Vladimir Katriuk, 91, whose name appears on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of the world’s 10 most-wanted Nazis criminals, has been found to be living a quiet life keeping bees and selling honey in rural Quebec.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a group of Holocaust survivors last week that the government would re-examine the case of a Nazi collaborator living near Montreal, according to a participant in the meetings.
The survivors, brought to Ottawa by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to testify against Katriuk, urged the ministers to take action and bring Nazi war criminals to justice within their lifetimes.
They gave the ministers copies of a just-published academic paper that described Mr. Katriuk’s alleged role in a 1943 massacre in Khatyn in Eastern Europe.
“Clearly the research that we presented is new information and I think that they have to analyze it but they have committed to us that they will do so,” said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. “They will look at it and they will get the wheels in motion to bring it back to the forefront before it’s too late.”
The Holocaust survivors also asked for government action against Helmet Oberlander, another alleged Nazi war criminal.
Mr. Katriuk fled to Canada in 1951 using an alias. In 1999, the Federal Court of Canada ruled he had obtained his Canadian citizenship through misrepresentation, but found there was no evidence he had committed atrocities. The federal Cabinet decided in 2007 not to revoke his citizenship.
However, a scholarly paper written by historian Per Anders Rudling, a postdoctoral fellow at Lund University in Sweden, states that recently declassified documents implicate Mr. Katriuk in an operation in Khatyn, whose residents were wiped out over their suspected support for partisans responsible for attacking German forces, the National Post reported.
The paper describes how, on March 22, 1943, villagers of the German-occupied village were herded into a barn which was then set on fire. Mr. Katriuk “reportedly lay behind the stationary machine gun, firing rounds at anyone attempting to escape the flames.”
The paper also quotes testimony alleging that Katriuk was “shooting people lying on the road.”
“Katriuk’s participation in the Khatyn massacre is confirmed by multiple testimonies, and in some detail,” Rudling told the National Post. “The testimonies are consistent in identifying Katriuk as a machine gunner at Khatyn, and indeed in other atrocities. Together, the material produces a compelling evidence that Katriuk was indeed an active participant in the massacre.”