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Canada’s history of allowing in war criminals reconsidered

The Story


Canada did a reasonably sound job blocking Nazi war criminals entry into our country after the Second World War, says historian Howard Margolian. Margolian is a former historical researcher for the Department of Justice's War Crimes division. He disputes the conventional view that Canada was a safe haven for former Nazi collaborators. Instead, he argues that everything we have believed to be true has been grossly exaggerated, as told in this CBC News report.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: May 11, 2000
Guest(s): Irving Abella, Howard Margolian, David Matas
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Reg Sherren
Duration: 3:00

Did You know?


• Historian Irving Abella critiqued Unauthorized Entry: The Truth about Nazi War Criminals in Canada, 1946-1956 in the Globe and Mail on May 20, 2000. "The arrogant subtitle notwithstanding, this book is an able, though at times infuriating, attempt by a government historian to whitewash Canada's record on admitting Nazi war criminals," Abella wrote.

• On balance, historian Donald Avery found Margolian's book, while not without its faults, a thoroughly researched and well written book, as reviewed in The Beaver, March 2001.

• As of March 31, 2003, Canada successfully completed six Second World War denaturalization cases before the Federal Court of Canada. Individuals were tried for misrepresenting themselves when trying to obtain citizenship. Two other citizens did not fight deportation charges and left the country willingly. Denaturalization charges were denied for three defendants who successfully pleaded their case before the Federal Court of Canada. A total of six alleged war criminals died during their respective denaturalization trials.


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