Nov. 8, 2018
By Daniel Koren & Marty York
B’nai Brith Canada
TORONTO – A day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized in the House of Commons for Canada’s failures toward Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, the federal government is now in position to deport Nazi Helmut Oberlander.
B’nai Brith Canada is urging the government to act on this opportunity – immediately. To sign our petition demanding swift government action, click here.
A Federal Court judge ruled Wednesday that the government was indeed “reasonable” in stripping Oberlander’s Canadian citizenship.
“What this means is that Oberlander can no longer appeal,” said David Matas, B’nai Brith Canada’s senior legal counsel. “It’s in the hands of the government right now and it should be taking steps to have Oberlander deported immediately.
“This litigation has gone on for an excruciatingly long time. There is now no excuse for the government to prolong the deportation of this Nazi. All litigation options [by Oberlander] have been exhausted.
“It’s unconscionable that this has gone on for so long.”
The Canadian government attempted to strip Oberlander of his citizenship on four occasions since 1995, with Oberlander successfully appealing the first three. In this latest attempt, the League for Human Rights, B’nai Brith Canada’s advocacy arm, represented by Matas, was the sole organization granted intervener status to speak on behalf of Holocaust victims and survivors.
The League has been involved in the Oberlander case since before the first court decision in 2001.
Oberlander, 94, was 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.
“It is uncontested that Oberlander obtained his Canadian citizenship by false representation or by knowingly concealing material circumstances by failing to disclose involvement in the SS at the time of his immigration screening,” Justice Michael Phelan ruled in September. “There is no doubt that to have done so would have resulted in the rejection of his citizenship application.”
Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, is calling on Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale to ensure Oberlander is deported without delay.
“Just yesterday [Wednesday], Prime Minister Trudeau apologized for Canada’s epic failure on the MS St. Louis in 1939,” Mostyn said. “Now, and I stress the need for immediate action, our government must do the right thing and remove this Nazi from our country right away.”
On Monday, Mostyn penned an op-ed in the National Post in which he also urged the government to develop a national action plan to combat antisemitism and officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
From Nov. 27 through Nov. 29, Matas will participate in the IHRA Plenary Assembly in Ferrara, Italy as B’nai Brith Canada’s delegate to the international body.
To sign our petition demanding that Oberlander be immediately removed from Canada, click here.