Canada: Supreme Court exonerates Nazi

The Supreme Court threw out the case of Helmut Oberlander, a member of a killing squad who claims he never took part in war crimes.

Rachel Kaplan,

Swastika (illustration)
Swastika (illustration)
Thinkstock

A 92-year-old man has confessed to being a former member of a Nazi death squad, yet was exonerated today of any war crimes by Canada's Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court threw out the government's appeal, after a lower court ruled in favor of Helmut Oberlander. Oberlander claims he was forced to act as a translator for the squad, but never took part in any atrocities.

Oberlander emigrated to Canada in 1954, and became a citizen in 1960. However, he failed to notify immigration authorities about his wartime record.

The Canadian government, which upholds a ban against those who took part in war crimes, has revoked his citizenship three times since 1995. Each time, the decision was overturned.

Oberlander says he was conscripted when he was 17 as an interpreter for one of the Nazi's Einsatzkommando mobile killing squads.

Oberlander's case is the latest in the ongoing battle to bring Nazis who took part in the Holocaust to justice. Last month, a 94-year-old former guard at the Auschwitz camp was sentenced to jail in Germany by a judge who branded him a "willing and efficient henchman" in the Holocaust.


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