Former Nazi death-squad member Helmut Oberlander dead at 97 News Staff

Former Nazi death-squad member Helmut Oberlander has died in the midst of his Canadian deportation hearing.

His family says the 97-year-old died peacefully in his home “surrounded by loved ones.”

A lawyer for Oberlander recently asked the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada for an adjournment in a hearing on whether Oberlander could remain in Canada or be deported to Germany.

Oberlander, who had been living in Waterloo, Ont., was a member of a Nazi death squad that operated behind the German army’s front line in the eastern occupied territories during the Second World War.

He said he was conscripted into duty as a teenager on threat of death and that he never participated in any killings.

Oberlander served from 1941 to 1943 as an interpreter with the Ek 10a unit, which was responsible for killing more than two million people, most of them Jews.

He arrived in Canada in 1954 and became a Canadian citizen six years later, but he did not disclose his wartime experience to his new country.

In June 2017, the federal government revoked Oberlander’s Canadian citizenship for the fourth time since the mid-1990s.

Oberlander’s lawyer, Ronald Poulton, had previously told the board that his client’s health was declining and he was not expected to survive much beyond the summer.

Jewish community group frustrated Oberlander wasn’t deported

A Canadian Jewish community group is frustrated that the naxi collaborator was allowed to peacefully pass and wasn’t deported before that happened.

The B’nai Brith says it had demanded urgency from Ottawa, but the government didn’t act swiftly enough in the case.

“The peaceful demise of Helmut Oberlander on Canadian soil is a stain on our national conscience,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.

“The fact is that this country slammed its doors on Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, then allowed some of their tormentors into Canada and failed to deport them.”

David Matas, the group’s senior legal counsel, says this case was a sorry one.

“The delays in these cases were unconscionable. The result was justice for victims of the crimes addressed in these cases was denied,” Matas said.

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