The Role of Post-War Immigration Security
in Canadian War Crimes Trials

Robert H. Keyserlingk, Ph.D., Professor of History (ret.), University of Ottawa


            This paper does not focus on the complex legal and political issues surrounding what are termed war crimes trials in Canada. Instead, it tries to penetrate the cloud of confusion about how well or how badly Canadian immigration security screening overseas functioned in the late 1940s. Was it, as the government has claimed, a uniform and effective system, rigorously rejecting all war criminals or collaborators as a matter of course?[1] Or was it rather jerry-built and porous, attempting as best it could to cope with the rapidly changing and chaotic period of postwar immigration?[2] More war crimes cases have been won or lost on this issue than on any other. Upon the answer to this question hang judicial opinions regarding immigration fraud. Only if security screening demonstrated internal integrity, as the government asserts, can immigration fraud be assumed and citizenship revoked.

            Why has the history of postwar immigration security become so critical?  Both routine and the 1982 “inadvertent” mass destruction of immigration files has left the government with almost no documentary evidence those individuals may have committed immigration fraud upon emigrating to Canada.[3]  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) has admitted that the destruction of records “has seriously impaired the ability of the Canadian authorities, notably the R.C.M.P., to investigate and take effective action against war criminals in Canada.”[4]   So the government fell back upon a broad systemic argument that immigration security policy in the late 1940s was clear and uniformly enforced. Screening functioned as a well-oiled machine. The government marshaled its few surviving policy files and testimony from retired immigration and security officers in order to convince judges in these hearings that security screening overseas undoubtedly weeded out all war criminals and collaborators, if they became known.  As it emerged during most hearings that the defendant was involved, usually in an involuntary and non-criminal fashion, in some of the German occupiers’ activities, yet still managed to enter Canada and become a citizen, it follows that he must have hidden or lied about his past, which constitutes immigration fraud.

            The question about the effectiveness of security screening is not an easy one to answer. It represents a complicated historical inquiry, which most busy members of the judicial profession are ill equipped to examine. Prosecution lawyers have made the ruling on this issue with their few remaining policy documents and testimony from government witnesses and retired immigration and security officials. Defence lawyers have not been notably successful in dealing with this subject. Whereas they have usually succeeded in proving their clients were not war criminals or iniquitous collaborators, they would nevertheless end up being convicted of immigration fraud.  Judges have disagreed fiercely about how efficient the security system was. Some have concluded that it functioned faultlessly and was watertight; others that it creaked and leaked. As a result, they have not been able to shine a single light on the subject, but have increased mystification instead.

            Call it cynicism or common sense, but anyone who has observed how large organizations function knows that policy and practice do not always make easy bed companions.[5]  Even an inexperienced observer might find it difficult to believe that a few small, ill-prepared, and overworked Canadian immigration teams operating overseas should be an exception to this insight. These men were dependent upon larger and better-equipped international, national, and private Canadian refugee and employment agencies, which pre-selected immigrants, prepared them for immigration interviews, and often arranged their transport to Canada.  Immigration and security officials administered constantly changing programmes in a ruined, divided post-WWII Europe full of refugees and wracked by the new Cold War. Add to this mix the ingrained discretionary nature of immigration admission decisions and the suspicion deepens.  Policy and practice could not remain standard and uniform, but suffered major shifts and defects.  Cracks appeared from the beginning. The system leaked.  

            The core of the paper undertakes to investigate postwar immigration security screening’s touted systemic integrity.  Following a short introductory section on judges as historians and the move from criminal trials to civil law immigration fraud hearings, it tackles critical background factors behind immigration operations such as the dearth of information available about wartime conditions in Europe, the emergence of the Cold War, and Canada’s general disinterest in WWII war crimes. It then moves to screening’s operational weaknesses including staffing problems, the changing immigration programme, and uneven admission decisions. The investigation ends in 1950, when Germans were again allowed into Canada, at first on a limited basis and shortly thereafter almost without restrictions. During the 1950s, German nationals, members of the Nazi Party, the military, and finally even of the SS legally immigrated to Canada.[6]          

            Evidence for the paper’s thesis comes from government files and many excellent studies about Canadian immigration.  Among these sources are two essential autobiographies by ex-deputy ministers of immigration, Hugh Keenleyside and Tom Kent, who agreed that immigration screening was imperfect.  Joseph Robillard, who opened the Rome, Austrian, Maltese and Belgian Canadian immigration offices and became Chief of the Immigration Mission in Germany and Austria during this period, is another crucial witness.  His testimony before the 1985-87 Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals makes many of the same points as the deputy ministers.   One of the anomalies in these trials is the almost complete silence about what was without a doubt the most competent investigation in Canada of war criminals and immigration screening, namely the Deschênes Commission. Mr. Justice Jules Deschênes was given the time and formidable research resources over almost two years to study these questions in an extraordinarily concentrated manner.  He had unlimited access to government archives and departmental documents, interviewing many of the officials in leadership and operational positions during the early postwar immigration movements who have since passed away. This study leans heavily on Justice Deschênes’ evidence and conclusions.[7]  

Judges as Historians

            In many ways, all legal trials and hearings are historical recreations.  However, judges are not given the time and tools to plumb complex historical questions.  They are not free to follow their own research instincts. They are constrained by the specific charges, legal strategies, and information led.  The end product, unsurprisingly, is liable to be deficient.  Judges in these immigration fraud hearings have not been able to agree among themselves about how well or how badly the postwar Canadian immigration security system overseas worked. Because these civil law hearings do not create precedents which tie other judges’ hands, each individual judge has been free to make up his own mind about the evidence and the security system.  He may agree or disagree with his colleagues as he chooses.

            For an outside observer, one of the chief surprises about these trials is how much weight the paltry amount of relevant documentary evidence available is given by many judges. As noted above, almost nothing remains in the government’s archives of any value except for a few typical policy documents upon which judges are asked to evaluate official practice and individual innocence or guilt. They of course have little choice but to work with the evidence presented them. Many decide to accept “on the basis of probability” that the meager policy evidence and testimony led by the government suffices to make the case for security screening’s systemic integrity and therefore an individual’s immigration fraud. They jump to the assumption that a general policy must have been implemented as regards individuals. Historians of institutions know only too well that such policy documents are at the most indications, but are of little value as regards universal practice and individual cases. It is not possible to follow in detail or with continuity the twists and turns of policy development.  The question whether a policy was faithfully applied by officials is unanswerable with any certainty because it is exactly the day-to-day operational files that have disappeared. 

            Even stranger is the claim by prosecutors that the actual absence of documentation argues in favour of a policy’s implementation because nothing to the contrary can today be found in the archives. As the following example shows, some judges have accepted this jump in logic:

Nevertheless, there is no evidence of a negative response from Ottawa to Kelly’s restatement of the Reasons for Rejection which he requested be commented upon before proposed distribution of his statement as guidance for his officers in Europe … If it were not acceptable for that purpose it would be expected that Ottawa would have objected to it … There is no record of any objection ... There is no evidence of any change in the process that would render his evidence irrelevant with respect to the process generally followed.[8]

This statement takes far too much for granted.  It is not convincing.  The non-existence of archival evidence cannot rule out that other papers, now no longer in the files, once outlined problems with or deviations from the policy. Documentary black holes only indicate that there is nothing more on the topic to be found today. In summary, inadequate archival documentation has not always been properly evaluated by judges exercising necessary caution.

            Similarly, testimony by retired R.C.M.P. and immigration officers has been effective in convincing some judges about security screening’s smooth functioning as a system and therefore in individual cases. This despite the fact that witnesses admit to not having had direct contact with or knowledge about the individual on trial. Some of the witnesses were not involved in practical screening themselves or were not even active overseas at the time they testified about.  Yet their evidence about the unparalleled effectiveness of security screening in the late 1940s is usually adopted by the judges. As any researcher knows, memories and autobiographies are at the best of times to be taken with a grain of salt. But this is not the case for many judges, who in the absence of conflicting historical evidence presented by defense lawyers, chose to give the government the benefit of their doubt.

            The resulting confusion is exemplified by the following three dramatically different opinions arrived at by federal court judges, who hear these cases.  Some have chosen to uphold the government’s position in favour of systemic integrity:

Canada had a standard immigration process that was followed in Europe at the relevant period of time [1946] when [Respondent] R applied to the IRO [International Refugee Organization] for resettlement in Canada … R would have gone through this process before he received his visa notwithstanding the destruction of many of the original documents … All displaced persons were asked in detail about their activities during the war years and occupations were concentrated upon [sic] so it could be determined exactly what people did during the war.[9]

Other judges have taken the completely opposite view:

There was an absence of uniform procedure with regard to screening out collaborators …  there was no evidence on the practice of visa officers asking about R’s activities … admission to Canada  … was discretionary on the part of the visa control officer … the Minister failed to prove there was a uniform application of the concept of collaborator.[10]

Yet another judge ruled against the government, but on quite different grounds.  He found that the whole process of postwar security screening overseas had been illegal:

The question as to the existence of authority under which security screening was being conducted was a matter of concern from the very beginning of the security screening program to 1950. At no time was it suggested that P.C. 1947-2180 or any other order in council in force during that period provided the required authority … in July 1948 there was no authority under the Immigration Act and the orders in council passed thereunder to reject prospective immigrants on the ground that they had collaborated with the enemy.”[11]

Such a wide disparity of historical interpretation among judges does little to answer the difficult question about the quality of the postwar immigration security system posed at these trials.  The judges’ conflicting conclusions on this issue risk turning them into mere personal and anecdotal opinions.

From Criminal Trials to Civil Hearings

            Canadians long remained uninterested in the post-WWII immigrants’ wartime activities. They believed that these immigrants must have been diligently screened overseas before entry.  Most settled successfully into new lives and raised families in Canada. The Cold War quickly pushed WWII into the background.

             However, in the 1970s a renewed interest in the Holocaust and wartime atrocities began to emerge. The United States adopted the 1978 Holtzmann amendment to its U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, which allowed for deportation in cases of alleged Nazi crimes. Canada reacted as well, if more slowly.   That same year Member of Parliament Robert Kaplan introduced a bill in the Canadian Parliament respecting possible war criminals in Canada. The next year, when he became Solicitor General in charge of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.), he created an interdepartmental committee to look into the issue.  It was not until the mid-1980s that the government, responding to new domestic pressures, opened its first official inquiry into the presence of war criminals in Canada. Called the Deschênes Commission after its chairman, this inquiry identified several possible war criminals and recommended prosecution under Canadian criminal law.

            The Canadian public supported the principle that war criminals should be punished.  In 1987 the Canadian government adopted Justice Deschênes’ recommendations regarding criminal trials. It had earlier adopted United Nation’s international law on war criminality in principle and now the Canadian Criminal Code was amended to allow for prosecution of war criminals, a policy accepted by almost all Canadians.[12] According to the amended Canadian criminal code, war criminality was to be proven according to both international and domestic standards. Four war criminal trials were initiated.  These criminal trials proved to be more complex and slower than expected and did not produce the hoped-for guilty verdicts.[13]  Five years ago Canada adopted a new war crimes law which again permits prosecution under the criminal code.  However, this law is not employed in the denaturalization and deportation cases here under review.[14] 

            The government was faced with a crisis as it was not able to demonstrate successful prosecution of war criminals. Consequently, in the mid-1990s it decided to move away from criminal prosecution. The government changed its legal strategy by transferring the matter to hearings under the Canada Citizenship Act.[15]  This new policy removed the main responsibility from the Minister of Justice and handed it to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The question was no longer the narrower one of individual war criminality, but became the broader one of war criminality and immigration fraud. Although publicly termed war crimes trials, these were not trials. Rather they were hearings adjudicated by a federal court judge sitting alone. His role was similar to that of a commissioner on an inquiry; a fact-finding exercise resulting in a report. The civil law procedure allowed for a lower standard of evidence and decisions based on the “balance of probabilities” test rather than the stricter “beyond a reasonable doubt” test of criminal law.  Upon completion of the hearing, the judge’s report goes to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, who can, if he so decides, take it to cabinet for a decision about citizenship revocation and deportation. Neither the judge’s report nor cabinet’s decision through an Order-in Council to revoke citizenship may be appealed.[16]

            The government has publicly insisted from the outset that the new civil law hearings were being deployed to better weed out WWII war criminals.  “The key criterion in all these proceedings is the existence of some evidence of individual criminality.  If that cannot be proven, no proceedings will be considered.”[17]  Official war crimes reports continue to project this notion: “The government pursues only those cases for which there is evidence of direct involvement or complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity.”[18]  In 2004  Justice Minister Irwin Cotler stated that “he wants to put the world on notice” that one of his main priorities is to push for war criminals to be brought to justice at home and abroad, including suspected Nazi war criminals who are now living quiet lives in Canada.[19]   However, the fact is that the government has continued to pursue defendants for immigration fraud, who were found during the hearing to be innocent of war criminality or criminal collaboration. The Justice Department has not produced statistics, which distinguish between war crimes and non-criminal collaboration, but has claimed that adverse immigration fraud reports were war crimes victories.[20]  The public was generally not aware that there existed a distinction between war criminality and immigration fraud, but continued to believe that those found guilty of immigration fraud were in fact war criminals. Public reporting usually conflates immigration fraud and war crimes.[21] 

            Courts have judged the great majority of defendants in these hearings innocent of war criminality.  In acquitting them of war crimes, the judges have usually concluded that they were non-criminal and involuntary collaborators. Judges often have understood how widespread collaboration was with the German occupiers, especially in Eastern Europe, for reasons of compulsion, survival or anti-Soviet fears. However, no matter how enforced and non-criminal the collaboration, the fact of collaboration was enough to give the government a second strike at the defendant under the Citizenship Act.  As all collaborators were forbidden entry to Canada under administrative immigration regulations in force at that time, the government contended, a defendant must have hidden or lied about his wartime past in order to enter Canada.[22]  This argument brings into play the systemic issue about security screening to be discussed in more detail below. 

             Despite operating under laxer civil law standards and the wider charge of immigration fraud, the government has still not been able to produce many successes.  Of the over 1700 files examined by the Department of Justice since 1995, only twenty-one have come to trial.   Six defendants died after prosecutions were launched, and two left Canada voluntarily.[23]  In three cases, judges freed the defendants.[24] Eight other defendants were found guilty of immigration fraud “on the balance of probabilities”, two for war crimes, the other six for non-criminal collaboration.[25]  Defence lawyers have clearly had more success with the issue of war criminality than with immigration fraud. No one has yet been deported.[26]  Two cases are still ongoing.

            As noted above, the Canada Citizenship Act does not allow immigration hearings’ reports and revocations of citizenship decisions to be appealed. However, one defendant found to have been an involuntary collaborator but also guilty of immigration fraud, Helmut Oberlander, managed to have an appeal heard in the Superior Court of Ontario. The judge accepted the application as a new one, assumed jurisdiction, and ruled on the merits of the case in favour of Oberlander.[27]

            When it was discovered that not the whole cabinet but a subcommittee of four cabinet members, who included the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the prosecuting Attorney-General, took the citizenship revocation decision, Oberlander’s lawyer became convinced that the procedure would be declared unconstitutional if challenged under the Canadian Charter of Rights. A three-judge federal appeals court did not deal with the Charter question, but allowed an appeal by way of judicial review. It ruled unanimously in Oberlander’s favour and against the government. It recognized as a principle right that citizenship is one of a person’s most prized possessions. The government had not followed its own guidelines of fairness in revoking Oberlander’s citizenship. According to its own official policy, cabinet could not apply revocation of citizenship to persons unless it first satisfies itself that “there is evidence of direct involvement in or complicity of war crimes or crimes against humanity.” If none is found, further prosecution is not warranted. The court questioned the propriety of the secret subcommittee of cabinet revocation procedure, which it labeled “unreasonable”.    Costs were awarded to Oberlander and his citizenship was restored.

