Friday , April 23 2021

Helmut Oberlander tries to clear past citizenship appeal of Nazi unity | Canada | News

TORONTO (AP) – An elderly man has thrown yet another challenge to his loss of citizenship and potential deportation for lying to Canadian authorities about his participation in a Nazi death squad during World War II.

Helmut Oberlander's notice of appeal comes despite a federal court judge recently ruling that Ottawa acted reasonably in the case and limited its ability to appeal.

Oberlander, 94, of Waterloo, Ontario, refused on Friday to discuss the appeal this week, so that the legal grounds of his action were not immediately apparent.

However, in a letter sent to the court, the federal government made it clear that it opposes filing. The letter further requests that the record of the Federal Court of Appeal forward the appeal to the court for review.

Oberlander, who came to Canada in 1954 and became a citizen six years later, claimed that he was only 17 when he was forced, on pain of execution, to join the Nazi death squad Einsatzkommando 10a, known as Ek 10a. The squad was responsible for killing about 100,000 people, mostly Jews.

In June 2017, the government revoked the citizenship of the retired businessman for the fourth time since the mid-1990s, which motivated his current effort to avoid deportation.

Earlier this month, Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan suspended the earlier ruling that the government had been wise in removing Oberlander citizenship. Phelan discovered that Oberlander had misrepresented his war activities, although there was no evidence that he was involved in any atrocities.

"It is undisputed that Oberlander obtained his Canadian citizenship for false representation or for intentionally concealing material circumstances, failing to publicize SS involvement at the time of his immigration screening," Phelan wrote. "There is no doubt that having done so would have resulted in the rejection of your application for citizenship."

Phelan also refused to "certify a serious matter of general importance" that would have allowed the Oberlander to appeal the merits of the decision itself under the immigration law.

Oberlander may still be able to persuade the Federal Court of Appeal to hear the case based out of the Immigration Act, but the higher court usually hears only a fraction of the cases decided by the Federal Court.

In September, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Canada should never be a "safe haven for war criminals and people accused of crimes, who have committed crimes against humanity."

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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