Kitchener-Waterloo Record | 22Jun2007 | Stan Carroll

Restore his citizenship

I have never met Helmut Oberlander but I support the restoration of his Canadian citizenship.

Oberlander and I are approximately the same age. Both of us entered the war as teenagers -- Oberlander as an interpreter, and I as a member of an armoured regiment.

I was fortunate enough after VE Day to escort the ferocious German general Kurt Meyer part way to the Nuremberg trials. His staff car was directly behind us. I was in the turret of an armoured car. I looked down the sight of a Bren gun and aimed it directly at him. His composure never altered. I smiled at him, but his response was unemotional.

Meyer was tried for war crimes, found guilty and sentenced to death, then to life in prison. He was later released, got a job as a beer salesman -- a career that was short-lived as he died of a heart attack at age 51.

So there we have one man who shot Canadian prisoners of war and turned a blind eye to those under his command who did likewise. He was set free.

And Helmut Oberlander who translated messages from Russian to German is still being persecuted.

His citizenship should be returned to him as a demonstration of our compassionate Canadian way of life.

Stan Carroll

New Hamburg