             The government appealed this decision, but the Divisional Court refused to hear it. The government did not appeal this decision to the Supreme Court within the ninety days allotted. The minister could still try again for Oberlander’s citizenship revocation, but would have to do so respecting the tough conditions set by the federal appeals court. What effect this decision will have on these immigration fraud hearings is unclear, although new cases have been initiated.[28]

            This terminates the introductory section of the paper and opens the main historical question concerning postwar security screening’s effectiveness.  The following sections outline some of the general conditions, which adversely affected screening operations overseas.

Post-War Information Gaps

             In the late 1940s there existed almost no hard information about what had gone on in wartime Europe, especially in Eastern Europe. Allied military intelligence had demonstrated limited analytical skills during the war, while the continent was closed to it and after the war its information was put aside when these organizations were closed down.  It is true that the Nazis left massive deposits of records, but these papers were still dispersed and undigested. The 1948-49 Nuremberg trials only began the enormously complicated process of organizing this historical material and exposing the Nazi regime on the continent to view.[29]  Eastern Europe continued to remain a closed book because of Soviet occupation there. Had an applicant to Canada from Eastern Europe admitted at his security interview that he had been involved in auxiliary, military, or police activities, there would have been almost no way of checking the information or judging its value, as one might today.

            Whatever was published in the late 1940s about Nazism and the war was still abstract, ideological, and lacking in detail.  Dated general theories equating Nazism with German nationalism, Prussian militarism or over-developed capitalism dominated in the field. Most of these have since been thankfully consigned to oblivion.[30]  Any serious research into Nazism and its wartime activities only began to see the light of day in the 1950s, after most of the Displaced Persons and refugees had long since gone to Canada.[31]  Hard information about atrocities, death camps, and the racial Holocaust in the East was not yet available.  The first significant books on the regime started to appear in the 1960s and 1970s, but even they remained at first mired in ideas or diplomacy.[32]  Detailed studies of Nazi laws, professions, the military, occupation or atrocities, and the SS stem from the 1970s and 1980s.[33]   Debates among historians about both details and conclusions have continued. Nazi racial and imperial policy, especially in the East, constitutes almost a new field of research due to the opening of eastern archives following the fall of communism in the 1990s.[34] Today there exists an immense and still growing secondary literature on the Nazis and WWII, which even specialists in the area find daunting.[35]

            Even had such sophisticated information been available, the relatively unsophisticated R.C.M.P. and immigration visa officers overseas would not generally have been able to absorb much of it. Many of these men were young veterans, who could look back on their own personal wartime experiences. Members of the Department of External Affairs were university educated and given international diplomatic training and experience, but R.C.M.P. and immigration officers were expected to have completed at least ten years of schooling, often broken off by wartime service in the lower ranks of the armed forces. As will be discussed in more detail below, their jobs were rated at the clerical level.[36]

            Most of the wartime information about occupied Europe collated by the Allied war crimes agencies during WWII was not available to these officers overseas.  As noted above, most of it was archived at the end of the war.[37]  Canadian officials overseas did not possess records and lists of possible war criminals or collaborators. They depended for help in this area on other Allied intelligence sources with all the attendant delays and conflict of priorities. Reliable documentation or data regarding refugees and DPs prior to entry into Germany was almost non-existent even to these other agencies. As a result, officers had to fall back largely on information elicited during interviews. As one R.C.M.P. officer reported back from Germany, “There are so few records available to check against people so I have been interviewing everyone on the list and that to my mind is the only way to screen them.”[38]

The Influence of the Cold War

            A second important factor which points to a radical shift in views about who was now the real enemy stems from the sudden intrusion of the Cold War after 1946.  It diverted attention away from WWII events to the looming Soviet threat. This new historical context is crucial to an understanding of how Canadian immigration security shifted gears in the late 1940s. Two truisms apply here.  The first is that one fights one war at a time, the second states that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. By 1945 German Nazism lay in ruins and no longer presented a threat. The country had surrendered unconditionally. Sovereignty over Germany was assumed by the Allies, who sought to punish major war criminals and divided the country into four military zones of occupation.  However, the wartime alliance between the Soviets and the Western Allies very quickly fell apart. The largely demilitarized Western Allies found themselves outmanned and outgunned by huge Soviet armed forces occupying Eastern Europe and eastern Germany.  It became increasingly obvious that the new menace to the free world came from a powerful and expanding Communism.  This unexpected revolution in Great Power relations overturned wartime notions of who the enemy was.  Immigration security screening priorities necessarily had to move away from concentrating on Nazi affiliations to Communist subversion instead.[39]

            In 1946 evidence became available in Canada of Soviet domestic espionage. As is well known, Soviet Embassy cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko, a major in the Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU), defected to Canadian authorities in 1945 carrying documentary proof of Soviet espionage and subversion in Canada and elsewhere. This sudden discovery awakened Canada and the West to the dangers of Soviet imperial ambitions. Western leaders and publics became deeply worried that the incendiary combination of Soviet military superiority, European economic weakness, and strong domestic Communist movements, especially in France and Italy, might result in Communist takeover attempts.  Czechoslovakia collapsed in just such a Communist coup in 1948.  Soviet-occupied Eastern European countries, including the Eastern Zone of Germany, experienced increasing Communist centralization as the West helplessly looked on.  In 1948-49 the Western Allies narrowly survived the Soviet challenge of the Berlin Blockade.  The 1949 Soviet atom bomb explosion and Communist victory in China stunned the West. In reaction, the Western Allies launched the North Atlantic Pact or NATO, but it long remained a very weak military shield. The next year the outbreak of the Korean War fueled expectations that the same could well happen in the West as well. A cloud of fear and pessimism spread over the West.

Regarding the second truism that new crises make new bedfellows, the West clearly needed all the help in its anti-Soviet stance it could get from whatever source.  In the process ex-enemy alien Germans and those who may have cooperated with them were quickly rehabilitated. Individual German scientists and others deemed important to the new Cold War effort were early-on allowed into Canada and elsewhere on an individual basis.[40]  The wartime German military intelligence organization which had operated on the Eastern front during WWII, informally named after its leader Reinhard Gehlen, was  resurrected and integrated into the Allies’ anti-Soviet intelligence apparatus.  As the four-power occupation of Germany broke down in the face of Soviet intransigence, the Western Allies actively assisted the Germans to move towards western style democracy. In 1949 they welcomed the establishment of a new, strongly anti-Communist (West) German state. The next year a Franco-German coal and steel union was formed to unite Western Europe’s economies. The West pushed the Germans to rearm as quickly as possible in order to fill out the thin ranks of the anti-Communist military forces on the ground.  Western attitudes changed dramatically towards East European refugees. Anti-Soviet West Germans and refugee East Europeans quickly became the West’s allies in the burgeoning Cold War. His Majesty’s ex-enemies, now the enemies of our enemy, became our friends.

            As Professor Whitaker has stated in his ground-breaking study on Canadian immigration security:

 But the Cold War would soon shift the political grounds from the wartime emphasis on the evils of Nazism towards new criteria for what was politically unacceptable [communism].[41] 

David Matas and Susan Charendorff agreed that Canada was “far more concerned -- indeed, obsessed -- with screening out Communist sympathizers than suspected war criminals”[42]

Canadian Disinterest in War Criminals

A third factor which guaranteed that security concentration on WWII events would dissipate is located in Canada’s tepid and temporary interest in war guilt. From 1945 to the 1980s Canada did not have an official policy regarding war crimes, and indeed, from 1962 to 1982 it discouraged even private complaints. This fact hardly indicates rousing background support for a strong official immigration security programme focused on WWII war criminals and collaborators.

Among the four wartime allies -- Britain, France, Russia, and especially the United States -- interest in prosecuting war crimes was at first high. The upshot was an extensive denazification programme in the West German zones and the 1948-49 Nuremberg international war crimes trials. However, enthusiasm for these programmes dropped off as the Cold War developed and the West and the Soviets began to compete busily for support from their German populations.  Fairly soon the Allies gave up their search for war criminals.  During the immediate post-1948 period, West Germany, almost alone among western countries, continued to prosecute war crimes.             

Canada’s postwar enthusiasm for prosecuting possible war criminals evaporated even more rapidly than that of the major Allies.  The Nuremberg Tribunal’s Charter stated in Article 10 that competent national authorities could bring individuals to trial for atrocities and membership in criminal wartime organizations.  However, Canada was not a signatory of the 1945 London Agreement under which the Tribunal Charter was adopted.[43]  Canada did not consider itself to be part of or bound by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.[44] Canada’s official definition of a war crime restricted it to acts of war.  In 1945 the government and Parliament defined a war crime, as far as Canada was concerned, as “a violation of the laws and usages of war committed during any war in which Canada has been or may be engaged at any time after the ninth day of September 1939.” Canada’s narrow military definition of war crimes clearly excluded the other two Nuremberg definitions of crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.[45] 

The Canadian armed forces at first held a few public military trials in Aurich, Germany. But they were quickly repatriated home and this military war crimes function was handed over to the British.[46]  The trial and subsequent imprisonment in Canada of S.S. General Kurt Meyer took place under this military rubric and represented the only war crimes trial held in Canada directly after the war. In July 1948 the British Cabinet informed the seven dominions through the Commonwealth Office that Britain would end war crimes trials.[47] Canada showed complete disinterest in the whole issue. It responded shortly to the British notification:  “This is to advise you that Canadian Government has no comment to make.”[48]  And so “the matter of war criminals rapidly disappeared from the Canadian view, whether by coincidence or design. In the forty years which followed WWII, Canada devoted not the slightest energy to the search and prosecution of war criminals.”[49]

Assistant R.C.M.P. Commissioner R. R. Schramm admitted to the mid-1980s Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals that Canada had never bothered to develop a policy regarding war criminality. “Based on the presently available records, no formal policy relating to the investigation of war criminals can be identified for the period between 1945-62.”[50]   In the mid-1970s the R.C.M.P. again acknowledged that “the Force does not conduct investigations into war crimes.”[51]   As late as February 16, 1982, the following question was put to the government of the day in Parliament: “Are attempts being made to track down and/or prosecute former SS, SD, Gestapo or German party members living or suspected of living in Canada?”  The government’s answer was a curt “No.”[52]   When a study submitted to the Deschênes Commission pointed out that the postwar crusading spirit to punish war criminals had been difficult to sustain over a long period of time, the Commission noted wryly:  “This was the truer for Canada, since that “crusading spirit” never formed part of the Canadian heritage...”[53] 

Immigration Staffing Challenges

            In the years following WWII, dedicated Canadian immigration officials overseas carried out a massively successful postwar immigration programme, which brought hundreds of thousands of refugees to Canada’s safe haven.  Working under crisis conditions in a Europe destroyed by war, often without sufficient support from their government, pushed to fill rapidly rising quotas, these officers are rightfully proud of the job they accomplished.  As early as 1948, 40,000 Displaced Persons (DPs) had arrived in Canada, the number rising by 1952 to over 165,000.[54] Between 1945 and 1955, these Canadian officials managed to overcome huge obstacles to bring to Canada over 1.3 million immigrants.[55] 

            Staffing remained a critical problem in the Immigration Branch throughout this postwar period. When Canada cautiously began to re-open its doors to immigration in 1947, severe staffing and budget difficulties confronted the director. How should he best employ the branch’s meager manpower both in Canada and now Europe as well, where new offices were contemplated to process refugees and DPs in Germany?[56]  The Canadian government was not prepared directly after WWII to propose or handle a large influx of immigrants. Until then immigration remained mired as one of thirty branches and sections within the Ministry of Mines and Resources.  James Glen was a weak minister, unrespected by Prime Minister Mackenzie King.  The Immigration Branch at the end of WWII was a backwater still administering restrictive admission policies from the depression era. During the previous fifteen years following the onset of the 1930s depression, the number of personnel in the Immigration Branch had actually shrunk. Its central office was chronically under-staffed and lacked adequate political support and resources.[57] Only in 1950 was a separate Department of Citizenship and Immigration constituted.

            At the end of WWII other federal departments such as External Affairs and Labour grew in size and prestige, but few new candidates were recruited into the stagnant Immigration Branch.[58]  Recruitment of new immigration officials turned into an emergency operation. In line with its traditionally modest staffing standards, Immigration Branch began to fill its ranks with low-ranking personnel without special qualifications or education.[59]  A well-qualified academic observer later wrote that Immigration Branch's cardinal error at that time consisted of taking such a limited view of the requirements of the service and hiring mainly WWII lower rank veterans with less than a high school leaving certificate.  “Some of the internal difficulties encountered by the branch [after WWII] undoubtedly resulted from a lack of experienced officials familiar with Canada and overseas, as well as a scarcity of well-educated applicants for new posts.”[60]  There were a very few exceptions such as Joseph Robillard, later Chief of Immigration in Karlsruhe in the 1950s, who had a law degree from the University of Chicago.

            These young men were rough nuggets, who needed a job quickly. Because of their military background they fitted well into the top-down, centralized immigration organization.  A new candidate began as a grade 2 clerk at a salary of $1,770 and could look forward to a domestic Canadian career path leading possibly to a grade 6 clerk. First postings were border points, where immigration officers still wore policeman-type uniforms and saw themselves as guardians of Canadian integrity.  They were still expected to control rather than facilitate the immigration flow. The career's deficit in prestige and its slow promotion ladder did not attract other types of candidates.[61]  

            The Branch did not create a special overseas immigration service or training apart from a four-month cross-Canada tour to familiarize officers with the country's regions and labour requirements.[62]  As immigration opened up after 1947, these officials were sometimes offered temporary overseas postings, where they operated as members of the country’s first small immigration teams. When they were sent overseas as visa officers, they remained in the clerical grades without diplomatic status. Upon their returned to Canada, they usually reverted to their previous clerical job category. As far as External Affairs officers and Trade Commissioners were concerned, the immigration officials’ routine, clerical type of work put them beneath notice.  Nor were they housed normally in embassies, but in separate buildings closer to transport or industrial centers. Staff shortages remained chronic.[63]

It was only in the late 1950s that the new Department of Citizenship and Immigration undertook to set up a separate Foreign Service Officer category requiring a university education.  This new staffing programme failed at first to retain many of the new candidates because the branch was not yet willing to offer higher job classifications with a more challenging career ladder, better pay, and diplomatic status overseas like that enjoyed by External Affairs officers and Trade Commissioners. Overseas they worked with or under or the older type of immigration officers. Not until the 1960s was an improved immigration Foreign Service staff programme tried again, this time with more success.[64]

 These better-educated Foreign Service Officers, with their deeper knowledge of the complexities of wartime history, foreign languages and geography might have been useful during the difficult DP and refugee emigration to Canada of the late 1940s.  But these men and women were not available at that time. On the other hand, as immigration recruitment overseas in the late 1940s largely dealt with bulk unskilled labour usually pre-selected by other organizations, the lower-level immigration officers at hand were probably as qualified as they needed to be for the product.   These immigration officers functioned as best they could and accomplished their goal of facilitating the movement of large groups of immigrants to Canada.

The Changing Immigration Programme

The Canadian government came under immense domestic pressure after WWII not only to adopt a more humane refugee policy, but gradually also to bring in bulk contractual labour groups.[65] In 1947 Prime Minister Mackenzie King announced emergency measures to aid the resettlement of European refugees, at first on a sponsored basis. At the same time, anxious to avoid the depression, which followed on the heels of WWI, King decided to plan positively for a more prosperous future. His energetic and powerful Minister of Reconstruction, C.D. Howe, forecast excellent prospects for the Canadian economy and an eventual shortage of labour.[66] He soon began to push hard for bulk labour schemes to bring over as many workers as possible.[67]  In order to begin planning for eventual larger numbers of immigrants for Canada’s economic reconstruction, King moved the more liberal minded Hugh Keenleyside from External Affairs to take over as Deputy Minister in the Department of Mines and Natural Resources.  His job was to push a hesitant Immigration Branch to open the doors for both humanitarian and employment reasons.[68] The powerful Inter-departmental Immigration-Labour Committee was established in 1947, which consulted with manufacturing, mining, forestry and agricultural employers and established labour quotas.  Most DPs headed for agricultural work were handled by the Dominion-Provincial Labour Administration under the Department of Labour.

As early as 1946 Canada began to allow a few economic refugees into Canada, at first on a temporary basis but with the possibility that they could apply for residence after a number of years.  In mid-1947 the door opened for refugees without relatives, their selection guided by economic considerations.  In June 1947, the government agreed to admit 5,000 DPs and by September 1948 it had raised the figure to 40,000 annually. Their admission was mainly dependent on good health and the skills needed by Canadian firms.[69]  For several years Canada admitted more DPs than all other countries combined.[70] After 1949 Canadian bulk labour programmes began to loose momentum and then withered away after US President Truman passed the United States’ Displaced Persons Act, which opened up that country to DPs.[71]

Howe’s rapidly rising demand for immigrants soon put the small staff of overseas immigration officials under increasing pressure to fill ever-increasing quotas.  The department was still mired in the restrictive thirties and was badly prepared to realize such a challenging project. The first small immigration teams sent to Germany in 1947 were characterized as itinerant head hunters, moving from one DP camp to another in order to select and process able-bodied refugees like good beef cattle, with a preference for strong young men who could do manual labour and would not be encumbered by aging relatives.  By 1948 five immigration teams were operating in Germany and Austria from the central office in Karlsruhe, Germany -- this figure was raised later to nine. These small ‘flying’ teams were constantly on the move.  Living out of suitcases, they tried their best to interview the increasingly large number of pre-selected DPs needed for bulk labour schemes.  The work was hectic and demanding with the result that turnover among visa officers in Germany was high.[72] 

Immigration officials played an important, if often secondary, role in the selection and processing of the immigrants. DPs were either sponsored or they were pre-selected by the Labour Department, representatives of employers in Canada, or voluntary church groups. Canadian railways and business representatives were brought to Germany and Austria in order to pre-select their preferred skilled or unskilled labour.[73]  For some time, the Department of Labour had more influence in the overseas selection of immigrants than did the Immigration Branch.[74]  Canadian churches had come together in the Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees (CCCRR).  CCCRR’s goal was to select mainly ethnic Germans, who fell outside the International Refugee Organization’s (IRO) refugee mandate.

Despite proscriptions in the immigration regulations against Germans of any sort as enemy aliens, as early as 1946 an order-in-council allowed for the admission of ethnic Germans if they could satisfy the Minister of Mines and Resources that “they were opposed to an enemy government.”[75]  With the concurrence and financial support of the Canadian government, CCCRR took over a number of immigration selection steps overseas regarding these persons. In 1948 the Canadian government actually began to subsidize this work, granting CCCRR $100,000 for ten months to pre-select 700 immigrants a month.[76]   The next year it approved an additional $10,000 a month and recognized CCCRR as a semi-official immigration agency working in conjunction with the Canadian government. CCCRR ran its own overseas missions, which contacted, chose, and presented applicants to immigration teams, provided temporary travel documents, undertook preliminary medical and immigration screening, and even chartered ships. [77]

The first group of Baltic Germans CCCRR brought in, for instance, were six young men, who arrived in Canada as farm labourers in early 1948.  They were then expected to, and did, later sponsor their close relatives and went on to professional and government careers in Canada.  These particular Baltic Germans had another amazing stroke of luck in their campaign to come to Canada. In 1919-20 a certain Major Alexander had been sent to the Baltics (ex-Russian provinces, today Estonia and Latvia) with a British officer corps to lead the local struggle against the Bolsheviks.  He led a motley collection of German and local soldiers and had several well-known Baltic Germans on his staff, who ended up after WWII as refugees in Germany.[78]  After WWII, ex- British Field Marshal and now Earl Alexander became Governor General in Canada and actively assisted in bringing these Baltic Germans to Canada.[79]    Other German and mainly Lutheran groups in Canada sponsored their own relatives or fellow church members.  In this way, over 30,000 mainly ethnic German immigrants were successfully brought to Canada by the Canadian Pacific Railway and CCCRR.[80]

Joseph Robillard, head of the Karlsruhe Immigration Mission and the only immigration officer with diplomatic status, has explained that immigration officers overseas were outnumbered by and were dependent on officials from the IRO and other agencies like CCCRR for information about and pre-selection of applicants.[81]  The United Nations Refugee and Relief Agency (UNRRA), which operated in Europe from 1945 to June 1947 and was replaced by the IRO, had a staff of over 2,000 to administer 600 camps containing almost one million DPs.  IRO ran emigration programmes for persons sponsored by relatives or selected by governments and prospective employers seeking to obtain specific skills.[82]  “The agency [IRO] established special processing and staging camps in which governments, employers and other international agencies with permission to sponsor refugees such as the CCCRR screened, registered, and medically examined the thousands seeking to emigrate from Europe.”[83]  Officials of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) presented pre-selected DP applicants to visiting Canadian immigration teams for the three immigration interviews - (a) medical, (b) security, and (c) immigration.[84]   Between 1948 and 1952, when it closed, the IRO handled 1.7 million refugees.[85]

In these circumstances, it was understandable that these other organizations held much of the initiative in selecting and processing immigrants.  Robillard admitted that his immigration officers more or less rubber-stamped the other agencies’ pre-selections.[86]  Canadian immigration staff in Germany and Austria in the late 1940s remained undersized and was dwarfed by the budgets and size of the huge international refugee organizations with which it cooperated.  At any one time there were only about 20 immigration control (R.C.M.P.) officers, 20 visa (Immigration) officers, 15 medical doctors, and about a dozen Department of Labour officers to administer this mounting torrent of immigrants.[87] 

Pre-selected DPs were interviewed by the roving medical, R.C.M.P. and visa officer immigration teams in the DP camps, while sponsored or independent immigrants were usually summoned to the nearest immigration office. These officials had one of two forms in hand for interviews; sponsors in Canada filled out Form 55, while other individual applicants completed the O.S. (Overseas) 8 form.  Neither had a section on wartime activities nor did they ask for a complete list of past addresses. DPs arrived at their camp interviews with their O.S. 8 immigration application forms already completed by the UNRRA (or later IRO) officer responsible for the Canadian sector.  The applicant would have been unable to fill out his form, as he generally knew no English or French.[88] Possessing none of the linguistic skills necessary to interview foreign applicants themselves, immigration officers were at the mercy of camp or secretarial interpreters, who were obviously not as keen to weed out what was categorized as “undesirables” under Canadian security regulations as they were to facilitate their movement out of camps and overseas. It was well known that UNRRA and IRO staff members continually pressed Canada to accept as many DPs as possible and to hasten their charges out of the camps.  To this end, applicants were generally put forward to the interviewing officers in the best possible light in order to ensure acceptance.[89]

In the view of Deputy Minister, Hugh Keenleyside, visa officers were not always as competent or vigilant as they should have been and often demonstrated poor operational practices. It was as much in the immigration officers’ interests to play along with the other agencies’ liberal attitude so as to fill the ever-expanding quotas from Canada for refugee and immigrant workers.[90]  There is, of course, another side to this story.  When Joseph Robillard took over as Immigration Mission head in Germany and Austria in 1948, Canada doubled its intake of refugees. But to his distress there was little increase in immigration staff overseas.[91] As a result, the time and tools available to an interviewing officer for delving into personal histories were limited. As two competent observers commented, “the rules of admission were less important than the total number of refugees any program would actually admit.”[92]  The visa officer’s main concern was whether, given his cultural background, the applicant possessed the required character and work skills to settle successfully in Canada.  As far as immigration officers were concerned, the main type of deceit practiced by the refugee, church or business organizations had to do with applicants’ educational and work histories in order to fit him into a bulk labour scheme.[93] 

Immigration to Canada was not considered a right but a privilege and someone had to grant or withhold this privilege in individual cases.  Parliament delegated its authority in immigration matters to cabinet, the minister in charge of immigration, and his officials.  The first level of delegation was legislative, which permitted cabinet and the minister to craft orders-in-councils, uncomplicated to change, about rules and regulations and even individual cases.  The minister applied the Act and regulations, drawing up administrative directives for immigration staff.  He could also take decisions in individual cases, which granted exceptions to the Act and regulations.   Decisional discretion was further delegated down the line to immigration officials, who refused or authorized visas overseas and immigration landings on arrival in Canada.

            In practice, immigration decisions were based largely on how an interviewing visa officer, border officer, or Special Inquiries Officer interpreted departmental instructions and judged a candidate. As one expert wrote: “What matters is the opinion formed by an officer as to whether the applicant would be a desirable immigrant … The desirability of an immigrant is not a fact, but a matter of opinion.”[94]  In 1956 the Supreme Court found this delegation of authority to be too broad and therefore illegal because it “left these subordinate officials to decide whom to admit and whom to exclude from Canada.”[95]

Yet the question of immigration officers’ discretionary decision-making power was not solved by this court decision. Regulations and directives still remained opaque and open to interpretation and there still exists no other more objective mechanism to replace the officer’s opinion. 

            This discretionary problem deeply troubled Tom Kent, in 1965 appointed Deputy Minister in the new Department of Manpower and Immigration. He realized full well that the mix of vague immigration policies and the personal element in immigration selection undermined the system’s fairness and objectivity.  Looking backwards over the years, Kent concluded that immigration policy had never been clearly spelled out:

The basic reason why the administration of immigration was over-centralised was that the policy was obscure ... the “rules” that junior officials apply too mechanically are not, in any real sense, policies expressing the program being administered.  They are procedures, made necessary by the lack of definite policies ... To 1966, it was done by a strange mixture of devices. The acceptance of refugees was mostly a series of ad hoc responses to dramatic situations [96]

In practice, any policy was further undercut by immigration officer’s discretionary powers of selection:

… beyond that, the decision lay entirely with the unfettered judgement of the interviewing immigration officer, based on the applicant’s personality and his or her work experience in relation to occupational demands in the area of intended settlement. Indeed, the immigration officer could set aside the  … rule if there was a good reason to think that the immigrant could settle successfully despite having less education. [97]

            Open and scientific selection criteria were needed, in Kent’s view, if the immigration selection process was ever to be put on a more rational footing.  Here lies the origin of the numerical point system giving mathematical values to an applicant’s linguistic abilities, marital status, age, occupation and so on.  “Not the least important aspect of the reform was that the details of the immigration process were for the first time set out in law, as regulations under the statute, instead of being merely administrative directions within the department.”[98] 

What do ex-deputy ministers Keenleyside’s and Kent’s informed views say about the Canadian government’s claim in current war crimes trials that the postwar Canadian immigration security and selection system between 1945 and 1950 had been objective, standard, and water-tight?

Towards an Immigration Security Policy

            At the end of WWII Canada possessed neither a clear security policy nor organization.  Only one half-time R.C.M.P. intelligence operative remained active in Ottawa.[99] If the government was determined to exclude persons with enemy backgrounds, there existed no provision for their screening. The first postwar security operation consisted of an informal domestic screening in 1945. At that time the government authorized permanent residence for persons sent as “potentially dangerous enemy aliens” to Canada after 1939 and interned there.[100] The only condition for their acceptance was that they were to be of good character and “subject to R.C.M.P. vetting ... within the meaning of the Immigration Act.” The applicable order-in-council made no reference to security screening.  Vetting was done under the authority of the 1927 Immigration Act regulations, which prohibited entry to criminals, enemy aliens, spies and persons guilty of high treason. The Clerk of the Privy Council admitted that “clearance by the R.C.M.Police was an administrative and not a legal requirement.”[101]   In that same year Canada brought over 65,000 war brides and their children from the UK, Holland, France and elsewhere, followed closely by 2,000 Polish veterans from Scotland.  No security screening was involved for these persons, including wives who by nationality were enemy aliens or who may have had criminal backgrounds.[102]

            During 1945-46, the number of tourists coming to Canada increased and it looked like sponsored and open immigration might begin again some time in the future.  Cabinet understood that it could not yet screen such people.  There were not even as yet plans to security screen these people. But Cabinet expressed the hope that eventually screening could be organized at offices abroad, when they were established.[103] The R.C.M.P. reported that it had no overseas presence and could foresee none in the near future. “At the present moment,” wrote the Assistant R.C.M.P. Commissioner in 1946, “we are unable to do this [immigration security screening] due to shortage of manpower and increase in our work and it will be some considerable time before we can do this.  The R.C.M.P. was ordered to screen certain visitors and immigrants on an informal basis, the operation again remaining secret and administrative.[104]  Initially security screening was done on the basis of oral direction from R.C.M.P. headquarters in Ottawa, after Cabinet had decided in August 1946 that security screening of prospective immigrants would be dealt with by departmental administrative action without enacting legislation. In time, criteria were set down, based upon policy and practice. Subsequently, changes in the original criteria were approved by a new Security Panel and by Cabinet.[105]    During the summer of 1946 the Security Panel recommended establishing security screening in the countries of origin, a recommendation with which the R.C.M.P. now agreed.[106] 

            Canada’s first taste of overseas security screening of immigrants took place that summer after cabinet authorized, at first on a temporary basis, the movement to Canada of 4,000 Polish Army soldiers still in Italy to replace German POW agricultural workers, mainly in the sugar beet fields of the West, returned to Germany. The applicable order-in-council established an interdepartmental interviewing team of representatives from the Department of Labour, Department of Mines and Resources (Immigration Branch), and the R.C.M.P.[107]  The R.C.M.P. was informally instructed “to ensure there were ‘no Nazis or agents,” but was given no further interpretation of this phrase.[108]

            The team’s initial intention was to exclude any Polish veterans who had served with the German forces before joining the Polish Army; in other words, those viewed as collaborators.[109] However, it quickly ran into Polish Army opposition to this restriction against ex-collaborators. The Polish officers pointed out quite firmly that the gods of war had forced many of the Poles to cooperate with the Germans, until the moment when they could escape and join the pro-Allied Polish Legion.  Stymied, the Canadian team telegrammed back to Ottawa for instructions. Prime Minister Mackenzie King and his Minister of Justice, Louis St Laurent, considered the Poles’ objections and found them to be reasonable. They decided to withdraw the restriction:

It is agreed that we should accept persons not only from that group of Poles who deserted from German Units and fought against the Germans in the war, but also from those who took part in active hostilities against Germans after having been taken prisoners by the Allied Forces while serving in the German Army.  The criterion should be active participation in hostilities against the Axis.[110]

As a result, the only Poles refused admission to Canada were those who had criminal records, unsatisfactory service with the Polish Army, or at some time during the war had been registered as Volksdeutsche and had therefore become enemy aliens. These categories of rejected persons fairly well reflected the new Immigration Act’s public regulations. When the government decided two years later to offer these men permanent residence in Canada, the R.C.M.P. does not appear to have been involved. Apart from those who had died or had left Canada, only those with an unsatisfactory employment or health record were refused permanent landing.[111]   

