Kitchener-Waterloo

Helmut Oberlander, ex-Nazi interpreter, loses appeal at Immigration and Refugee Board

Helmut Oberlander of Waterloo, Ont., will now face a deportation hearing after losing an appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Oberlander, 95, is a former Nazi interpreter who has been fighting to retain his Canadian citizenship since 1995.
Helmut Oberlander has said he was forcibly conscripted by the Nazis when he was 17 years old. He has lost his latest appeal and will face a deportation hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board. (CIJA)

Helmut Oberlander, a former Nazi interpreter who is fighting to retain his Canadian citizenship, has lost his appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board and will now move onto a deportation hearing.

Oberlander, 95, of Waterloo, Ont., has been in a legal battle with the federal government since 1995, when the RCMP launched an investigation into his alleged involvement in war crimes during the Second World War. That triggered a process to strip him of his Canadian citizenship. He has challenged the action in various courts.

Conscripted at 17 

Oberlander has maintained he was forcibly conscripted by the Nazis when he was 17 years old. He has never been charged with a crime.

He came to Canada in 1954 and obtained citizenship in 1960. The federal government maintains he obtained citizenship through "false representation or fraud" because he never disclosed his wartime work as an interpreter for the Einsatzkommando. The Nazi unit has been described as a group of killing squads tasked with exterminating Jewish people, intellectuals, Romani and other targeted groups in captured territories of Eastern Europe during the Second World War. Oberlander is not accused of taking part in any executions.

His case can now proceed to an admissibility hearing before the immigration division of the Immigration and Refugee Board to determine whether Oberlander is inadmissible and should be removed from Canada.

In a statement, Martin Sampson, Vice President, Communications at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said "Mr. Oberlander was a member a Nazi killing unit responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews ... he gained access to Canada under false pretences. [Tuesday's] ruling is one step closer to justice for thousands Canadian Holocaust survivors and their descendants and one step closer to his rightful deportation from this country."

A spokesperson for the board says the case will be scheduled "in due course."

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