(Waterloo, October 02, 2002) Recent articles in the Montreal Gazette and the National Post concerning a possible change in government policy when it comes to citizenship revocation and deportation of war criminals should be of great concern to all citizens.
In both cases persons who have been cleared of any criminal offence are named in the same context as war criminals. This is not only unfair, but also projects the false impression to the public that these people were involved in war crimes.
This applies especially to Mr. Odynsky, Mr. Oberlander and Mr. Baumgartner. In all three cases there is absolutely no evidence that these men were directly or indirectly involved in committing of war crimes and still the media refers to them in the context of war criminals.
As a 17 year old, Mr. Oberlander was forced to work as an interpreter for the German Forces that had entered the Ukraine. Because of that service he was called a facilitator by Mr. Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Of course he was a facilitator. He assisted persons to communicate with each other, something, which can hardly be called a crime. In fact, Mr. Siderenko, a Ukrainian National and a witness called by the Canadian Government to testify at the Oberlander trial, said that Mr. Oberlander's service as an interpreter was of great benefit to him when he was interrogated by the German forces.
The German Canadian Congress objects very strongly against the naming of innocent people in the same context as war criminals and thereby creating the impression that these people belong to that category. This will be fertile ground for an atmosphere in which hatred can grow, something which we certainly don't need. What we should strive for is harmony, understanding and tolerance in order to create a better society.
German Canadian Congress
455 Conestogo Rd., Waterloo, Ont.
Tel. (519) 746-9006 FAX (519) 746-7006
Anton Bergmeier, President, German Canadian Congress National
Ernst Friedel, President, German-Canadian Congress Ontario