            1946 saw the first moves in drawing up security screening regulations.  In the end, two separate sets of regulations emerged, one public under the revised 1946 Immigration Act, the other an administrative and secret set adopted in 1947.  While the new act and regulations were still in the discussion stage, the question was raised whether other persons such as members of the Nazi or Fascist parties, war criminals and similar groups should be included. However, “in view of the difficulty of drafting a suitable clause” the matter was dropped.[112] It was agreed that any additional prohibited classes would not be dealt with under the Immigration Act, but “by other means.”[113]  As a result, war criminals, wartime collaborators, and Communists were not prohibited under these new immigration regulations, but only appear in the other secret administrative directives adopted the next year.[114]              

            The second set of covert administrative regulations, which included other specific prohibited classes such as war criminals and collaborators, Nazis and Communists, was approved in haste in order to meet two challenges.  The first was the sudden eruption of the Gouzenko spy affair in Canada; the second was the continuing discussion about reopening immigration to Canada.  The security crisis created by this affair forced the Canadian government to rush through re-establishment of an intelligence branch within the R.C.M.P. and to develop a more stringent policy regarding Communists.[115]   “Faced with the reality of a new and dangerous enemy, the western powers became reluctant to pursue the remnants of the old.  Their limited security resources were re-deployed to uncover suspected Soviet agents and Communists, rather than to track down Nazi war criminals.”[116] R.C.M.P. Superintendent Charles Rivett-Carnac, the only R.C.M.P. officer with wartime security expertise, became the force’s lead man in the novel battle against Communist subversion in Canada. The question arose as to how new security procedures for vetting of government personnel with Communist affiliations should be drawn up, as screening was to remain secret.[117]  Cabinet agreed in late 1946 that these other prohibited immigrant classes should be covered by a second set of administrative regulations rather than through legislative action.[118]  In May 1947 Cabinet authorized withholding immigration visas ‘without explanation’, if an applicant had a record of Left Wing activities. “The definition of “Left Wing Tendencies” was left to the R.C.M.P. on the grounds that this fell into their area of expertise.”[119]

            At the same time, a Department of External Affairs committee pointed to the growing need to adopt immigration security regulations and set up overseas security screening of visa applicants, possibly by the R.C.M.P.  At present, “The security proviso is added by the Department to authorizations in some cases but not in all.”[120]  In order to meet these two challenges, an interdepartmental Security Panel was established in early 1946 consisting of senior civil servants together with representatives of the R.C.M.P. and military intelligence. It was furnished with a permanent secretariat housed in the Privy Council Office.[121]  Secretary of State of External Affairs, Norman Robertson, who had chaired much of the wartime interdepartmental security activity, was called upon to chair the panel, which was to formulate a new administrative security policy. As far as Robertson was concerned, Nazism no longer presented a real threat; Communism was a different story.  Robertson, like others, was shocked by Gouzenko’s documentary proof that some Canadians had become Soviet agents.[122] Abruptly the Soviets quickly changed in his view from friend and ally to enemy.[123]

            In October 1946 the R.C.M.P. was given permission by the Minister of Justice to begin planning for a formal security screening programme.[124]  Security officers continued screening prospective immigrants on the basis of verbal instructions. Government witness Mr. d'Ombrain has testified that the men in the field were at that time still working from something that was neither "concrete" nor "agreed".[125]   Finally, early in 1947 cabinet approved the Security Panel’s recommendations for administrative regulations containing additional prohibited categories, which would not be divulged to the public.[126]  Of the thirteen categories, the first and last dealt with Communists, the rest with criminals, ex-members of the German military or SS, and wartime collaborators. Apart from those already excluded under the Immigration Act’s public regulations such as enemy aliens, spies and traitors, these new administrative regulations barred persons, mainly from Eastern Europe, if they had been:

Section (b) “members of SS or German Wehrmacht. Found to bear mark of SS Blood Group (Non Germans)”, and

Section (k) “collaborators presently residing in previously occupied territory”.[127]

It is almost impossible today to know exactly what the relatively unsophisticated R.C.M.P. and immigration officials made of the dense and almost incomprehensible administrative security rejection criteria (b) and (k). No explanatory guidelines were issued immigration officers, leaving these sections open to individual interpretation. Why was the Wehrmacht, which did not tattoo blood marks, included? Did section (b) apply only to non-Germans?  Did conscription or volunteering change the picture? Did rank or position or disloyalty to another country, even if it had disappeared in the war and no longer existed, make a difference?  What was the meaning of section (k)? What did the term “collaborator” mean? Where was “previously occupied territory”?[128] 

            The year following the adoption of these administrative regulations, R.C.M.P. headquarters were still not sure what exactly security officers in the field were using as rejection grounds.  The chief R.C.M.P. security officer in Europe, Major Wright, was asked to make a survey among security officers on the ground of the reasons employed by them for rejection. His August 1948 reply is noteworthy as it indicates that there was no blanket prohibition for collaborators being employed.  Some instances of collaboration were found under paragraph (b): "Member of SS or German Wehrmacht. Found to bear mark of SS Blood Group (non-German)" and paragraph (c): members of the Nazi party.  Headquarters did not touch the list except to bring in November 1948 for field officers’ attention "collaborators presently residing in previously occupied territory."[129]

If R.C.M.P. security officials were not enforcing paragraph (k) “collaborators presently residing in previously occupied territory”, it was probably because of its ambiguity.  One of the chief government witnesses concerning government security policy at these immigration fraud hearings, Mr. d’Ombrain, admitted in cross examination that category (k) in particular –- was still “completely unclear to him.”[130]  One judge has opined that section (k) referred to collaborators in Communist territories now under Soviet control. The Soviets were known to use blackmail to enlist agents and those who resided in previously occupied territory were particularly vulnerable.[131]  Canadian Immigration chief in Germany, Joseph Robillard, has explained that immigration officers too were unclear about the meaning of these prohibited classes: “One of the problems we faced was to define what was a war criminal … It became a question of definition.”[132]  Still today oral testimony by R.C.M.P. and immigration officers and other experts in recent denaturalization cases before the federal court has indicated contradictory interpretations of these core criteria.[133] 

            The R.C.M.P. Commissioner is on record as asserting that Communist infiltration was the prime evil against which his men were guarding in 1948. As late as April 1952 he sent a memorandum to the Security Panel which reports that: “Present immigration security policy prohibits the immigration of collaborators, but cases have so far been dealt with on their individual merits or demerits.”[134]   Hugh Keenleyside, ex-deputy minister of the Immigration Branch’s Department of Mines and Natural Resources, has written that despite the regulations in force at the time, collaborators and even occasionally SS men certainly succeeded in entering Canada due to uneven procedures.[135]

            As a result of this uncertainty, one judge concluded that collaborators were “generally” not prohibited from entering Canada”.[136]  In another case, the judge ruled that the government had failed to prove there was either a uniform application of the concept of collaborator or that there was a uniform procedure for screening out collaborators:

Collaboration was a notion that was undefined in 1948 and on that meaning all applicants from previously occupied territories in Europe were susceptible of having assisted the enemy in one way or another.  Keeping this in mind, it is unlikely that had a blanket prohibition against collaboration been applied in 1948, 70,000 immigrants would have sailed to Canada from continental Europe in that year ... While there was an absolute prohibition barring the entry of Communists throughout the relevant period, this has not been shown to be the case with respect to the class of undesirables described as collaborators in 1948 … [In July 1948]     security officers were not applying a blanket prohibition for collaborators or preventing collaborators generally from entering Canada.[137]  

A fairly recent study written for Canadian Members of Parliament agrees with this view:

No serious attempt ever seems to have been made to define "collaborator" in the    relatively brief period of time these exclusions were in effect and may have been enforced. For example, membership in the various Nazi-organized police auxiliaries which had been raised among local populations and used to keep order, to round up and sometimes to execute those suspected of being Jews, partisans, etc., was not a specific reason for exclusion.[138]

            The two-tiered system of public and secret security regulations operated until 1950, when the two were amalgamated.   At that time, cabinet decreed through an order-in-council that the minister responsible for immigration be given the legal discretionary authority to refuse landing to anyone he wished.[139]  This authority was so broad that the minister (in practice his officials) could prohibit entry to anyone he chose and without explanation, except for British subjects and citizens of France and the United States. In practice the government continued to concentrate mainly on the Communist problem. A 1950 Privy Council review for the Prime Minister reported that these sweeping ministerial powers were instituted  “To deny admission to any person who, from their known history and background, would be unlikely to adapt themselves to the Canadian way of life and to our democratic form of government … The only class covered by a precise Cabinet direction is that of Communist.”[140]  That was the same year when prohibitions against German nationals were administratively lifted, followed in 1952 by permission for Nazi Party members and minor collaborators to enter Canada. The 1952 Immigration Act contained similarly wide discretionary powers aimed in practice almost exclusively against Communists.

            In subsequent years several official inquiries studied the security situation. The 1969 Mackenzie Royal Commission on Security recommended tightening security, but the focus was, as usual, on Communist subversion.  The 1981 McDonald Royal Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recommended more flexible security regulations and moving security screening from the R.C.M.P. to an independent civilian agency, later named the Canadian Intelligence and Security Service. Finally, in 1985 the Deschênes Commission was established to look for the first time into the question whether there were war criminals in Canada and what should be done about it if there were.[141]

Immigration Security Screening

            The Canadian government’s and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (R.C.M.P.) historical bias against left-wingers together with their new postwar anti-Communist crusade quickly moved postwar security priorities from Nazi collaborators back to Communist “undesirables.”[142] Prior to WWII, the R.C.M.P. was a thinly spread force of 2,500 mainly uniformed officers employed in enforcing federal laws and acting in some places as the provincial police force. During the thirties, it had considered Communism rather than Fascism or Nazism to be the domestic enemy.  As a result, it almost ignored the latter in favour of monitoring domestic left-wing groups.  An R.C.M.P. undercover agent, Johnny Leopold, managed to infiltrate the Communist Party of Canada and was even named to its Politburo.[143]  

As war in Europe became a real possibility in the late thirties, the R.C.M.P.’s first security unit was set up within the Criminal Investigations Branch.  It consisted of only two men whose main task was to organize the protection of bridges and other vulnerable points in case of war. To head this small office, the R.C.M.P. chose, much to his own astonishment, Charles Rivett-Carnac, who had spent the last ten years on Arctic dogsled patrol. He was eventually to rise to Commissioner or head of the R.C.M.P. The other member of the unit was Johnny Leopold.[144]

When in September 1939 public panic forced the government to take steps against domestic Fascists and Nazis, the R.C.M.P. found itself to be to be completely unprepared for this threat.  The force had previously decided that the Fascists and Nazis threat in Canada was negligible. It had not kept an eye on these groups. Once the war erupted, it became clear that the R.C.M.P. possessed no intelligence or information about these groups. The R.C.M.P. was reduced to depending on local policemen, public informers, and even newspaper ads.  In a rush to make up for their negligence, they quickly threw together and presented the government with a list of over 800 so-called dangerous Fascists and Nazis, most of them recent German and Italian immigrants. Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs Norman Robertson played a major role in organizing the consequent internment operation.  For Robertson any Fascist and Nazi problem in Canada was easily handled by this action. However, he quickly discovered that the R.C.M.P. was usually unable to present more than general accusations without evidence against the internees and so he ordered a judicial review of the internees. When it turned out that most of the internees were innocent, Robertson arranged for their quick release. In the end, these releases in fact proved that the original prewar R.C.M.P. lack of reaction to Nazi or Fascist groups in Canada was sound.  No evidence of subversion was discovered in Canada during the war and no domestic spies appear to have been sighted.  In 1943 German and Italian immigrants' loyalty to Canada was rewarded by allowing those who applied for Canadian citizenship to enter the Canadian armed forces. At the cessation of hostilities in 1945, the small R.C.M.P. security office was closed down.[145] 

When the government decided that the R.C.M.P. should undertake to screen immigrants overseas, Rivett-Carnac was sent to London to see whether the British Passport Control Office and MI5 specialists could help Canadian security screening.  The British agreed that their two organizations would check out any names sent in by the R.C.M.P. Two members of the R.C.M.P. were sent to London to open an office for this purpose and by 1948 an additional 11 security officers were stationed in Germany. More were sent to other European centres as they opened up such as Rome and Brussels. R.C.M.P. security officers overseas posed as immigration visa officers in order to keep their work secret from the public.

 Immigration Branch officials were just as deeply concerned as the R.C.M.P. that Communist elements might be introduced into the immigration chain. But they were not always convinced that the R.C.M.P. was up to the job.  Associate Commissioner of Overseas Immigration Service, Col. Laval Fortier, returned in the spring of 1948 from an inspection trip to Europe completely distraught by this problem.[146]  He complained bitterly that R.C.M.P. security officers in Europe were insufficiently trained in what was the main aim of security screening, namely counter-espionage aimed at the Communist threat.   He demanded a “total reorganization of our security screening and a total change of the officers now employed on the security work.”[147]  R.C.M.P. Commissioner S.T. Wood responded that the R.C.M.P. was in fact concentrating almost totally on that very real threat. In his words, the R.C.M.P. remained “... particularly interested in the detection of Communists.  I may say that this is our primary interest ... and all members of our security details are fully aware of this fact.”[148]  He reiterated the same point in his report the following year.[149]  Communists certainly headed the list of prohibited persons.[150]

            As noted above, Canadian officials overseas possessed little real information about applicants.  The first documentation about an applicant was either the sponsorship application form 55 or a completed O.S.8 (Overseas) application form received at the interview together with IRO documents about the applicant. These forms ignored WWII military activities; they had no section concerning WWII military or other service. The only information in respect of the respondent on the sponsorship form 55 was his age, marital status, relationship to the sponsor, date of birth, place and country of birth, citizenship, present address, occupation in his own country, intended occupation in Canada.  A new section regarding an applicant’s wartime history was only added to the forms in 1953.[151]  These forms asked for basic personal and employment data, but without specific address and dates, inquiring about the applicant’s work skills and trade, present or last employer, general summary of employment history including the longest job held in the last ten years, and the number of jobs held during this period.  As one judge in a Canadian war crimes trial commented, “There are not specific questions seeking addresses and employment over ten years or more or seeking information on former wartime service.” Among the documents, which have since disappeared from official immigration files, are any printed copies of the O.S.8.[152]  

Missing information could be adduced by the R.C.M.P. security or control officers at the “Stage B” security interviews.[153]  However, given the time constraints on interviewers, the officials’ lack of language skills, scanty documentation, and puny knowledge about Eastern Europe during WWII, little new could be expected to come from the interview. R.C.M.P. Sergeant Murray traveled in his car around Germany in 1947 and 1948 from camp to camp screening DPs in Germany. He reported his frustration with the absence of individual information available and short time allotted for interviews. He was forced to rely on hurried personal interviews from which he gained so little information that in the end he cleared almost everyone. As he had no office, the documents containing the results of his security screening were kept in his car.  In March 1948 all these documents disappeared when his car was broken into.[154]  This hardly reflects the uniform and watertight system of security screening touted by government prosecutors at war crimes trials today.[155]

  After questioning an applicant, the R.C.M.P. control officer would do a paper check with his few Allied and German sources. The R.C.M.P. turned to the Nuremberg Alien Center, which had originally processed the applicant once in Germany for his alien papers. But this was not a reliable source as it based its information only on the refugee’s own testimony about his past.  DPs were screened by the United Nations Refugee and Resettlement Agency (UNRRA) or later by its successor, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) in Germany and issued a DP card.  But this information too could not be checked and as such was not usually helpful.  German police certificates were of little help as criminal records were routinely expunged after a few years.[156]  Canadian officials also referred applicants’ names to the U.S. or British intelligence offices or to the Berlin Documentation Center run by the United States Army in order to discover whether the applicant had been in the Nazi Party or the SS. An answer required at least six to eight weeks delay. Those sources, which were useful in Western European and German cases, were of almost no assistance regarding non-NSDAP or DPs prior to their entry into Germany. They possessed no information on members of auxiliary groups in Eastern Europe co-opted by the Germans into police, military, anti-partisan, or work groups. 

