Globe and Mail | 30Jan2007 | Gloria Galloway
Globe and Mail Update

Deportation calls mount against elderly Nazi 'enablers'

OTTAWA — The men are in their 80s and 90s, and none has been convicted of war crimes, but Jewish groups and other ethnic communities that have been subjected to violent persecution want them deported as Nazi “enablers.”

“It has been a matter of shame that our survivors must live in the same country as those who have contributed to the suffering,” Bernie Farber, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

[W.Z. Is Mr Farber suggesting that these "survivors" emigrate to Israel to avoid the "shame"?]

He was joined by representatives of PAGE-Rwanda, the Armenian National Committee of Canada and the Roma Community Centre of Toronto in calling on Immigration Minister Diane Finley to deport six elderly Ukrainian men.

Courts have found that they misrepresented their wartime activities when they sought Canadian citizenship or residency in Canada.

“As the decades have passed, time and natural death have been far more effective, I should say, than government in dealing with such individuals. Now only a handful of Nazi enablers remain in this country,” Mr. Farber said.

“They are the men without whom the Nazis could not have done their bloody work. And when they came to Canada to start new lives, they lied about their wartime activities in order to gain the precious privilege of Canadian citizenship.”

The six men are Helmut Oberlander, 82; Vladimir Katriuk, 85; Wasyl Odynsky, 83; Jacob Fast, 96; Jura Skomatchuk, 85; and Josef Furman, 86. During their court hearings, most of the men said they were forced as teenagers to help the Nazis.

Two, Mr. Katriuk and Mr. Fast, are alleged to have been Nazi collaborators. Mr. Odynsky, Mr. Skomatchuk and Mr. Furman are alleged to have been guards at SS forced-labour camps. And Mr. Oberlander is alleged to have been a translator for a Nazi killing unit. None have been proven to have committed atrocities directly.

Mr. Oberlander has been the subject of three separate investigations, his lawyer Eric Hafemann said on Tuesday. All three concluded that there was no evidence to link him to war crimes, he added.

The German government, which conducted the first investigation in 1970, “came to the conclusion that he had been forcibly taken at the age of 17 from his home and given various assignments as an interpreter,” Mr. Hafemann said.

Similar rulings were found in regard to the other men.

But Ian Sadinski of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa told the press conference that Canada should offer no haven to alleged enablers of genocide.

“Killing machines depend not only on the hands that guide them but also on the cogs that move and mesh and yield death as their product,” he said.

Miloslav Slavchev of the Roma Community Centre agreed.

“The Roma community will support these actions, even though [the men are] not charged with war crimes,” Mr. Slavchev said. “They have lied to immigration when they have come to Canada and they have applied for [residency] and they have lied.”

Jean-Paul Nyilinkwaya, the director of media and public relations for PAGE-Rwanda, said “the only reason why you lie about your past is because you have something to hide.”

If Canada does nothing about these men, said Mr. Farber, “What does that say about those war criminals who today are looking for safe haven? Why would they not look at Canada?”

[W.Z. See my previous comments on the 26Jan2007 G&M article by Ms. Galloway

I am surprised that Miloslav Slavchev (Roma-Gypsy community), Jean-Paul Nyilinkwaya (Rwanda), and (perhaps) the Armenian National Committee would so easily sell their souls to the Holocaust Industry. Are these people proposing that the federal government institute a witch hunt for immigrants from their community, who may have lied during their immigration procedures to Canada?

Of some 103 comments to this story posted by the Globe and Mail, the following by Michael Kulyk best sums up the issue: ]

Michael Kulyk from Cawaja Beach, Canada writes: This type of "deportation" while linking people to Nazi atrocities is EXACTLY the reason why any and all alleged war criminals should be tried in Canada, under Canadian rules of evidence and using Canadian judges.

The Jewish community was, and still is, against this type of criminal procedure, choosing instead to support copying the U.S. system of deportation, which is a civil legal matter and NOT a criminal one. The rules in a civil proceeding are no where near as strict as those in a criminal one.

I can't imagine why the Jewish community would be AGAINST bringing alleged Nazi (or any) war criminals to a criminal trial in Canada, and if found guilty, serving time in a Canadian jail. It boggles the mind.

Instead we have an obviously inept system, that doles out "justice" by deporting old men that lied on their immigration papers for being translators when they were 17 years old.

Would not justice be better served if any and all war criminals were brought to justice in Canada, rather than dumping our "alleged" war criminals (let's remember they weren't found guilty of any war crime or related activity) on someone else's doorstep?

The Canadian government needs to settle this issue by bringing any and all war criminals to justice in Canada and according to Canadian rules of jurisprudence, and stop this stupidity of deportation veiled as "justice."

In my Canada, you're innocent until proven guilty, not deported because somebody thinks maybe you are.

Posted 31/01/07 at 11:00 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment