Thursday, May 24, 2007

2 Ontario Men Lose Citizenship For Lying About Nazi Pasts


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (North): The Canadian government stripped two Ontario men of their citizenship Thursday, saying they lied about their Nazi ties when they came to Canada after the Second World War.

"These cases have been under consideration for a very long time," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement. "Due process was followed according to the laws of Canada. It's time to move forward."

Both men — Helmut Oberlander of Kitchener and Jacob Fast of St. Catharines — can have the government's decision reviewed by the Federal Court. The decision puts them at risk for deportation. Immigration Minister Diane Finley has the final say on whether they are deported or not. Both men have been involved in lengthy citizenship battles.

In 2000, the Federal Court ruled that Oberlander didn't reveal his involvement with a notorious mobile Nazi police unit when he immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1954. The mobile unit, called the Einsatzkommando, allegedly killed more than a million people, mostly Jews, in the former Soviet Union. The court found that Oberlander, a retired developer who is in his 80s, was not personally involved in the executions but worked as a translator for the Einsatzkommando.

Fast's case landed in the Federal Court in 2003. The court concluded that when the retired General Motors employee immigrated to Canada in 1947, he lied about his German citizenship and his involvement with a German security police force attached to the notorious Schutzstaffel, or SS. The court didn't find any evidence suggesting Fast, who is now in his 90s, committed war crimes.

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