 This lack of hard security information was underlined by R.C.M.P. Sergeant Greening's testimony before the Deschênes Commission. In his estimation, security screening overseas was sorely lacking in effectiveness:

I think I can say that our procedures that we were carrying out in 1954 were quite a bit more sophisticated and polished than they had been previously in 1946, 1947 and 1948, because at that time they had very few resources, manpower-wise, and also access to their sources.  A lot of information would not have been gathered and recorded.[157]

The priority given to the search for Communists and the lack of good intelligence sources overseas certainly negatively affected the security process as regards WWII activities. R.C.M.P. Staff Sergeant Hinton was sent to London in October 1946 to carry out a paper investigation of potential immigrants according to verbal instructions from headquarters and to "do the best he could" with the information available to him to eliminate the backlog of applications. The objective was "to slowly tighten control and to concentrate on the rejection of people who are really undesirable" and "not worry if a percentage of undesirables slip by".[158]  

 Yet another development explains the increasing pressure put on the security system.   When immigration opened up, almost immediately the government experienced an explosion in numbers of applications, first for sponsored candidates and then from a rapidly rising demand for DP labour from Eastern Europe. As noted above, the government started with a modest DP programme of about 5,000 a year, increasing the figure over the next year to 40,000.  The government had completely under-estimated the number of future immigrants required, but once the floodgates were opened did not wish for both political and economic reasons to inhibit the flow to Canada.[159] However, the small overseas R.C.M.P. staff could only vet applicants slowly, thereby creating serious bottlenecks in the admission process. Its London office could only screen twenty-five to thirty applications a day, or 800 to 900 a month. British passport and intelligence sources had their own priorities and were not open to the suggestion that they speed up their own procedures. The result was that as early as 1947 the backlog in Canada of sponsored applications had risen to an unacceptable 10,000. R.C.M.P. officers stationed in London and elsewhere were simply unable to cope with this rapid growth in applications and quotas.  A sense of resignation engulfed the London staff.[160] 

As the Security Panel put it:

This [security screening] procedure has been put into effect but was not proving entirely satisfactory and the existing screening organization has proved incapable of dealing with the number of applicants for admission which had been received. … it has been established that it was impracticable under present conditions.[161]

Under the circumstances, immigration security screening expectations were judged to be unrealistic.  Reluctantly the government acknowledged the bitter fact that standards would have to be lowered. On February 5, 1947, Cabinet considered the report from the Security Panel and, contrary to the advice of the Panel, adopted alternative (b). It agreed that:

 . . . security screening of aliens applying for entry into Canada as immigrants be required only in cases in which it was felt that the information available to immigration authorities needed to be supplemented by special security investigations.[162]

            Instead of dropping overseas security screening completely, a measure it seriously contemplated, the government decided instead to waive security screening for specific groups. These included Canadian Pacific/Canadian National Railways agricultural workers. The government has admitted at immigration fraud hearings that agriculturists were not subject to personal interviews if they were admitted pursuant to P.C. 1947-4849, paragraph 4(b), which provided for the admission of an agriculturist entering Canada to farm with the assistance of a sponsor engaged in agriculture. There is evidence that in 1948 overseas immigration officers considered that agriculturists generally were not to be security screened by personal interview.[163]  The government advised officials to spot-check only about 20% of the Eastern Europeans and to put sponsored Western Europeans under a fourteen-day procedure. That is, if nothing adverse was reported to Immigration about a sponsored applicant by the R.C.M.P. within that period of time, a visa would automatically be issued.  Considering that normal screening time overseas took at least three times longer than this two week, spot-checking period suggested, little more could be done but to ask the domestic R.C.M.P. if it knew anything adverse about the sponsor.[164]

             The R.C.M.P. kept a record of immigrants admitted without screening. Statistics prepared for the Immigration/Labour Committee show that of the 8,728 DPs who arrived in Canada by April 8, 1948, only 1,611 or 18.5% had been security screened by March 30, 1948. “These numbers do raise a serious question about the extent to which a consistent method of security screening was being applied during the period at issue.”[165]  R.C.M.P. Commissioner S.T. Wood reported in 1949 that the R.C.M.P. had done its best to improve and speed up immigration security screening, with the result that more applicants were screened than before. But this still meant that only 22,000 of 33,538 applicants had been screened, of whom less than 400 were refused. A backlog of over 11,000 unscreened applicants remained.[166] Despite some improvements, a 1949 R.C.M.P. report admitted that the immigration security screening programme had become “partially ineffective” because the numbers of applications and backlogs had simply overloaded the system.[167] 

Immigration visa officers did not usually become involved in security questions, leaving that to the R.C.M.P.’s “Stage B” security interviews.  They saw applicants after they had undergone Stage B security interviews. Nor were they given any specific information by the visa control officer except that the applicant had been interviewed for security reasons and had successfully passed the interview.  Immigration officers were not made privy to the security or visa control officers’ policies or modes of operation and had no control over R.C.M.P. visa control officers. They were informed only of the bare bones of the security criteria and it was not their job to enforce them. Because of the confusing security categories and the secretiveness of the R.C.M.P. security screening process, security screening decisions often appeared unclear to immigration visa officers.  Final decisions overseas about acceptance or rejection were made by immigration visa officers. They were much more concerned with the applicants’ employment histories, skills, and settlement potential in Canada. Because they were called upon to fill worker quotas, they often felt that the R.C.M.P. presented an obstacle to that goal.[168]  A researcher for the Deschênes Commission who studied Canada’s security screening for the 1949 bulk labour schemes concluded that it was relatively easy for DPs and other refugees within the IRO mandate to come to Canada, if they were selected as suitable for particular types of employment.[169] 

Most immigration officers had many more years experience in screening and settling immigrants.  They generally considered themselves to be more sophisticated, experienced, and open-minded than R.C.M.P. visa control officers, who often had no special intelligence training and were directly transferred overseas from domestic police work.  They were especially critical of the R.C.M.P.'s political screening of East Europeans, which they thought was superficial and out-of-date even as regards persons with a Communist background. A common R.C.M.P.’s excuse why an East European applicant could not be security cleared was that it had no investigatory sources behind the Iron Curtain. This argument held little water with many immigration officers, who knew that most people became Communist party members under duress or out of necessity and usually hated the Communist system.[170]   One officer stationed in Belgrade claimed to the author that she accepted literally hundreds of applicants, despite almost automatic negative R.C.M.P. security reports. If this had not been the case, persons from Yugoslavia would not have been accepted for Canada.

Ex-immigration officer Mr. St. Vincent has testified at an immigration fraud trial that “immigration officers never overruled the decision of a security officer.”  Some judges have agreed with the view “That [the security decision] was final.”[171]  However, the truth is that immigration visa officers, their superiors, and even politicians could and did overlook or override adverse “Stage B” security decisions, although they might be careful to hide their tracks.[172]   Until 1950, when the R.C.M.P. Act was changed to allow legally for overseas security screening, the R.C.M.P.’s presence in Europe was of an informal nature and they could not stop appeals from immigration officers in the field to immigration officials in Ottawa.[173]  Immigration officials overseas could refer adverse “Stage B” decisions back to Ottawa, where negative security decisions, especially concerning WWII activities, often were reversed. The following statistics from a 1950-1 Department of Citizenship and Immigration report shows that 60% of enemy soldiers and SS passed initial security screening while 40% were rejected. However, that was not the complete story.   50% of these rejections were reviewed and ¾ were reversed.  25% of ex-Nazi Party members were initially rejected under the security regulations, but over 30% were reviewed of which 95% were reversed.[174] Once again, these figures do not support the thesis of a uniform and watertight immigration system.

The Canadian minister in charge of immigration or cabinet itself could under law take their own or override negative security or admission decisions.  They were under no obligation to make the reasons public.  The minister’s freedom of decision, in the opinion of ex-Deputy Minister Hugh Keenleyside in charge of immigration, put him in an unenviable and vulnerable position as regards political or family representations. It meant that he came constantly under public pressure:

… [The minister was] particularly susceptible to the appeals of individuals, to pressure from organized groups, or the persuasion of his colleagues … The mesh of the screen was wide enough when used by a weak or irresponsible minister to admit almost anyone, and sometimes it did.[175]

            Officials were compelled to comply with contrary decisions from Ottawa.  Immigration officers only shrugged when orders came from Ottawa to admit someone, even if security had not been passed. Joseph Robillard has stated that:

In some cases, because of representations to Ottawa I would be advised with respect to so and so an Order-in-Council has been passed to permit admission to Canada.  Therefore this simply meant no more processing, just grant visa … In some cases, they would consult but eventually it was a cabinet order, not subject to discussion, of course. I just passed it on to the visa officers, and told them to issue visas, period.”[176]

            Given the discretionary nature of immigration politics, exceptions have continued. When in 1956 Canada opened its doors to Hungarian refugees, all security screening was waived in order to speed up the movement.[177]  The same thing happened later for the Vietnamese and Ugandan refugees. These uncertainties about and exceptions to the regulations undermine the government’s argument concerning systemic integrity in the immigration security system

1950 Admission of Waffen SS

An example of the government’s inconsistent application of its security rejection policy for WWII collaboration can be seen in the 1950 admission to Canada of a large group of Ukrainian Waffen SS volunteers. This case bears directly on the rapid change of attitude due to the Cold War within British and Canadian official establishments towards anti-Soviet immigrants. As outlined above, in 1946 Polish veterans on the Allied side were admitted to Canada, even though some of them had earlier fought against the Allies. In the case of these Ukrainians, even this standard was lowered because these men had fought in the Waffen SS on the Germans side, never on the Allied side. Still they were still permitted to come to Canada.[178] 

In June 1950 the Canadian government agreed to a British request that it admit to Canada several thousand former members of the 14th Waffen-SS Volunteer Galicia Division still in Britain. These Ukrainians had volunteered in the summer and fall of 1943 to fight under the Germans against the Soviets. Towards the end of the war the division had surrendered to the British in Austria and was sent to safety in Italy. Following British and even Soviet screening, they were brought to Britain, where many still lived together in camps. Anxious to close the Ukrainians’ case, the British vouched strongly for these men to the Canadian authorities:

[No evidence] has been brought to light, which would suggest that, any of them fought against the Western Allies or engaged in crimes against humanity.  Their behavior since they came to this country has been good and they have never indicated in any way that they are infected with any trace of Nazi ideology ... From the reports of the special mission set up by the War Office to screen these men, it seems clear that they volunteered to fight against the Red Army for nationalistic motives which were given greater impetus by the behavior of the Soviet authorities during their occupation of the Western Ukraine after the Nazi-Soviet pact.  Although Communist propaganda has constantly attempted to depict these, like so many other refugees, as “quislings” and “war criminals” it is interesting to note that no specific charges have been made by the Soviet or other Government against any member of this group.[179]

After some deliberation, the Canadian cabinet agreed to accept these Waffen SS veterans into Canada “ … notwithstanding their service in the German army provided they are otherwise admissible.  These Ukrainians should be subject to special security screening but should not be rejected on the grounds of their service in the German army.”[180]  In fact, as Citizenship and Immigration Minister Harris told Parliament, “we have investigated not individuals but the group as a whole…”[181] 

When the Canadian decision to admit these Waffen SS veterans became public in Canada, the government was strongly criticized, especially by the Canadian Jewish Congress.[182]    Citizenship and Immigration Minister Walter Harris wrote somewhat ambiguously to the Congress:

The decision which I mentioned in the House of Commons merely was that we would no longer refuse these applications solely on the grounds that the Ukrainians in the United Kingdom had served in this Division.  There was no suggestion that we would admit anyone who could not conform to the existing requirements in Canada.  On the contrary, we shall apply to each of these persons, the same careful scrutiny of character [ed. emphasis added] which is being applied in all cases.”[183]

Final approval to admit these men to Canada was given in September 1950. 

            Thirty-five years later the Deschênes Commission on war crimes refused to re-open the case of the ex-Galician Waffen SS Division members in Canada. It accepted the Nuremberg interpretation that membership in a criminal organization such as the Waffen SS was not in itself criminal.   Apart from establishing organizational membership, it would have to be proven that the individual knew that the organization was being used for criminal purposes or that he was personally implicated in the commission of crimes. A reversal of the burden of proof to the defendant was not acceptable; it rested clearly on the prosecution in each individual case to prove its case.[184]  The commission stated that it was not in the business of smearing entire ethnic groups nor would it overturn decisions taken by previous generations of public officials.

The government’s legal counsel, Yves Fortier, confirmed that the government also had no wish to revisit the case:

If the only allegation against a resident of Canada is that he was a member of the Galician Division, that is not an individual that we consider should be made the subject of an investigation by your commission.  If the allegation is that while he was a member of the Division, he committed atrocities at such-and-such a place, if there is evidence of the committing of atrocities alleged in the information which was conveyed to us, then that person becomes of interest to your Commission.  We have not before, and we will not tomorrow, undertake to rewrite history.[185]

            Estonians and Latvians, whose membership in the Waffen SS had also been waived, represented other examples of irregular implementation of screening directives.[186]  As one of the judges in the war crimes trials concluded about the general immigration security ban against SS members:

 Basically on all the foregoing, it cannot be concluded that there was, practically speaking, a uniform system in place such that disclosure of membership in the … Waffen SS would have resulted in an individual’s exclusion from Canada. Although official Canadian policy precluded the entrance of such persons into Canada, the evidence indicates that, in practice, their admission into Canada was   discretionary at the hands of the visa officer.[187]

In 1950 the Canadian government decided to drop regulations denying entry to all members of the Waffen SS. It would in future apply the Nuremberg standards to anyone conscripted or coerced into Waffen SS units, and later for those who had voluntarily joined that organization for nationalistic and anti-Soviet reasons. Such individuals could now be admitted to Canada on an individual basis. The Security Panel enounced this new official policy when it advised that:

... this general ban should not extend to persons in countries occupied by the Nazis during the war who might have become identified with such organizations under pressure from the occupying power.[188]

 A later government report stated: “Modest modifications were made in 1950, to eliminate the complete ban on admission for former members of the Wehrmacht.  Later, in 1952, further changes introduced some discretion in assessing former members of the Nazi Party, and others to exclude only major offenders among them, and discretion to admit certain former members of the Waffen SS, and minor collaborators.”[189]

The 1985-87 Deschênes Commission

            As mentioned in the introduction, a generation after the huge postwar wave of immigrants came to Canada, domestic groups awakened to the possibility that there may be war criminals among these immigrants.  In 1985 the Canadian government set up a commission named after its chairman Jules Deschênes to look at Canada’s record on war crimes and what was its responsibility in that area.  One of the chief findings of the commission was that security screening of immigrants, especially of DPs, had been inadequate due largely to domestic disinterest in the question and the push for increased bulk labour schemes. Many undesirable applicants could easily have slipped through the defective security sieve.

  A deeply researched historical background study for the commission summarized the main reasons why this was so, some of which have been already covered.

