By Agence France-Presse
Canada’s federal court declined Thursday to review a decision to take away the citizenship of a Ukrainian immigrant for alleged ties to a Nazi killing squad in World War II.
In a statement, the court said the government’s finding that Helmut Oberlander had lied about his wartime activities when he arrived in Canada in 1954 was “justifiable,” opening the door to his deportation.
However, he may yet appeal this latest ruling in a long legal saga.
“Canada should never be a safe haven for war criminals and people who’ve committed crimes against humanity, and we’re very pleased with the (court) decision,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussein said.
Oberlander had been stripped of his citizenship four times over the past 23 years for misrepresenting his past.
When he landed in Canada, Oberlander made no mention of his membership in the Einsatzkommando, a Nazi mobile killing squad that systematically executed thousands of people in the former Soviet Union after the German invasion.
But each of the government’s previous attempts to revoke his citizenship were reversed on appeal, based on claims that he joined the Nazi unit under duress.
Oberlander, who became a Canadian citizen in 1960, consistently maintained that he was forced to join the unit because he spoke both Russian and German, and that he only acted as an interpreter.
The federal court in its decision upheld the government’s conclusion that Oberlander “voluntarily made a knowing and significant contribution to the crimes and criminal purpose of this SS killing squad.”