Former Nazi death squad member Helmut Oberlander dies at age 97


Former Nazi death squad member Helmut Oberlander died during decades of deportation battles with the federal government, and the Jewish rights group never completed his legal story. He urged him to express his dissatisfaction with what he did not do.

Overlander’s family said Thursday that a 97-year-old child died peacefully surrounded by loved ones.

The federal government has stripped Overlander’s citizenship several times. He fought repeatedly in court. Earlier this month, the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Commission began hearings on whether he could stay in the country or return to Germany.

His lawyer, Ronald Poulton, sought to stay in these proceedings, partly because of Overlander’s deterioration in physical and mental health. The case decision maker postponed the process of reviewing the application, but did not date her discovery.

“The justice of great sorrow was never done,” said Michael Levitt, chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the Holocaust Studies Center in Canada.

“What about those who died on the Holocaust in the hands of the Nazis?” Levitt said. “They couldn’t die peacefully in a family-enclosed house. They were deprived of their dignity, their lives, and everything from them.”

He said it was time to close the Overlander chapter and instead remember the Holocaust victims. Former Liberal Party member Levitt also said it was time to look back on the failure of the case.

“To move forward, we need to be much more powerful and promise that our judicial system will be better able to deal with Canadian war criminals,” he said.

Bnai Bliss Canada said it was dissatisfied with Canada’s failure to deport Overlander.

“The peaceful end of Helmut Oberlander on Canadian soil is a detriment to the conscience of our people,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, in a statement.

“In fact, the country closed its doors to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, then allowed some of their torturers to be deported to Canada and did not deport them.”

Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, who has been tracking the Overlander case since the late 1980s, must change the judiciary and immigration system to better deal with suspected war crimes. Stated.

“If we hadn’t changed the law now, all the trials of the last 60 years would have been totally meaningless,” said Farber, who is now chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “He played the system.”

Jeffrey McDonald, a Canadian immigrant, refugee and citizenship spokesman, said the government did not downplay the revocation of citizenship.

He said he was aware of the need for fraud, misrepresentation, or if an individual deliberately concealed a serious situation.

“The proceedings are now over, but the government is determined to deny Canada’s safe haven for those who have committed or are believed to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. “He said in an email.

Overlander, who lived in Waterloo, Ontario, was an interpreter for the Ek10a unit, which was part of a larger group of death squads, most of whom killed more than 2 million Jews from 1941 to 1943. Served.

He said he had never been drafted as a teenager on death threats and participated in the murder.

Overlander arrived in Canada in 1954 and became a Canadian citizen six years later, but did not reveal his wartime experience at the time of entry or application for citizenship.

In June 2017, the federal government revoked Canada’s citizenship for the fourth overlander since the mid-1990s. It claimed that Overlander was involved in war crimes by belonging to the death squad.

The court repeatedly agreed that Overlander’s citizenship should be revoked because he lied about joining the Nazi squad.

Paul Daily, chair of the University of Ottawa’s Administrative Law and Governance Research Committee, said the case was unusual because Overlander held Canadian citizenship and was given the right to fight government revocation efforts in court. Said.

Crimes against humanity are often revealed during the process of citizenship approval by the Immigration and Refugee Commission, Daily said. He said the agency has its own faster proceedings and review process.

“Mr. Overlander is a Canadian citizen and his citizenship has been revoked, so it’s quite different and he has the legal right to challenge the revocation,” said Daily.

In late 2019, the Supreme Court rejected Overlander’s proceedings.

It set the stage for his immigration tolerance hearing a few weeks ago. He tried to keep the people out of those proceedings but was unsuccessful.

The Immigration and Refugee Commission said Overlander’s lawyer reported that his client had died on Monday. A spokeswoman for the board said the immigration minister had agreed to end the tolerance hearing in light of Overlander’s death.

Liam Casey

Canadian press