1. The R.C.M.P. had no intelligence sources of their own, but relied almost completely on British or US intelligence or the international refugee organizations for information.

2. Agricultural and bulk labour applicants were pre-selected and pre-screened by railway, church and refugee organizations.

3. Security screening was often completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of applicants. In some cases, visa control officers were simply not available and uniformed immigration visa officers tried to do their job.

4. Security screening concentrated after 1947 mainly on Communists.

5. The personal discretion of immigration officers, who also relied on interviews, permitted them to appeal Stage B security decisions or to override them.

6. R.C.M.P. officers overseas did not normally share their security directives with immigration officers.

7. There was an absence of questions on immigration application forms about wartime service.

8. No finger-printing or distribution of lists among immigration and security officers took place, so refused immigrants could very well have re-applied at another camp.

9. No official list of suspected war criminals was transmitted overseas to security or immigration officers.[190]

The study concluded that there had been many irregularities and much lax practice in immigration security screening procedures overseas, especially in the bulk labour schemes.  In 1949 it was still fairly easy for DPs within the IRO mandate to enter Canada under a bulk labour scheme, “provided they had been selected as suitable for a particular type of employment and that the other medical and civilian immigration requirements were fulfilled.”  What was generally understood under the term “civilian requirement” was suitability for a job and integration into the Canadian way of life.[191] 

            The Deschênes Commission’s final report adopted and expanded these views. It had listened to both R.C.M.P. and Immigration officers’ testimony about problems in post-1946 immigration security and admissions screening procedures. Testimony by ex-immigrants at the Deschênes Commission to the effect that they had not been asked about their wartime activities was also found to be credible.  One powerful factor for the commission in favour of this opinion was the O.S.8 Canadian immigration application form, which did not contain space for wartime activities.

            The commission did not accept simply on the strength of Canadian officials’ testimony decades later before it that all security questions had always been asked at the interview or that the answers were uniformly acted upon according to security policy.   In view of the superficial nature of the information emanating from hurried security interviews and the discretionary nature of immigration admissions decisions, the commission concluded, “These various negative elements had an importance which should not be minimized, when it comes to establishing the practice among screening officers 40 years ago.”[192]   Immigration security procedures had been too porous and lacking in documentary records.[193]   The commission harboured grave doubts whether a former immigrant, even if he were a war criminal, need have lied for the purposes of immigration or citizenship.[194] 

            In summary, the commission listed five “hesitations", as it termed them:

1.  Immigration officers did not always question applicants about their wartime experiences, being more concerned with job qualifications and believing that “Stage B” would look after this matter.

2.  R.C.M.P. witnesses complained to the Commission that Immigration officers were more concerned with numbers than security.

3.   R.C.M.P. witnesses agreed that before the early fifties, when a new security screening system was put in place employing a new Green Form, there were weaknesses in the R.C.M.P.’s immigration security screening.

4.  Immigration officers testified that they did not always ask specific questions about membership in organizations like the SS.

5.  The lack of Canadian security and immigration manpower available overseas, when coupled with the growing numbers of applicants, meant that the security interviews became shorter and in many cases were possibly dropped. 

            Finally, the commission recommended that immigration security procedures be reformed.  It is worth noting two of its detailed recommendations:

“#45. The immigration screening process and interview procedure should be tightened, so that:

            a) a minimum and standard set of questions to be put to the applicant be established by regulation;

b) such questions bear explicitly on the applicant’s past military, para-military, political and civilian activities;

c) all further questions to the applicant and all answers by the applicant  be reduced to writing and signed by the applicant;

            d) the applicant be required to sign a statement providing, in substance, that he has supplied all information which is material to his application for his admission to Canada and that an eventual decision to admit him will be predicated upon the truth and completeness of his statements in his application.

#46. Where an application is granted, immigration application forms should be kept until either it is established or it can be safely assumed that the applicant is no longer alive.”[195]

These recommendations have to date still not been put into practice.


            Canada’s admission of so many refugees and other immigrants after WWII was an impressive operation.  What can be said about how they were screened for security and admission? Because all individual files have disappeared, we will never know for sure what happened in individual immigration cases.  To make up for this lack of documentation in immigration fraud hearings, the government has depended upon a systemic argument; that postwar immigration security policy was clear and was enforced seamlessly in practice.  It has held that the screening system was effective and laid the blame on individuals’ deceit, which constitutes immigration fraud.  Defense lawyers have not been in a position to counter this systemic argument with strong historical arguments, thereby leaving the initiative to the prosecution.  Judges have consequently become overly dependent upon evidence and testimony presented by the prosecution.

            This paper has underlined the porous nature of security screening, pointing to its inescapable cracks and inefficiencies.  Because the security screening system leaked, immigration fraud cannot be assumed in individual cases.  It is indeed more probable that persons would not have had to hide or lie about their past to enter Canada.  Two ex-deputy ministers in charge of immigration, Hugh Keenleyside and Tom Kent, the head of immigration in Germany, Joseph Robillard, and Justice Jules Deschênes agreed that officials overseas were unable to keep up rigorously uniform standards of screening and admissions.  This is also the opinion of Canadian academics who have studied this question in depth, whatever their differences may be on the larger issue of the necessity or effectiveness of these hearings. 

            The large movement of DPs and refugees to Canada in the late 1940s was carried out by small groups of hardworking, harried, often ill-equipped and ill-supported immigration officials in the field.  They were forced to operate within the context of the rapidly changing political and quota pressures. The Department of Labour and Canadian employers, international refugee, railway and church organizations concentrated on moving people out of Germany and Austria as fast as possible.  With access to important political, settlement, and family networks back home, they swayed government policy and immigration decisions.  Immigration officials were pushed to accept applicants pre-selected by these groups according to sponsorship and employment demands from Canada.  Ministerial, departmental, and officials’ decisional discretion was inherent in the admissions process. Final admissions decisions sometimes overrode or ignored security officers’ negative rulings.  In the end, employment skills and settlement prospects in Canada remained the main focus.

            Immigration security policy concerning WWII activities did not hone a sharp edge after 1945. The Canadian government’s interest in pursuing war criminals remained low from the beginning. Administrative rejection criteria regarding WWII, especially concerning collaboration, remained secretive, vague, and subject to interpretation. WWII was largely put aside as the new threat from Communism became apparent.   Alti Rodal, one of the Deschênes Commission’s chief historical researchers, has written that the “predominant concern of screening policy and practice in the postwar decade was, in fact, not to identify and bar Nazis or Nazi collaborators, but, rather, to weed out possible Communist infiltrators and spies, now seen as the primary security threat.”[196]

            Operational weaknesses existed as well. Security officials could not probe deeply into applicants’ WWII activities. The small, relatively untrained overseas R.C.M.P. staff was not privy to detailed information about the inner workings of the wartime Nazi empire.  This problem was compounded in the case of Eastern Europeans, whose homelands now lay closed behind the Iron Curtain.  It was extremely hard to elicit or check individuals’ CVs, especially in the light of the immigration application forms’ willful disinterest in wartime activities.  Canadian officials had few intelligence sources of their own, and relied on others to do their checking.  These sources were not comprehensive or very useful for Eastern Europeans, while time delays for answers were extensive.  As the demand for bulk labour swelled, increasingly large security backlogs resulted in government directives to ease up on security screening and even to drop it in many cases.  As R.C.M.P. officers readily admitted to the Deschênes Commission, immigration security screening in place before 1950s was inadequate.

These Canadian immigration fraud hearings raise a final question about how successful the legal process is in establishing historical truth.  At these hearings the government has led paltry general evidence and testimony about immigration security screening’s systemic integrity.  Defense lawyers have had insufficient time and resources to counter this claim in depth.  Judges listening to the narrow information led in their courts have arrived at conflicting rulings.  This judicial record points to the conclusion that courts may not in fact be the best arenas in which to seek answers to complex historical questions.  As a result, injustices may well have been inflicted in some cases. 



Citizenship Act*


1. This Act may be cited as the Citizenship Act.

                                                            1974-75-76, c. 108, s. 1.

10. (1) Subject to section 18 but notwithstanding any other section of this Act, where the Governor in Council, on a report from the Minister, is satisfied that any person has obtained, retained, renounced or resumed citizenship under this Act by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances,

(a) the person ceases to be a citizen, or

(b) the renunciation of citizenship by the person shall be deemed to have had no effect, as of such date as may be fixed by order of the Governor in Council with respect thereto.

(2) A person shall be deemed to have obtained citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances if the person was lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances and, because of that admission, the person subsequently obtained citizenship.

1974-75-76, c. 108, s. 9.


18. (1) The Minister shall not make a report under section 10 unless the Minister has given notice of his intention to do so to the person in respect of whom the report is to be made and

      (a) that person does not, within thirty days after the day on which the notice is sent, request that the Minister refer the case to the Court; or

(b) that person does so request and the Court decides that the person has obtained, retained, renounced or resumed citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances.


(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall state that the person in respect of whom the report is to be made may, within thirty days after the day on which the notice is sent to him, request that the Minister refer the case to the Court, and such notice is sufficient if it is sent by registered mail to the person at his latest known address


(3) A decision of the Court made under subsection (1) is final and, notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament, no appeal lies therefrom.

1974-75-76, c. 108, s. 17

* Can be viewed at Canada. Department of Justice:


[Note: The power to reject potential immigrants on security grounds does not appear on this list.]

Section 3:  No immigrant, passenger, or other person, unless he is a Canadian citizen, or has Canadian domicile, shall be permitted to enter or land in Canada, or in the case of having landed in or entered Canada shall be permitted to remain therein, who belongs to any of the following classes, herein called “prohibited classes” …

(d) Persons who have been convicted of, or admit having committed, any crime involving moral turpitude;

(i)     Persons who do not fulfill, meet or comply with the conditions and requirements of any regulation which for the time being are in force and applicable to such persons under this Act;


(p)    Enemy aliens or persons who have been enemy aliens  and who were or may be interned on or after the eleventh day of November, one thousand nine hundred and eighteen, in any part of His Majesty’s dominions or by any of His Majesty’s allies;

(q)    Persons guilty of espionage with respect to His Majesty or any of His Majesty’s allies;

(r)      Persons who have been found guilty of high treason or of conspiring against His Majesty, or of assisting His Majesty’s enemies in time of war, or of any similar offense against any of His Majesty’s allies;


 Section 38: The Governor-in Council may, by proclamation or order whenever he deems it necessary or expedient, …

            (c)  prohibit or limit in number … of immigrants belonging to any nationality or race or immigrants of any specific class or occupation, by reason of any economic, industrial or other condition temporarily existing in Canada, or because such immigrants are deemed unsuitable having regard to the climatic, industrial, social, educational, labour or other conditions or requirements of Canada or because such immigrants are deemed undesirable owing to their peculiar customs, habits, modes of life and method of holding property, and because of their probable inability to become readily assimilated or to assume the duties and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship within a reasonable time after their entry.



Note: These security regulations were dealt with by departmental administrative action rather than by legislation under the Immigration Act. The earliest statement of criteria presented to the Deschênes Commission was an R.C.M.P. memorandum dated November 20, 1948 entitled “Screening of Applicants for Admission to Canada … This statement of criteria was accepted as policy by the Security Panel.”[197]

“Any one or more of the following factors, if disclosed during interrogation or investigation, will be considered as rendering the subject unsuitable for admission:

(a)    Communist, known or strongly suspected, Communist agitator or suspected Communist agent.

(b)   Member of SS or German Wehrmacht.  Found to bear mark of SS Blood Group (NON Germans).

(c)    Member of Nazi Party.

(d)   Criminal (known or suspected).

(e)    Professional gambler.

(f)    Prostitute.

(g)   Black Market Racketeer.

(h)   Evasive and untruthful under interrogation.

(i)     Failure to produce recognizable and acceptable documents as to time of entry and residence in Germany.

(j)     False presentation: use of false or fictitious name.

(k)   Collaborator presently residing in previously occupied territory.

(l)     Member of the Italian Fascist Party or of the Mafia.

(m) Trotskyite or member of other revolutionary organization.


“The Department of Justice: Overview of Recent Activities and Achievements” – (August 2003) [198]


War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

The Department of Justice, in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, continues to demonstrate that Canada is a world leader in dealing with perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity [ed. highlighted in the text]. The sixth annual war crimes report, to be released later this year, will provide detailed information of the work that the partners carry out in order to ensure that Canada is not and will not be a safe-haven for persons involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity or other reprehensible acts [ed. highlighted in text] regardless of where or when they were committed.

Close to 20 cases have been started under the program, all involving the revocation of citizenship or deportation concerning individuals alleged to have been involved in committing atrocities during World War II [ed. highlighted in text]. The Department is also developing an infrastructure and identifying challenges in order to conduct investigations that will lead to successful prosecutions under Canada's new Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Many cases have been prioritized and are under active investigation.


Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act  [199]

2000, c. 24

An Act respecting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and to implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and to make consequential amendments to other Acts


6. (1) Every person who, either before or after the coming into force of this section, commits outside Canada

(a) genocide,

(b) a crime against humanity, or

(c) a war crime,

is guilty of an indictable offence and may be prosecuted for that offence in accordance with section 8.

(1.1) Every person who conspires or attempts to commit, is an accessory after the fact in relation to, or counsels in relation to, an offence referred to in subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence.

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (1.1)

(a) shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life, if an intentional killing forms the basis of the offence; and

(b) is liable to imprisonment for life, in any other case.


[1]  This is the position taken by Howard Margolian, who writes that as far as European refugees were concerned, Canada’s system of immigration screening was put on a solid footing. Unauthorized Entry: The Truth About Nazi War Criminals in Canada, 2000, Toronto, 66

[2]  Critics of the screening process include David Matas and Susan Charendorff, Justice Delayed: Nazi War Criminals in Canada, 1987, Toronto and Reginald Whitaker, Double Standard: The Secret History of Canadian Immigration,  1987, Toronto

[3]  Overseas files were routinely destroyed after five years. In 1982-83 over 600 feet of headquarters case files were “inadvertently” destroyed, leaving behind almost no individual case files.  Deputy Solicitor General to the Solicitor General, 22 May 1984, Canada. Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, Report, Part 1, Public, Hon. Jules Deschênes, Commissioner, 30 December 1986 (hereafter referred to as Deschênes Commission. Unless otherwise indicated, all references refer to Part 1),  exhibit P-118


[4]  Consequently, this is an area full of creative speculation. One may, for instance, wonder how Margolian can confidently write that not 6000, as some others have claimed, but only 500 war criminals came to Canada, when at the same time he admits in an appendix to a lack of documentary sources.  He consequently acknowledges that the actual number of collaborators who came to Canada cannot be determined. Unauthorized Entry, 194-95


[5]  The author’s overseas experience as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration stationed during the 1950s and early 1960s in Germany and the UK leads him to be skeptical of the government’s claim regarding security screening’s integrity. In thirty years of academic work at the university he focused on questions of WWII war guilt and immigration history.  He directed graduate seminars in the Nuremberg trials and several of his ex-students worked at the War Crimes Unit of the Department of Justice in Ottawa. As a member and past president of the Canadian Immigration Historical Society, the author maintained contacts with some of the retired immigration officers who have testified for the government at these war crimes trials. He has dealt with problems of Austrian war guilt in his Austria in World War Two: An Anglo-American Dilemma, 1989, McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal and Kingston.

