||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
15 February 1924 |
Halbstadt, Ukraine, Soviet Union
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Helmut Oberlander (born 15 February 1924) is a former Canadian citizen who has had his citizenship revoked by the Government of Canada. He is on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals.
As an ethnic German born and living in Ukraine during World War II, he was conscripted into the German forces at the age of 17 to serve as an interpreter for the EK10A (Einsatzkommando) when they entered Ukraine in 1941. His duties included listening to and translating Russian radio transmissions, acting as an interpreter during interactions between the military and the local population, and the guarding of military supplies.
The Federal Court of Canada, in Oberlander v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009 FCA 330 (CanLII) determined that Oberlander was part of the Ek 10a during World War II. The court found that the Ek 10a operated behind the German army’s front line in the Eastern occupied territories. It was part of a force responsible for killing more than two million people, most of whom were civilians and largely Jewish. The Federal Court of Canada characterized the group as a death squad. According to the Federal Court, from 1941 to 1943, Oberlander served with the Ek 10a as an interpreter and an auxiliary. In addition to interpreting, he was tasked with finding and protecting food and polishing boots. He lived, ate, travelled and worked full time with the Ek 10a. From 1943 to 1944, he served as an infantryman in the German army.
In Oberlander v. Canada, the Federal Court also found that in 1954, Oberlander and his wife immigrated to Canada, they had two daughters. Oberlander became a Canadian citizen in 1960. The Federal Court of Canada conclusively decided that Oberlander did not disclose his wartime experience to Canadian officers when he applied to come to Canada, when he entered Canada, or when he applied for Canadian citizenship. On this basis, the Federal Court stripped Oberlander of his Canadian Citizenship.
Life in Canada
Oberlander immigrated to Canada with his wife Margaret in 1954, where he ran a construction business and lived in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He became a Canadian citizen in 1960. In 1995 the Government of Canada initiated a denaturalization and deportation process against him. On 28 February 2000, Judge Andrew MacKay reported his findings: he concluded that there is no evidence that Oberlander was involved, directly or indirectly, in committing any war crimes or any crimes against humanity. He might not have, however, disclosed his wartime record during his immigration interview in 1953 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Government of Canada determined that withholding this information was sufficient reason to strip Oberlander of his Canadian Citizenship. Andrew Telegdi who was Oberlander's Member of Parliament, and who was at the time parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Citizenship of Immigration, resigned from that position in objection to this decision, arguing that the issue of deportation should be one decided by the courts, not by parliament. In October 2008 the government revoked his citizenship. In November 2009 the Federal Court of Appeal struck down this decision thus reinstating his citizenship. In 2012 Oberlander was again stripped of his citizenship and remains a non-citizen.
- Mutimer, David (17 April 2007). Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs. University of Toronto Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 9780802092359. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- "Oberlander was not a Nazi: daughter". Toronto Star. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- "Three new names on Wiesenthal Center's most-wanted Nazi list have Canadian links". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Petrou, Michael (31 October 2008). "War Criminals Old and New – The World Desk – Macleans.ca". Maclean's. Retrieved 9 September 2012.