The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and the Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (CJHSD) have published an open letter to Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees John McCallum to deport Waterloo resident Helmut Oberlander, whose association to the Nazi party landed him on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted Nazi war criminals in 2014.
“We are writing to ask that you take decisive action and revoke Helmut Oberlander’s Canadian citizenship. As has been clearly established, Mr. Oberlander was a member of one of the most savage Nazi killing units, responsible for the murder of more than 90,000 Jewish men, women, and children during the Holocaust,” the letter begins.
Last month, the Federal Court of Appeal filed its third motion since 2001 to revoke Oberlander’s citizenship.
Oberlander, 92, immigrated to Canada in 1954 and became a citizen six years later. In 1995, the Canadian government learned that the Ukraine-born German was an interpreter with Einsatzkommando 10a (EK 10a), a notorious Nazi killing squad that murdered tens of thousands of Jews and other victims, and initiated a deportation process against him for not disclosing his past when he gained citizenship.
In 2001, he was stripped of his citizenship, but regained it after an appeal, and he went through a similar process in 2008, after a judge stated that whether he was drafted into EK 10a or not, he was aware of its purpose and activities. According to Oberlander, he was conscripted “under duress” and never participated in any of the killings.
The Canadian government is currently looking into Oberlander’s case after he recently won yet another reprieve when the Federal Court of Appeal set aside a ruling against him.
According to CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel, Oberlander is in Canada illegally and “ought to have his citizenship revoked.”
“Helmut Oberlander was a member of one of the most savage Nazi killing units that was responsible for the murder of more than 90,000 Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust,” Fogel said. “That he clearly lied about his wartime past to fraudulently gain entry into this country is not in question – nor the legal consequences of falsification of immigration documents. He is here illegally and he ought to have his Canadian citizenship revoked, as provided for by the law. Contriving to abuse the judicial system to avoid responsibility and accountability is itself offensive and undermines the integrity of our immigration process.
“Oberlander has shown no remorse for his actions during the Holocaust. It is well past time for him to leave Canada. He can have his day in court… in Germany.”
Sidney Zoltak, co-president of CJHSD, said that it’s “particularly stressful for members of our survivor community, who are law abiding and responsible citizens, to know that a member of the vicious killing unit Einsatzkommando 10a remains in Canada illegally.”
CIJA and CJHSD are urging that concerned Canadians sign the letter (you can do so here) urging McCallum to deport Oberlander. The letter was also signed by B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn.
“Let us all speak as united voices and on behalf of the victims and survivors and let the government know that there is no time limit nor age consideration to bring the guilty to justice,” said former CJHSD co-president Nate Leipciger. “The few remaining survivors are still suffering the loss of our loved ones and remember the brutality of the Einsatzkommando 10a and unprovoked murder of hundreds of thousands. Do not extend our anguish by inaction.”