Screenshot of Thursday's Federal Court decision of Oberlander v. Canada
Sept. 27, 2018
By Daniel Koren
Manager, Media Relations & Communications
B'nai Brith Canada
TORONTO – A former Nazi who illegally gained entry into Canada by lying about his past has lost his appeal to retain his Canadian citizenship.
On Thursday, Justice Michael Phelan maintained that the federal government’s decision to revoke Helmut Oberlander of his Canadian citizenship was “reasonable.”
The government attempted to strip Oberlander of his citizenship on four occasions over the past two decades, with Oberlander successfully appealing the first three. In this latest attempt, the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada was the sole organization granted intervener status to speak on behalf of Holocaust victims.
Acclaimed human-rights lawyer David Matas served as the League’s senior legal counsel in this matter. The League has been involved in the Oberlander case since before the first court decision in 2001.
“This is a very positive decision from the court,” Matas said Thursday. “We are pleased that it appears the court picked up some of our arguments from this and other related interventions. The federal government must now take the next step towards removing Oberlander from Canada immediately.”
Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, echoed his sentiments, saying, “The League intervened in this case to send out a message that justice, however delayed, must ultimately be served, and old age is not a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.
“For decades, Canadians have been haunted by the knowledge that this Nazi found safe haven in our country by lying about his past. Helmut Oberlander has lived a long, peaceful and fulfilling life, something he helped rob from so many innocent victims as a member of a notorious mobile Nazi death squad.”
Oberlander, 94, served as a member of the Einsatzkommando 10a (Ek10a), one of the most savage Nazi killing units responsible for the murder of more than 90,000 Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust.
“There can be no more delays,” Mostyn said. “We call on the federal government to immediately and permanently remove Helmut Oberlander from Canadian soil, before it’s too late.”