Guelph Mercury | 02Jun2007 | Brian Caldwell

Telegdi angry over stripped citizenship


Members of Parliament in Waterloo Region are split over a controversial decision to strip Helmut Oberlander of his citizenship again.

Liberal Andrew Telegdi took the hardest line in Oberlander's home riding of Kitchener-Waterloo, blasting the Conservative government for stubbornly going after the retired developer without any evidence he actually had a hand in war crimes.

"We don't condone witchhunts and that's what this is," said Telegdi, who has fought to take decisions on citizenship out of the hands of politicians.

Conservative Harold Albrecht sat on the fence in the riding of Kitchener-Conestoga, declining to say whether he believes his government is justified in pursuing Oberlander more than 12 years after he was first targeted for deportation by Ottawa.

"My personal opinions right now are not important," said Albrecht.

Oberlander, 83, first lost his citizenship in 2001 after a federal court judge found he lied about his membership in a notorious Nazi killing unit when he emigrated from Germany in 1954. His citizenship was returned in 2004 by the Federal Court of Appeal.

Late last month, cabinet opted for a second revocation -- likely setting the stage for years of legal battles.

Oberlander will seek a review of the latest decision. He maintains he did nothing wrong after he was conscripted by the Nazis to work as a 17-year-old interpreter when they occupied his native Ukraine.