THE next time the federal cabinet meets, it should revoke the citizenship of five Nazi collaborators -- Vladimir Katriuk, Helmut Oberlander, Michael Baumgartner, Jacob Fast and Wasyl Odynsky.
[W.Z. We note that Mr. Matas has switched from his usual terminology of "Nazi war criminals" to "Nazi collaborators". Presumably, he means this in the sense of "collaborators with the German occupiers" rather than "members of the National Socialist Deutsche Arbeit Party (NSDAP)". In order to survive, virtually all inhabitants of the areas occupied by the Germans (or Russians) during WWII were obliged to "collaborate" with the Germans (or Russians) in one way or another. During the maelstrom of WWII, the overriding desire of all inhabitants was to survive the murderous regimes of Hitler and Stalin by whatever means possible. One should not automatically condemn such "collaboration", unless the "collaborator" personally committed documented crimes.
This particularly applies to people of Jewish origin, such as the Judenraten, Jewish police and informers, who collaborated with the German occupiers and also with the Soviet Bolshevik occupiers. For example, Hannah Arendt in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem states "wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis." Lucy Dawidowicz in her book The Holocaust and the Historians (see dawidowicz01.html) admits that "In many ghettos -- the Jews regarded the officials of the Judenrat with dislike, distrust and sometimes contempt." and that "resistance groups carried out a considerable number of death sentences against members of the Jewish police who had behaved with exceptional brutality or against Jews who worked as informers for the Gestapo."]
Bringing criminals against humanity to justice requires legal effectiveness and political will. Until the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Rwandan Leon Mugesera in June of this year, the effectiveness of the Canadian legal system was in doubt. Now the issue is: does the government have the political will?[W.Z. In this paragraph, Mr. Matas makes the quantum jump from "collaborators" to "criminals against humanity". MP Peter Goldring has publicly chided Citizenship and Immigration Minister Joe Volpe for attempting to equate the case of Leon Mugesera with that of Wasyl Odynsky. And the real issue is: does the Holocaust Industry have sufficient clout to force the government to execute its political agenda?]
In order to launch the cases against them in Federal Court, the war crimes unit in the Department of Justice determined that there is compelling evidence linking the Nazi five to crimes against humanity. The court decided that all five lied their way into Canada. Yet the government has sat on these cases for years. Citizenship Minister Joe Volpe has said he would send these cases to cabinet for revocation of citizenship. Will cabinet do anything?
[W.Z. First, we note that Mr. Matas is now calling his five victims Nazis -- i.e., members of the NSDAP. Secondly, in most cases, the Canadian war crimes unit did not even attempt to establish criminality and, furthermore, all judges specifically ruled that there is no "compelling evidence linking" his five victims "to crimes against humanity."]
Advocates for the five have argued that a person should not lose citizenship for crimes against humanity because its revocation requires proof on a balance of probabilities and an accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. This argument ignores the fact that in revocation proceedings, the Federal Court has held that, in light of the seriousness of the allegations against the five, the evidence must be scrutinized with great care. All five lost their cases despite this careful scrutiny. As well, though the ultimate conclusions in the revocation cases is that the five lied their way into Canada, the evidence against them of complicity in crimes against humanity, set out in the Federal Court reasons, is damning.
[W.Z. Once again, Mr. Matas makes the fraudulent connection between the d&d process, which is a civil process using "on a balance of probabilities" criteria and crimes against humanity, which should be a criminal judicial process utilizing "beyond a reasonable doubt" criteria. He justifies this by claiming that the evidence was "scrutinized with great care". This is a bastardization of the terminology "clear and convincing evidence, not leaving the issue in doubt" utilized by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in claiming the guilt of John Demjanjuk, while at the same time concealing evidence that Mr. Demjanjuk could not possibly have been the sadistic guard that they were accusing him of being.
Finally, like a true demagogue, Mr. Matas introduces the concept of complicity. He concedes that his five victims may not have personally perpetrated crimes against humanity, but simply by being alive in Ukraine during the WWII cataclysm they are complicit in the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the regimes of Hitler and Stalin.
Mr. Matas should be careful with such accusations, for it could be persuasively argued that many so-called Jewish "survivors" were complicit in these very same crimes, or the Holodomor of 1932/33, or the Great Terror of the 1930s. Similarly, one could logically accuse the Holocaust Industry and its supporters of being complicit in crimes against humanity in the Middle East and elsewhere. Complicity is an elastic concept.]
Helmut Oberlander was an interpreter for the einsatzgruppen, the German Nazi roving units in Eastern Europe tasked with killing Jews. The Germans did not know who the Jews were or where they lived. To get that information, they depended on local authorities. The Germans would have the authorities identify Jews so that they could be rounded up and executed. Oberlander was the interpreter for these meetings. That is enough for him to be complicit in crimes against humanity even though the court observed that there was no evidence he was present at any execution. Oberlander admitted he interpreted for the Germans without admitting the subject matter.
[W.Z. The main purpose of the German einsatzgruppen patrolling the occupied territories in the wake of the advancing German armies was identical to that of the SMERSH units following in the wake of the reconquering Red Army as they drove the Germans from Ukrainian territory. It was to terrorize the inhabitants of these occupied territories into submission to ensure that they would not engender any resistance to the occupying powers. Both entities perpetrated unconscionable atrocities.
As both Hannah Arendt and Lucy Dawidowicz admit, the local Jewish authorities collaborated with the Germans in the ghettoization and deportation of the Jewish communities. For Mr. Matas to accuse Helmut Oberlander -- a young boy dragooned to interpret for the Germans because he spoke German, Russian and Ukrainian -- of being complicit in the crimes of the einsatzgruppen is beneath contempt.]
