Jewish groups are calling on Canada to strip citizenship from a 92-year-old man who was once a member of a Nazi death squad.
In a letter to Citizenship Minister John McCallum, the groups say it is time to conclude a 20-year battle to deport Helmut Oberlander.
“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,” states the March 9 letter. “He is here illegally, was associated with a horrific and murderous enterprise for which he has neither demonstrated nor expressed any remorse, and he ought to have his Canadian citizenship revoked immediately,” it adds.
Born in Ukraine, Oberlander immigrated to Canada in 1954 and became a citizen in 1960. Ottawa began trying to strip him of his citizenship in 1995, prompting a protracted court battle.
Oberlander won another reprieve last month when the Federal Court of Appeal sent the matter back to Cabinet, asking it to review its third revocation.
Oberlander, of Waterloo, Ontario, was a member of a mobile death squad in the Soviet Union during World War II. He claims to have been a low-level interpreter who was conscripted under duress. He also claims that he never took part in killings, and that he would have been shot had he tried to escape.
The Jewish groups, including Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith Canada, want him stripped of his Canadian nationality and deported from the country.
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