Canada postpones deportation hearing of ex-Nazi squad member

Jewish groups criticize decision to postpone hearing of former Nazi death-squad member Helmut Oberlander.

Elad Benari ,

Nazi commanders
Nazi commanders
Flash 90

A hearing that could see former Nazi death-squad member Helmut Oberlander be deported from Canada was postponed on Monday until at least March 20 after the Federal Court ruled the Ontario man could have more time to prepare, The Canadian Press reported.

Oberlander, born in Ukraine, was a member of a Nazi death squad that operated behind the German army's front line in the eastern occupied territories during World War II.

It was part of a force responsible for killing more than two million people, most of them Jews.

Oberlander first served as a translator for Nazi death squads and later as an infantryman in the German army, according to 2018 court documents.

He says he was forced to join one of the Nazis’ “Einsatzkommando” mobile killing squads at the age of 17 and did not take part in any atrocities.

Oberlander, who lives in Waterloo, Ontario, arrived in Canada in 1954 and became a Canadian citizen six years later. He did not disclose his wartime experience when he applied to emigrate, upon entering Canada or when seeking citizenship.

In June 2017, the federal government revoked Oberlander’s Canadian citizenship for the fourth time.

Oberlander has been listed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as one of the top ten most wanted Nazi war crimes suspects worldwide.

Jewish groups, which have long lobbied for Oberlander to be deported from Canada, expressed dismay at Monday’s decision to postpone his hearing.

Pinchas Gutter, Co-President of the Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (CJHSD), said, "As Survivors, we are immensely pained that Nazi war criminals continue to evade justice by concealing their past. Mr. Oberlander served in a Nazi death squad and lied about his past to fraudulently gain his Canadian citizenship. Oberlander has cynically abused our courts to avoid prosecution in Germany. The CJHSD reiterates its call on the Government of Canada to complete the deportation process without further delay."

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said, “The postponement of this morning’s Immigration and Refugee Board hearing in the Helmut Oberlander case is the latest obscene abuse of the Canadian justice system, an abuse that has been continuing over 25 years in service of man who gained entry to Canada fraudulently. Oberlander was a member of a Nazi death squad responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jewish women, men, and children. The Federal court ruled in 2018 that he contributed to the murderous aims of the unit and should never have been allowed to come here. If he evades justice again, it will be a disgrace to our justice system and slap in the face of Holocaust Survivors and their descendants.”

B'nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said, "Today’s news of the stay of proceedings against ex-Nazi Helmut Oberlander until March 19, 2021, after more than a quarter of a century of legal wrangling, is a tragedy and disgrace to Canada’s reputation. An individual complicit in the murder of thousands has been permitted to misuse Canada and its legal system as his safe haven rather than to face justice.”

"We seek to offer a voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves: this matter must at the very least proceed immediately on March 20, 2021," he added.



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