Hamilton Spectator | 29Jun2006 | Paul Legall

Nazi case adjourned

'Dangerous' to rely on war documents

ST. CATHARINES (Jun 29, 2006)
The Crown is relying heavily on Russian documents to prove two Ukrainian Canadians were Nazi collaborators working as death camp guards during the Second World War.

But the defence says the documents have limited value.

During a trial in federal court, the government has argued their Canadian citizenship should be revoked for concealing their wartime activities.

The case against Jura Skomatchuk, 85, of St. Catharines, and Josef Furman, 87, of Edmonton, is based mainly on lists with the names of Nazi concentration camp guards.

The Soviet army seized the documents in the German-occupied zones in 1945 and they are now in the Russian archives in Moscow.

Based on guard transfer lists, where his name appears, it's alleged Skomatchuk was working at a Polish death camp when 12,000 Jews were shot to death in trenches during the infamous Operation Harvest Festival on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, 1943.

From the transfer lists, the government has also concluded Furman was among a contingent of guards dispatched to the Warsaw ghetto and other areas in Poland to round up Jews and put them on trains to the extermination camps.

In his final submissions yesterday, defence lawyer Eric Hafemann told Justice Judith Snider it would be dangerous to rely on documents from one of the most "brutal" regimes in modern history.

He noted there are no live witnesses who saw them in the death camps. The Crown hasn't produced any picture identification that would have been issued.

The Crown has also alleged that Furman's real name is Josef Furmanchuk and that he changed his name before immigrating to Canada. They also submit he concealed this fact when he was questioned by immigration officials. He arrived in Canada from Germany in 1949 and became a Canadian in 1957. Skomatchuk arrived in 1952 and was later granted citizenship.

The judge also heard there were various spellings of Furmanchuk in the guard transfers list, although the identification number remains the same.

During examination for discovery before the trial, Furman said he was conscripted into the Soviet army during the war, captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war. He denied changing his name or working as a death camp guard.

In his own documents from the 1940s that he produced for the court, he's always identified as Furman. But he doesn't mention his service with the Soviet army or that he was a prisoner of war. In 1947, he told an international relief agency he worked on farms in Germany as a forced labourer. He named two farmers who employed him.

Snider adjourned the case indefinitely before rendering the decision.

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[W.Z. The Skomatchuk/Furman civil trial is over. No evidence of individual war criminality attributed to either of the accused victims was presented -- or even alleged. Now, all that is left is for Judge Judith Snider to write her "judgment". If the actions of Judge Marc Nadon in the Vladimir Katriuk case and Judge Andrew MacKay in the Wasyl Odynsky and Helmut Oberlander cases is precedent setting, Mrs. Snider will procrastinate for about a year before submitting it. In the interim, she will undergo "sensitivity training" to ensure an "appropriate" verdict. We do not know why the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada, Allan Lutfy, who ruled against Serge Kisluk before being elevated to his present position, chose Mrs. Snider to be the judge in this case.

Chalk up another victory for the Holocaust Industry. They have succeeded in harnessing the Canadian courts and utilizing taxpayers' money to promote a distorted picture of the realities of WWII. Once again Jews are presented as "victims" and Ukrainians are presented as "victimizers". These cases and their media coverage never highlight the fact that more Ukrainians than Jews died in WWII and that Ukrainian society was traumatized to as great an extent as Jewish society during these terrible times. There was no one at the Skomatchuk/Furman trial to present the Ukrainian point of view and to protect Ukrainian interests.

The news media once again misrepresents the real issues. For example, in the article above, weasel-words such as Nazi, Nazi collaborators, death camp, extermination camp, etc. are liberally used to promote an aura of horror. This is just backroom drama. According to the discredited d&d process (which fraudulently equates immigration infractions to war criminality), the only issue that Judge Judith Snider must consider is whether "on a balance of probabilities" she believes that Mssrs. Skomatchuk/Furman "lied" to gain their Canadian citizenship. She does not even have to consider if these alleged "lies" are somehow relevant to Canadian society.]