted terrorists. In a decision by the U.S. State Department, Farah Mohamed Shirdon, 24, of Calgary, has been dubbed a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Source
  • Edmonton police seek 2 'people of interest' in dead toddler case

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. Source
  • 2 arrested in Edmonton dead toddler case

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. Source
  • Vibrator thief told sex shop clerk she had HIV before lunging at him with needle

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A woman found guilty of two thefts and threatening with a needle will have her day of reckoning at the Sudbury Courthouse on May 2, whether she is physically in court or not. “There will be an order I'm not opposed to,” Shawana's lawyer, Denis Michel, told Ontario Court Justice Karen Lische Wednesday concerning his client Naomi Shawana, who has refused to attend court on numerous occasions in recent months for her sentencing involving two armed robberies in January, 2016. Source