[6]  The Nazi prohibition was dropped in 1950. Non-Germans conscripted into the Waffen SS after 1942 were exempted in 1951 as were, in 1953, Waffen SS German nationals under the age of 18 at the time of conscription and ethnic Germans (the Volksdeutsche) conscripted under duress. The more general ban on veterans of all German military and SS units was relaxed in 1956 in cases of exceptional merit or where these veterans had close relatives in Canada. Specific exclusions were removed altogether in 1962. There remained only the loose catch-all exclusion of those "implicated in the taking of life or engaged in activities connected with forced labour and concentration camps."   “War Criminals: The Deschênes Commission,” prepared by Grant Purvis, Political and Social Affairs Division, The Parliamentary Library, revised October 1998.


[7]  See footnote 3 above for full reference to the commission

[8]  Justice MacKay’s adverse Oberlander decision, paras. 100 and 104


[9]  Immigration fraud trials are held in Federal Court, Trial Division.  The following represent judges’ opinions supporting the government’s position under the Canada Citizenship Act regarding the security system’s integrity.  Mr. Justice McKeown’s 1998 judgment in Wasily Bogutin, found that he had obtained Canadian citizenship illegally, paras 115, 125, 83.  In the Odynsky case Justice MacKay also held that a process “was in place for examining d.p.’s at Munich who applied to come to Canada in 1949”. Any security officer who questioned R and had learned from that interview about his wartime service “at least would have asked questions about that service to assess whether he should be considered admissible under security criteria.”  When R’s visa was stamped and signed by an immigration officer, R had been interviewed by a security officer.  If this had not happened, then R would not have been issued a visa, paras 173 and 174, 218-21.  Mr. Justice MacKay ruled identically regarding the integrity of the security screening process in the Oberlander case. “When R (Oberlander) made application to immigrate there was an established process for considering applicants in Karlsruhe, Germany at that time which included all 3 examinations—medical, visa and security”, paras 201 and 208. In the Kisluk case, Mr. Justice Lutfy ruled that when R was issued immigration visa on Dec. 20/48 there was a screening process involving 3-person teams in place, consisting of an immigration officer, medical officer and a security officer. In Dec. 1948 Nazi collaborators would have been screened as undesirables or security risks by visa control officers, although the judge admitted that this conclusion resulted partly from hearsay,  paras 120 and 130. Mr. Justice McKeown in the Baumgartner case held that in response to R’s assertion that evidence of immigration practices was purely circumstantial, “the Minister has demonstrated the basic practices that would have been followed in Munich during the time of R’s application and interviews concerning application for landing in Canada.” para 87.


[10]  Mr. Justice McKeown in the Vitols case, paras 276, 284, 181


[11]  Mr. Justice Noël’s judgment regarding Dueck’s possible immigration fraud, T-938-95, paras 281 and 287. See also the J. Tremblay-Lamer 2002 decision in the Obodzinski case, although the circumstances were not usual.


[12]  Statement in the Canadian Parliament by the Honourable Ray Hnatyshyn, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the ensuing debate.  Canada. House of Commons Debates, March 12, 1987, 4075-84


[13]  The cases concerned  Finta, Pawlowski, Reistetter and Grujicic. Only the Finta case was completed at trial, where he was acquitted for lack of evidence. The decision was upheld by both the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.  For a good summary, see  Joseph Rikhof, Special Counsel and Policy Advisor of the War Crimes Section of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, “War Crimes Law, As Applied in Canada,”


[14]  See appendix 5 below. While touting the new criminal law, a government legal expert affirmed the usefulness and justice of the immigration fraud route: “Now that criminal proceedings in Canada might become a reality again, investigators and prosecutors will be able to rely on extensive legal materials to assist them in bringing war criminals to justice. At the same time, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration can continue its aggressive campaign against impunity in the knowledge that the innovative legal approaches used in the past have for the most part been sanctioned by both the Canadian and international legal system.”  ibid.


[15]  See paragraph 18 of the above act. Routinely review is refused, as in the Jacob Fast case:


[16]  According to paragraph 10 of the Canadian Citizenship Act, if the “Governor in Council, on a report from the Minister, is satisfied that any person has obtained, retained, renounced or resumed citizenship under this act by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances, (a) the person ceases to be a citizen…”  See appendix 1 below.

[17]  “Federal Government Announces WWII War Crimes Strategy,” Federal Government News Release, January 31, 1995; Justice Minister Alan Rock in Parliament, January 31, 1995


[18]  Canada. Department of Justice, Canada’s War Crimes Program, 7th Annual Report 2003-04. 

See also statement of 12 January 2003,  See also appendix 4 below.  One of its legal consultants claims that “The Canadian courts have also made significant strides in the understanding of what amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity. This did not happen in the criminal context but rather by the Federal Court of Canada when giving judgments about immigration and refugee law”.  Rikhof, “War Crimes Law, As Applied in Canada,” see footnote 12 above


[19]  Quoted from Janice Tibbetts, “Minister Vows To Go After War Criminals. Rooting out Nazis a Priority, First Jewish Minister Says,” The Ottawa Citizen, January 6, 2004    


[20]  Government of Canada, Department of Justice, Canada’s War Crimes Program, 7th Annual Report, Ottawa, 2004. “Canada is not a safe haven for war criminals.  If we have any war criminals among us, it is too many.” “Government Record on War Crimes”, 1997, updated 1 December 2002,


[21]  The announcement of the two cases marks the first new development in the Nazi-era war crimes file in years, and brings the total number of Nazi-era war crimes cases, either before the courts, pending or

[22]  The wording is typically as follows: the Minister commenced citizenship revocation proceedings on the ground of false representation, fraud or concealment of material circumstances.


[23]  Bogutin, Nebel, Tobiass, Nemsila, Kentsavicius, Kisluk; Csatary and Maciukus.


[24]  Vitols, Dueck, Podins


[25]  Bogutin and Kisluk (both passed away,) were found guilty of war crimes; Obodzinsky, Oberlander, Odynsky, Baumgartner, Fast, Katriuk were found guilty of immigration fraud. Two new cases have been opened in 2004, Skomatchuk and Furman


[26]  Senior Legal Counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, David Matas, has pointed to the long drawn out procedures.  Cabinet, according to Matas, has taken too long to confirm court rulings in favour of deportation; one case has been ongoing for eight years. Matas’ submission to the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration referring to revocation of citizenship, November 21, 2002


[27]  The following is based on information from Oberlander’s lawyer, Eric Hafemann.

[28]  Adrian Humphreys, “Deportation of Accused Nazi Halted”, National Post, January 10, 2004. Peter Worthington, “Justice a Long Time Coming,” Toronto Star, 2 June 2004. The 31.5.2004 decision is found in: The Minister “should she decide to again seek revocation of citizenship, is expected to present the Governor in Council with a new report, which will address the concerns expressed by the Court in these reasons.”

[29]  Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 - 1 October 1946, Washington, 22 vols.   For the best information on the Nuremberg and subsequent trials, see the Avalon Project at Yale University,


[30]  Wartime writing remained necessarily general.  See Hermann Rauschnigg, The Revolution of Nihilism, 1938, London; Ernst Fraenkel, The Dual State, 1940, New York; Robert Gilbert Vansittart, Black Record: German Past and Present, 1941, London; Franz L. Neumann, Behemouth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1944, New York; A.J.P. Taylor, The Course of German History, 1945, London


[31]  Gerhard Ritter, Europa und die  Deutsche Frage, 1947, Stuttgart; Friedrich Meinecke, The German Catastrophe, 1950, Boston; C.J. Friedrich and Z. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy, 1956, Cambridge 


[32]  These discussions continued in the 60s and 70s, e.g. George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology, 1964, London; Henry  Asby Turner, Faschismus und Kapitalismus in Deutschland, 1976, Munich;  books by Hans-Ulrich Wehler and Fritz Fischer, David Schoenbaum and Ralf Dahrendorf, for instance


[33]  Bibliographies are too extensive to cite here.  See  Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State in Germany 1933-1945, 1991, Cambridge University Press, 310ff  


[34]  ibid., for samples, 1-4


[35]  For instance, Alan Bullock’s Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives (1991) and Richard Overy’s recent  The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia (2004)


[36]  Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration. Public Policy and Public Concern, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Kingston and Montreal, 1988, 83


[37]  R.C.M.P. officers W.H. Kelly and Albert A. Greening’s testimony to the Deschênes Commission, Deschênes Commission, vol 7, 913-4 and vol  8, 1003


[38]  Sgt. J. Murray to R.C.M.P. headquarters, 7 and 12 March 1947, quoted in Alti Rodal,  “Nazi War Criminals in Canada. The Historical and Policy Setting from the 1940s to the Present” ,unpublished manuscript prepared for the Deschênes Commission, September 1986,  184. Some references are to this unpublished version attached to the Deschênes Commission, others to her published version with the same title


[39]  Administrative security regulations sections (a) Communist, known or strongly suspected, Communist agitator or suspected Communist Agent, and (m) Trotskyite or member of other revolutionary organization. R.C.M.P. memorandum, 20 November 1948, quoted in Deschênes Commission, section 94. See appendix 3


[40]  Under Operation Matchbox, selected German scientists and technicians were settled in Canada by Order-in-Council P.C. 2047, 29 May 1947. Deschênes Commission, 51

[41]  Reg Whitaker, Double Standard, The Secret History of Canadian Immigration, 1987, Lester and Oren Dennys, Toronto,   24. See also Mr. Justice McKeown in the Vitols case, para 281


[42]  Justice Delayed, 21


[43]  Deschênes Commission,   260

[44]  Alan Finkel, “Canadian Immigration Policy and the Cold War, 1945-50,” Journal of Canadian Studies,  21, 3, 1986, 53-70

[45]  1945 War Crimes Regulations, 1946 War Crimes Act, schedule, regulations, s.2[f], quoted in Deschênes Commission,  41

[46]  ibid., 26.  Howard Margolian, Conduct Unbecoming: The Story of the Murder of Canadian Prisoners of War in Normandy, 1998, Toronto


[47]  “Punishment of war crimes is more a matter of discouraging future generation than of meting out retribution to every guilty individual … it is now necessary to dispose of the past as soon as possible.” Grant Purvis, “War Criminals: The Deschênes Commission,” Political and social Affairs Division, Library of parliament, revised 1998.


[48]  Quoted in Deschênes Commission, 27.

[49]  Whitaker, Double Standard, 24

[50]  Deschênes Commission, 41

[51]  ibid.,  28

[52]  ibid.,  29

53  ibid., 33

[54]  Totals by year: 1946/47 – 0; 1947/48 – 14,250; 1948/49 – 33,197; 1949/50 – 24,911; 1950/51 – 41,016; 1951/52 – 1,713.  Alan G. Green, Immigration and The Postwar Economy, Toronto, 1976, 28


[55]  Between 1945 and 1975, 3.5 million immigrants arrived in Canada.  Only Australia accepted more immigrants per capita of the population than Canada.


[56]  Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None Is Too Many. Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948, Lester, Orpen Dennys, Toronto, 1983 and 1986, 145


[57]  Hawkins, Canada and Immigration, ibid., 83


[58]  ibid.,  198

[59]  ibid., 246

[60]  Gerald E. Dirks, Canada’s Refugees Policy.  Indifference or Opportunism? McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and London, 1977,  150

[61]  Hawkins, Canada and Immigration,   246                      

[62]  Al Troy, "Secrets of 35 Years Misspent in Government Service," Canadian Immigration Historical Society Bulletin, Ottawa, and Backspace, several parts, 17, June 1994 to 1998.  Mr. Troy appeared several times in the trials as a government witness

[63]  Bernard Brodie and Gerry van Kessel, eds, “A Man of Big Heart. The Memoirs of Maurice Mitchell”, typed ms, Canadian Immigration Historical Society,  Ottawa, 1996, 36

[64]  Hawkins, Canada and Immigration,  247. Canadian Immigration Historical Society, Where Do I Get My Visa?, an unofficial history of former Immigration Foreign Service Officer until their absorption into External Affairs in 1981


[65]  Valery Knowles, Strangers At Our Gate.  Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-1977,  Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1997, 128

[66]  Howe also became acting minister of Mines and Natural Resources for a while.


[67]  Robert Bothwell and William Kilbourn, C.D. Howe.  A Biography, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston, 1979,  234, 248

[68]  Hugh Keenleyside, Memoirs, vol. 2,  On The Bridge of Time, 1982, Toronto, 295-303


[69]  Danys, DP. Lithuanian Immigration to Canada,  93-4

[70]  Keenleyside,  Memoirs, , vol 2, 300


[71]  The Stratton Bill introduced in April 1947 became law in June 1948, allowing entry to the US of 205,000 DPs


[72]  Hawkins, Canada and Immigration, 239, 241

[73]  Dirks, Canada’s Refugees Policy, 159-64

[74]  Hawkins, Canada and Immigration,  240-1


[75]  PC 1373 of 9 April 1946, replacing PC 2653 of 4 September 1939


[76]  Memorandum for cabinet from J.A. Glen, 23 February 1948, National Archives of Canada (hereafter NAC), Department of External Affairs (hereafter DEA), vol 104, file 3-24-1, pt 1


[77]  Rodal,  “Nazi War Criminals in Canada,  159, 166

[78]  Norman Hillson’s biography Alexander of Tunis, London, 1952


[79]  Earl Alexander to Prime Minister Louis St Laurent, May 1946;  Department of Foreign Affairs, Lester B. Pearson to C.H. Payne, Deputy Minister of National War Services, 15 January 1947, NAC, Citizenship and Immigration,  ACC 84-85/019, Box 305, file 9414-40.  20 Jahre Baltischer Hilfsverein in Kanada Inc, 1968. Also Mathias Küster, „Die Deutschbalten in Kanada“, Deutschkanadisches Jahrbuch/German Canadian Yearbook, 5, 1979, 55-65


[80]  W.J.H. Sturhahn, They Came From East and West. A History of German Immigration to Canada, North American Baptist and Colonization Society, 1976.  Dirk, Canada’s Refugee Policy, 161-3


[81]  Robillard testimony, Deschênes Commission, vol 11, May 15, 1986


[82]  Hajo Holborn, International Refugee Organization. The History and Organization of a Specialized Agency, Oxford University Press, New York, 1956, 369

[83]  Dirks, Canada’s Refugee Policy,  119

[84]  Described by retired immigration officer Roger St. Vincent, “Memoirs 1947-82.  Journey and Challenges: A Rewarding Career with Immigration Canada.” Typed ms, Canadian Immigration Historical Society, Ottawa, chapter 2, June 1948-April 1952.  Mr. St. Vincent has been brought back from his retirement in Slovenia to testify for the government about  immigration selection and security


[85]  Dirk, Canada’s Refugee Policy,  120

[86]  Joseph Robillard testimony, Deschênes Commission, vol 11, 1207-1


[87]  ibid., 1266


[88]  Mr. Justice Noël was not convinced that R had completed an application form or IRO form with wartime information that would have been relied upon for security screening, Dueck case, para 224.


[89]  Dirks, Canada’s Refugee Policy, 119. Indeed, sometimes they needed two interpreters, one to go from a foreign language to German and another from German to English.

[90]  Keenleyside, On the Bridge of Time, vol 2, 301


[91]  St. Vincent, “Memoirs 1947-82.  Journey and Challenges”, 19


[92]  Abella and Troper, None Is Too Many,   214

[93]  Section 38 of the Immigration Act dealt with the immigration officers’ responsibility to look into an applicant’s “peculiar customs, habits, modes of life, methods of holding property, or because of his probable inability to become readily adapted and integrated into the life of a Canadian community and to assume the duties of Canadian citizenship within a reasonable time after his entry.” Rodal, “­Nazi War Criminals in Canada”, 200


[94]  David A. Corbett, Canada’s Immigration Policy, Toronto, 1957, 77


[95]  Attorney General of Canada vs Brent, ibid., 39


[96]  Tom Kent, A Public Purpose. An Experience in Liberal Opposition and Canadian Government, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston, 1988,  407-08


[97]  ibid.

