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Letter 04   29-Apr-2000   Publicity Stunt 3: Commemorating the Deschênes Commission
"CJC and Rambam followed this up with a series of activities in Ottawa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Deschênes Report." Canadian Jewish Congress

  April 29, 2000
Irving Abella
Department of History
York University
2140 Vari Hall
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON   M3J 1P3


Irving Abella:

Publicity Stunts 1 and 2

I have already mentioned in my letter to you of 26Apr2000 and you can see in greater detail in my letter to Sol Littman of 25Sep1999 that the Deschênes Commission was created in response to two publicity stunts:

Publicity Stunt 1: The Littman-Blumenthal Mengele Scare, and

Publicity Stunt 2: The Littman-Wiesenthal Thousands of Nazi War Criminals Scare.

One might speculate that the Commission was buoyed by an initial sense of usefulness and productivity as the denunciations began to pour in.  But how deflated any enthusiasm within the Commission must have become once the bubble burst!  Sol Littman excoriated by Commissioner Deschênes for his fraudulent Mengele Scare.  Simon Wiesenthal humiliated by Commissioner Deschênes when his claim of 6,000 Nazi war criminals in Canada was followed by his list of only 217, followed in turn by Commissioner Deschênes discovering that the list was "almost totally useless," followed in turn by Wiesenthal avoiding the Commission as its requests for his promised evidence became more insistent.  Nor can it be imagined that Wiesenthal put himself to any trouble to compose his list of 217 for the Deschênes Commission Wiesenthal had already submitted the same list to the Canadian government in 1984, and in the words of the Commission Report "The RCMP's investigation in 1984-1985 failed to uncover any evidence of war crimes against the 31 individuals on that list who, it appeared, might have entered Canada" (p. 258).

And how devastating to the CJC to leave as a matter of permanent record that among the denunciations that it forwarded to the Commission was a denunciation:

(for unspecified war crimes against Jews) of an Allied pilot who had been captured by the Germans,

(for being Dr. Josef Mengele) of a man born in Canada in 1928,

(for responsibility for the deaths of "hundreds of Jews") of a man born in 1941.

Publicity Stunt 3

But to get back to the subject of publicity stunts the two above are all that it took to get the Deschênes Commission created.  However, in the years since, interest in Nazi Crimes by Gentiles Against Jews has been waning, and the present letter describes an additional publicity stunt that the CJC has manufactured to keep that interest alive.

Publicity Stunt 3: Commemorating the Deschênes Commission

Whereas the Deschênes Commission should be a cause for Jewish shame and repentance, the CJC War Crimes Committee relying on the bulk of Canadians never having read the Commission report represents it as a Jewish victory, and so as a cause for commemoration:

CJC and Rambam followed this up with a series of activities in Ottawa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Deschênes Report.  This included a luncheon meeting with Parliamentarians and a press conference in the House of Commons.  That same evening, a community-wide program was held at Ottawa's Beth Shalom Synagogue.  More than 500 people were in attendance at the event, which also included the presentation of a certificate of merit to former Federal Justice Department War Crimes Unit Deputy Director Arnold Fradkin.  Rambam was a keynote speaker.
Excerpted from the CJC web site at http://www.cjc.ca/dais/past-issues/dais2-4-3yr-report.htm.  The CJC misspelling Deschènes has been corrected to Deschênes.

But in view of the disaster that the Deschênes Commission was for the CJC and for Canadian Jews, exactly what was it that was being commemorated?  The only answer that I was able to find on the CJC web site was the following:

War criminals were placed on trial after the Second World War.  But in July 1948, a secret memorandum from the United Kingdom was sent to Commonwealth countries that no more war-crimes trials were to be held.  Canada agreed, and thereafter, said the Deschênes Commission, "Whether by coincidence or by design, in the third of a century which followed, Canada devoted not the slightest energy to the search and prosecution of war criminals."

And so the Deschênes Commission finally proclaimed publicly and with indignation that for thirty years nothing was done.  But it did more.  It confirmed that a good number of suspected Nazi war criminals and collaborators entered and are in Canada.
Excerpted from the CJC web site at http://www.cjc.ca/dais/past-issues/dais2-4-3yr-report.htm.  The CJC misspelling Deschènes has been corrected to Deschênes, and the CJC misquote "the century" has been corrected to "a century."

However, the CJC statement above is not quite accurate.  Although it is true that the Commission acknowledged three decades of government inaction in the pursuit of war criminals, it did not "proclaim" this inaction "with indignation."  Rather, the Commission noted that several Western countries followed a similar policy:

Canadian policy on war crimes during that long period was not worse than that of several Western countries which displayed an equal lack of interest.
Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 33.

And the Commission recognized the reasons for the inaction: (1) a decline in the importance and the number of unpunished Nazi war criminals under the jurisdictions of such various Western countries, (2) a need to bolster West Germany as an ally holding the front line in the Cold War, and (3) a need to allocate resources to more important tasks, such as nation building:

The central factor to consider in understanding why most countries have not sought out, prosecuted and punished Nazi war criminals to their full ability throughout the past forty years is that other issues have taken precedence (e.g., national rebuilding or the "Cold War") over bringing war criminals to justice which has been shifted, deliberately (as in France) or inadvertently to a lesser priority in their national agendas.  The immediate post-war search for justice found and punished a considerable number of the obvious big-name war criminals.  This crusading spirit has been difficult to sustain for a long period of time especially as most of the remaining war criminals were low in rank and importance.
From Donald M. Caskie, "Bringing Nazi War Criminals to Justice," report written at the request of the Deschênes Commission, in Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, pp. 32-33.

As for the CJC claim that the Commission found that "a good number of suspected Nazi war criminals and collaborators entered and are in Canada," the truth is that the Commission found 20 cases in which further action seemed justified (please consult p. 14 paragraph 78, and p. 827).  However, in the years since the Commission Report of 1986, not a single suspect has been convicted in criminal court, suggesting as the principal reason that the further investigation recommended by the Commission failed to turn up substantiating evidence of war criminality in a single one of the 20 cases, which can be summed up as a total defeat for the false accusers.  It is this statistic of zero criminal convictions that vindicates Canadian inaction over three decades, and all the more strongly would justify Canada finally closing the book on Nazi war crimes by Gentiles against Jews for all time.  The time has come for Canada's war crimes unit to turn its attention away from conjectured, half-century-old immigration infractions, presently being prosecuted in civil court because of the weakness of the evidence, and to concentrate instead on scrutinizing immigrants with a strong probability of having fresh blood on their hands, as for example those arriving from Israel.

In short, there is nothing about the Deschênes Commission that the CJC War Crimes Committee can regard with pride, and a great deal that it must regard with shame.  To represent the Deschênes Commission as a Jewish victory, or a vindication of CJC accusations, is a misrepresentation so vast as to deserve to be added to the list of publicity stunts conducted in Canada for purposes of deluding the Canadian public into supporting the Jewish persecution of non-Jewish East Europeans by means of government prosecution.  As you occupy the leadership of the CJC Nazi war crimes by Gentiles against Jews committee, authorship of the CJC Commemoration of the Deschênes Commission Publicity Stunt appears to devolve to you.



Lubomyr Prytulak


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