Wasyl Odynsky, according to Justice MacKay, was a guard at the Poniatowa forced-labour camp in Poland. Michael Baumgartner was, according to Justice McKeown, a guard at both the Stutthof and Sachenhausen concentration camps in 1942 and 1943. Some 15,000 mostly Jewish forced labourers were killed in November 1943 at the camp Odynsky guarded. Odynsky was not working the day of the slaughter but his guard duties prevented inmates from avoiding their pending doom. By being guards, by preventing possible escape and rescue, Odynsky and Baumgartner were complicit in the crimes committed in the camps they guarded.
[W.Z. A summary of Justice Andrew MacKay's judgment is available at the beginning of the Odynsky Files making up a large fraction of our website. The reader is invited to familiarize him/herself with his case.
To make guards at Canadian prisons (or any other facility requiring control of access) responsible for crimes committed within these facilities is stretching the concept of complicity beyond its limits.]
Jacob Fast, according to Justice Pelletier, was part of the political section of the Nazi auxiliary police in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. All of the auxiliary police participated in the rounding up and killing of the Jews of Zaporozhye. The political section was responsible for the imprisonment, torture and deportation of prisoners to concentration camps.
[W.Z. We are not familiar with the case of Jacob Fast.]
Vladimir Katriuk was a member of a German army battalion which committed atrocities against civilians in what is now Belarus. Katriuk was in charge of a platoon unit. Justice Nadon found that Katriuk was lying when he testified that he did not participate in military operations with his battalion and when he testified he was forced to join the battalion. The judge did not make a finding that Katriuk was complicit in war crimes, writing, "Not enough is known to reach any conclusion." But in law he did not have to reach any such conclusion, because Katriuk lied his way into Canada and, by so doing, cut off inquiries that might have been made at the time about his wartime activities.
[W.Z. Vladimir Katriuk was arrested by the Germans for unfurling a Ukrainian flag in Kyiv. He was forced to work for the Germans -- guarding a flour mill in Kyiv against Communist saboteurs, protecting a Polish village in Belarus from Red partisan attacks, being transferred to France near the end of the war. His platoon deserted to the Western Allies via the French partisans, fought against the Germans, was wounded and was awarded a medal. Due to death threats, he was forced to change his name, but when he and his wife applied for Canadian citizenship, he openly and in good faith went through the legal procedures to revert to his real name. That he would now be accused of war criminality and in danger of losing his Canadian citizenship on the basis that he lied during immigration procedures is simply monstrous.
A summary of the Katriuk Verdict, as well as our Critique thereof is now archived on this website as the Katriuk Files. An indication of the pressure to which Justice Marc Nadon was subjected by the Holocaust Industry (and Kenneth Narvey, in particular) in order to reach the "appropriate" verdict is outlined in the Addendum to our submission to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) on Bill C-18. Articles by David Lazarus (Canadian Jewish News, 12Nov1998) and Kirk Makin (Globe and Mail, 20Feb1999) also illustrate this pressure.]
Ultimately, this cutting off of inquiries is all that is necessary. A person should not be able to insist that the Government of Canada, many years after a fraud which allowed the trail of evidence against him to grow cold, prove a case of criminality against him beyond a reasonable doubt, as if the fraud never happened. A person whose lies raise serious questions about coverup of criminal activity should not be able to benefit from his lies.
[W.Z. Mr. Matas now completes his journey in demagoguery by equating "lies" with "criminality". (Perhaps every Canadian, who ever lied should have his citizenship revoked.) In these cases, the prosecution never presents proof of such "lies", but contends that the accused victim "must have lied" during immigration procedures because "there was a process in place", which would have required each immigrant to have been questioned by a "visa control officer" about what they did during the war. Most of the victims of the d&d process testified either that they were not asked this question, or that they had never even been interviewed by a visa control officer during the immigration process. This has been corroborated by hundreds of immigrants from that era.
That Justices Mackay, Nadon, Pelletier and McKeown fell for this ruse is a reflection on their gullibility or integrity, rather than the integrity of the accused victims.]
Once the Federal Court determined that these five lied on entry, the cabinet decision to revoke citizenship should have proceeded automatically. Instead, it has taken forever. Baumgartner lost in Federal Court in August 2001, Odynsky in March 2001, Oberlander in February 2000 and Katriuk in January 1999.
The case of Helmut Oberlander is a fine example of the need for both legal effectiveness and political will. The cabinet actually did something in the case of Oberlander, revoking his citizenship in August 2001. But the Federal Court of Appeal in May 2004 ordered the cabinet to redo the decision because of technical failings in the manner in which it was done.
[W.Z. The Court of Appeal (pdf file) was far more critical of the d&d process than Mr. Matas implies. Peter Worthington (Toronto Sun, 02Jun2004), as well as other articles in the Furman Files discuss the issues in detail.]
So now we wait for cabinet to act. The victims have waited over 60 years for justice. They should not have to wait a day longer.
[W.Z. I suggest that the victims would be rolling over in their graves if they were aware that Mr. Matas was proposing that innocent people be persecuted in their honour. Hate, deceit and vengeance, as practiced by the Holocaust Industry, can never beget justice. Justice can only be achieved via love, truth and righteousness.]
David Matas is a Winnipeg lawyer
and senior counsel to B'nai Brith Canada.
© 2005 Winnipeg Free Press