March 5, 2019
By Daniel Koren
Manager, Media Relations & Communications
B'nai Brith Canada
WATERLOO, Ont. – Why is Helmut Oberlander still in Canada?
Last November, after the former Nazi lost his fourth appeal against the government’s decision to strip him of his Canadian citizenship, B’nai Brith Canada launched apetition urging Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale to immediately deport him – so justice could finally be served.
“There can be no more delays,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said at the time. “We call on the federal government to immediately and permanently remove Helmut Oberlander from Canadian soil, before it’s too late.”
Oberlander, however, remains in Canada.
Today, four months since his last appeal and two since he stated he’d appeal again, there is no clear date on when Canadians can expect his departure from the country. Human rights expert David Matas, B’nai Brith’s Senior Legal Counsel who has long been involved in the case, called Oberlander’s remaining in Canada “a stain” on the country’s commitment to combat crimes against humanity.
“There is nothing legally preventing the government from taking immediate steps to remove Oberlander to Germany,” Matas said. “The government should, without hesitation, take the necessary measures.”
Relying on the ruling from Justice Michael Phelan, who has presided over the Oberlander case, Matas said that, because Oberlander was made a citizen by the Nazi regime in 1944 – for his “exemplary service in assisting those who killed Jews” – Germany would be able to accept him. “Even if Oberlander refuses to apply for a passport, the Government of Canada could ask Germany to issue a single-journey travel warrant because he’s a German citizen,” he said.
B’nai Brith and its advocacy arm, the League for Human Rights, have been active on the Oberlander case since 2001. It received intervenor status for Oberlander’s last appeal on behalf of Holocaust victims, and continues to pursue a just resolution with the government. Oberlander, a former member of the Einsatzkommando 10a, one of the most savage Nazi killing units, gained entry into the country by lying about his history.
“While Public Safety Canada may be following its deportation process, this is a unique case,” Mostyn said.
“There is an urgent timeliness factor here and there can be no more delays. Oberlander must be immediately removed from this country – for the lies he espoused to gain entry, and for his role in the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Jews.”
Please join us in writing to Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, at firstname.lastname@example.org, demanding that Oberlander be immediately removed from Canada.