[98]  ibid., 411


[99]  John Sawatsky, Men in the Shadows, Toronto, 1980,  71, 92

[100]  2,500 “potentially dangerous enemy aliens” were interned for the British during the war in Canada, many of them Jews. In 1945 they were re-classified as “interned refugees (friendly aliens)”, 972 of whom accepted to become Canadian citizens.


[101]  Arnold Heeney, Clerk of the Privy Council,  memorandum of 20 September 1946 to Mr. Robertson regarding PC 6687, 26 October 1945.National Archives of Canada (NAC), Canada, Department of External Affairs, 621-PF-40C


[102]  Robillard testimony to the Deschênes Commission, “Q. Mr. Robillard, if I may interrupt you just for a moment, in your recollection was there any security screening given to war brides or to the people who accompanied them? A. None at all, because it did not matter if a war bride had been condemned to jail or anything.  No, no. If a Canadian soldier got married he was entitled to have his wife in Canada, period, regardless.” Deschênes Commission, vol 11, 1261-4, 1303-4  Joyce Hibbert, War Brides, Signet Press, 1978


[103]  109 Cabinet Conclusions, 25 October 1945. Informal Departmental Meeting on Immigration Matters East Block, 6 February 1946. NAC, Laurent Baudry Papers, vol 6, f 114.


[104]  H.A.R. Gagnon, A/R.C.M.P. Commissioner, Director Criminal Division to Laurent Beaudry, A/Under-Secretary of External Affairs, 16 May 1946. NAC, Laurent Beaudry Papers, MG30, E151, vol 6, f 114.


[105]  Deschênes Commission, section 94.  “The earliest statement of the criteria in evidence before the Court is a memorandum from the R.C.M.P. records, dated at Ottawa, November 20, 1948 entitled “Screening of Applicants for Admission to Canada. … This statement of criteria was accepted as policy by the Security Panel.”


 [106]  Second Meeting of the Security Panel, 8 July 1946 and Assistant R.C.M.P. Commissioner letter of 16 May 1946. NAC, Canada. Department of Citizenship and Immigration, RG2/18, vol 251, file S-100-M


[107]  PC 3112, 23 July 1946


[108]  Memorandum to Cabinet, May 27, 1946. NAC, Citizenship and Immigration,  vol 94, file P-65-1


[109]  External Affairs to the Canadian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, 28 September 1946.   NAC, External Affairs,  621-PF-40C.


[110]  ibid., R.C.M.P. S/Sgt. Shakespeare’s report, “Exchange of German P.O.W. for Demobilized Polish Soldiers for Farm and Lumber Work,” covering letter of R.C.M.P. Commissioner to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, 17 January 1947


[111]  ibid., C.E.S. Smith, Commissioner, Department of Mines and Resources, memorandum for file, 21 May 1948. Also C.E.S. Smith to R. Ranger, Department of Labour, 21 May 1948. NAC, RG27, vol 628, file 23-7-17-5-1. Also Immigration Form 30, which contains no questions on WWII service. The final figures were 307 not landed, left Canada, deceased or with medical problems, 4220 landed. Ottawa, 6 August 1953. Walter Obodzinsky, one of the Canadians charged with immigration fraud, came to Canada under this programme. In 1948 nine boats carrying 987 Estonian refugees from Sweden arrived in Canada.  They were “processed through an ad hoc arrangement: Purvis, “War Criminals.” Alti Rodal, Nazi War Criminals in Canada, 475-76.  Margolian disputes this, Unauthorized Entry, 244, n.99


[112]  J.R. Baldwin, A/Secretary to the Cabinet, to J.A. Glen, Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, (exact date?) NAC, Citizenship and Immigration, vol 100, file 3-18-187.


[113]  Cabinet Conclusions, 5 August 1946. Also 5th meeting of the Security Panel, 19 August 1946.  NAC,  Citizenship and Immigration , 18,  vol 251, file S-100-M


[114]  Compare the two regulations in Appendix 2 and 3



[115]  “The simple answer is to say that the Gouzenko case started the Cold War.”  J. L. Granatstein in John Sawatsky,  Gouzenko.  The Untold Story, Toronto. 1984, 276


[116]  Purvis, “War Criminals”,


[117]  Granatstein, Man of Influence,  182

[118]  When the Deschênes Commission sat in 1984-85, it found that the earliest statement of the criteria in evidence before the Court was in a memorandum from the R.C.M.P. records, dated at Ottawa, November 20, 1948 entitled “Screening of Applicants for Admission to Canada” … This statement of criteria was accepted as policy by the Security Panel.” Deschênes Commission, section 94


[119]  Donald Avery, “Canadian Immigration Policy Towards Europe 1942-52: Altruism and Self-Interest”, 50.


[120]  External Affairs memorandum of 14 February 1946, exhibit “B” in Mr. John Baker’s affidavit, cited in  Federal Appeal Court ruling of 20 December 2002 by Mr. Justices Létourneau, para 32


[121]  Mr. d’Ombrain’s affidavits at various war crimes trials contains much valuable information in this regard.

[122]  J. L. Granatstein, A Man of Influence.  Norman A. Robertson and Canadian Statecraft 1929-68, Denneau, Toronto, 1981, 168. Also Norman d’Ombrain affidavit on security policy submitted to war crimes trials, 6-7

[123]  Granatstein, Man of Influence,  168

[124]  S.T. Woods, R.C.M.P. Commissioner, to Minister of Justice Louis St Laurent,  exhibit “G”, Mr. John Baker’s affidavit, cited in  Federal Appeal Court ruling of 20 December 2002 in the Obodzinsky case

[125]  Dueck transcript, 577

[126]  Memorandum for Security Panel, 22 Jan 1947. Memorandum for the Prime Minister, “Rejection of Prospective Immigrants on Security Grounds,” Norman Robertson, Privy Council Office, 16 September 1949. NAC, External Affairs,  file 50207-40

[127]  ibid. For the administrative security regulation, see Appendix 2 below.

[128]  Margolian, Unauthorized Entry, 214, assumes that the definition was clear enough.  However, a reviewer found that he still needed “to explain particularly for the latter element [collaborator. ed] the perception among Canadian immigration officials.” Urs Obrist,


[129]  Dueck judgment, 1


[130]  ­Affidavit in ibid., para 252 and Odynsky case


[131]  Dueck judgment


[132]  Robillard testimony, Deschênes Commission, vol 11, 1297


[133]  Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration vs Peteris (Peter) Vitols, the Hon. Mr. Justice McKeown, Decision, Vancouver, 23 September 1998, 61ff, especially  65

[134]  Letter from E. W. Gill, Acting Secretary, Security Panel, to J. A. Glen, Minister of Mines and Resources, August 23, 1946. Exhibit 8, Document 325, Dueck case


[135]  Rodal, “War Criminals in Canada”, 89


[136]  Mr. d'Ombrain used the term "unrefined" in his affidavit. See d'Ombrain affidavit under the heading "Refinement of Criteria Relating to Wartime Activities", at paras. 93-109. Mr. Justice Noël in the Dueck case, paragraph 154


[137]  Mr. Justice McKeown in the Vitols case, paragraphs 181, 249, 260 and 276


[138]  Purvis, “War Criminals: The Deschênes Commission”


[139]  P.C.1950-2856, “Immigration Act: Prohibiting the landing in Canada of Immigrants with certain exceptions, 9 June 1950.  Canada Gazette (part two), 28 June 1950


[140]  Cabinet Directive 14, Rejection of Immigrants on Security Grounds, implemented by Order-in-Council P.C. 1950-2856, 9 June 1950. Justice J. Tremblay-Lamer decision re: Obodzinsky, para 48. Under this 1950 authority, officials could prevent entry to Canada of anyone if they had “reasonable grounds” for believing “that the applicant promoted subversion or were likely to engage in or advocate subversion.”  These regulations were aimed, of course, against Communists.

[141]  Purvis, “War Criminals” , Parliamentary Library,


[142]  Gerald Dirks, “Canadian Immigration.  International and Domestic Considerations in the Decades Preceding the 1956 Hungarian Exodus,” in. Robert H. Keyserlingk, ed, Breaking Ground. The 1956 Hungarian Refugee Movement to Canada, York Lanes Press, Toronto, 1993, 4.  Also Reg Whitaker, Double Standard,  4


[143]  C.W.Harvison, The Horsemen, Toronto, 1967,  87

[144]  Charles Rivett-Carnac, In Pursuit of Wilderness, Toronto, 1965,   293

[145]  Robert H. Keyserlingk, “Agents Within the Gates. The Search for Nazi Subversives During World War Two,” Canadian Historical Journal, 55, 2, 1985, 211-39

[146]  L. Fortier to A.L. Joliffe, 22 April 1948. NAC, Citizenship and Immigration, v.164 f.3-18-17(I),

[147]  L. Fortier to A.L. Joliffe, 22 April 1948. ibid.

[148]  Wood to Keenleyside, 10 May 1948. ibid., v. 164 f.3-32-1(1),

[149]  Associate Commissioner R.C.M.P. to Commissioner for Immigration, 7.2.1949. NAC, Citizenship and Immigration, v.166 f.3-25-11(2),

[150]  ibid.

[151]  In the Katriuk case, Mr. Justice Nadon held that questions about R’s past on the form OS-8 were only about his employment or jobs in the previous decade, paragraphs 136, 150, but contradicts this in paragraph 145. In the Dueck case, Mr. Justice Noël ruled that the government had not established the type of uniform practice that would allow him to conclude that R was required to complete a Canadian form elucidating his occupation and activities over the prior ten years, paragraph 221.


[152]  In the Oberlander trial, the government could only produce  a typed version of the form, paras 121, 123, 126


[153]  First came the Stage A or medical interview, followed by the Stage B or security interview, and concluded by the encounter with an immigration officer


[154]  R.C.M.P. Sergeant Murray was in Germany, quoted in Rodal,” Nazi War Criminals in Canada”, 184

[155]  See also Howard Margolian, who worked for the War Crimes Unit, Unauthorized Entry. He notes that accurate information was hard to come by and the security system was overloaded.

[156]  ibid.

[157]  Quoted in Deschênes Commission,  222

[158]  Dueck judgment


[159]  Granatstein, A Man of Influence, 81, and The Ottawa Men, Toronto, 1982

[160]  Granatstein, 180. See footnote 54 above for DP statistics

[161]  10th meeting, Security Panel, 30 January 1947. Memorandum to Cabinet, “ Security Screening of Immigrants,” 4 February 1947. Cabinet Conclusions 29.1 and 5.2.1947; v. 420, Cabinet Document 387. NAC, William Lyon Mackenzie King Papers, Memos and Notes, v. 419. 29.  Rodal, “Nazi War Criminals in Canada,” 182

[162]  Letter to J. A. Glen, Minister of Mines and Resources from A. D. P. Heeney, Secretary to the Cabinet, February 7, 1947. Exhibit 9, Document 400. Dueck case

[163]  ibid.


[164]  Rodal, “Nazi War Criminals in Canada”, 182


[165]  Mr. Justice Noël in the Dueck case


[166]  Associate Commissioner R.C.M.P. to Commissioner for Immigration, 7.2.1949. NAC, Citizenship and Immigration, v.166 f3-25-11(2)

[167]  Security Panel Meeting, 5 April 1949; R.C.M.P. memo, “Security Screening of immigrants - present problems”. NAC, Privy Council Office, Acc. No 83-84, f-S-100-M

[168]  Robillard spoke of this friction between security and visa officers in his Deschênes testimony. ­Deschênes Commission, vol 11


[169]  Rodal, “Nazi War Criminals in Canada,” 200. Professors Abella and Troper concluded in their important study about Jewish immigration to Canada that as early as 1946-47, “The rules of admission were less important to Immigration Branch officials than the total number of refugees any programme would actually admit.” Abella and  Troper, None Is Too Many, 214

[170]  Hawkins, Canada and Immigration,  282-83

[171]  Mr. Justice MacKay in the Odynsky case, para 110. In the Baumgartner case, Mr. Justice McKeown accepted the testimony of ex-immigration officer Mr. St. Vincent “that immigration officers never overruled the decision of a security officer.”  para 98. 


[172]  In the Katriuk case, Mr. Justice Nadon found against R for immigration fraud, but also remarked that “I am prepared to recognize that there was a possibility that an immigration officer could have decided to admit R to Canada.” para 145


[173]  Rodal, “Nazi War Criminals in Canada”,  219

[174]  Whitaker, Double Standard, 34


[175]  Keenleyside, On The Bridge of Time, vol 2, 298


[176]  Robillard’s testimony, Deschênes Commission, vol 11, 1287


[177]  The Hon. J.W. Pickersgill, “The Minister and the Hungarian Refugees,” and Earl E. McCarthy, “The Hungarian Refugee Movement: Transportation and Settlement in Canada”, in Keyserlingk, Breaking Ground, 58ff, 48ff.


[178]  For more information on the division, see Wolf-Dietrich Heike, The Ukrainian Division 'Galicia', 1943-45; A Memoir,  Toronto, 1988. Translation of  Sie Wollten die Freiheit. Michael O. Logusz,  Galicia Division; the Waffen-SS 14th Grenadier Division,  1943-1945, 1997, Atglen, Pa


[179]  Letter from Acting Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to Canadian Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, 9 August 1950, quoted in The Deschênes Report, 251-52

[180]  Memo from Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 6 June 1950, quoted in ibid.,  250 

[181]  Canada.  House of Commons, Debates, 1950, 15 June 1950, vol 4, 3696


[182]  Rodal, “Nazi War Criminals in Canada”, 123

[183]  Letter from Minister Walter Harris to Samuel Bronfman, 5 July 1950,  quoted in Deschênes Commission,  251 

[184]  Deschênes Commission,   256ff

[185]  Quoted in ibid.,  254

[186]  ibid., 166.  Mr. Justice McKeown  concluded in the Vitols case that admission of members of units such as the Latvian army or Waffen SS was discretionary on the part of the visa control officer, para 284

[187]  Mr. Justice McKeown’s  September 23, 1998 decision in the Vitols case


[188]  Security Panel, Minutes of 31st meeting, 27 October, 1950, 7, quoted in Nicolas d’Ombrain’s affidavit in the Odynsky trial, 24, ftnt 103. “The Nazi prohibition was dropped in 1950. Non-Germans conscripted into the Waffen SS after 1942 were exempted in 1951 as were, in 1953, Waffen SS German nationals under the age of 18 at the time of conscription and ethnic Germans (the Volksdeutsche) conscripted under duress. The more general ban on veterans of all German military and SS units was relaxed in 1956 in cases of exceptional merit or where these veterans had close relatives in Canada. Specific exclusions were removed altogether in 1962. There remained only the loose catch-all exclusion of those "implicated in the taking of life or engaged in activities connected with forced labour and concentration camps." Rikhof, “War Crimes Law, As Applied in Canada,”


[189]  ibid.

[190]  Rodal, “Nazi War Criminals in Canada”, 190-95

[191]  ibid.,  200

[192]  Deschênes Commission,  221-23

[193]  ibid.,  227

[194]  ibid., 224

[195]  ibid.

[196]  Alti Rodal, Nazi War Criminals in Canada, 475-76

[197]  Deschênes Commission, section 94