German-Canadian Congress (Ont)

455 Conestogo Rd., Waterloo, Ontario
Tel. (519) 746-9006 or 1-800-364-1309 FAX (519) 746-7006 e-mail: [email protected]

August 10, 2001

Press Release

On July 12, 2001, the Canadian Citizenship of Mr. Helmut Oberlander was revoked by an act of the Canadian Cabinet. Since 1995 the Government of Canada has accused Mr. Helmut Oberlander of having participated in committing crimes against humanity during the Second World War. After a lengthy hearing before the Federal Judge Andrew MacKay, that Judge concluded that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that he was involved, directly or indirectly, in any war crimes. The Judge found that Mr. Oberlander at age 17, because of his language skills, was used by the German Military-Police (Einsatzkommandos) as an interpreter. However the Judge concluded that "On the Balance of Probability" Mr. Helmut Oberlander must have withheld that information when he was interviewed by Canadian Immigration Officers in 1953. Neither the Judge nor the Prosecutor provided any proof of that. All papers, covering applications of immigrants during that time, have been destroyed by the government years ago. The German-Canadian Congress (Ont.) does have copies of the immigration forms used during that time on file and there is no question pertaining to military service. As stated above, on July 12, 2001 Mr. Oberlander was stripped of his Canadian Citizenship. This was done by an act of the cabinet, on a recommendation by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Elinor Caplan. As a basis for her recommendation she used Judge MacKay's ruling. This ruling is purely based on speculation, a ruling that cannot be appealed. The GCC has always taken the position: If someone is accused of a war crime, let's put him before a criminal court, where he can defend himself, including appealing the Judge's findings. Everyone, from a traffic violator to a mass murderer has that right! Why does the Government take that right away from an exemplary Canadian Citizen who is accused of an immigration violation in 1954?? Revoking someone's citizenship without proof of wrongdoing constitutes a violation of a person's basic human rights. We also find the timing of this action very questionable. It seems the Minister, in order to achieve her goal, was waiting until many members of the cabinet were on Summer-Vacation.

We are asking: "How many members were present when this vote in cabinet took place?"
We are asking: "Is there no one in Ottawa who speaks out when a person's human rights are violated?"
We are asking: "Where is the Opposition and the Media? Isn't it their job to hold the Government and especially the Minister, Elinor Caplan, accountable?"

The Canadian Jewish Congress has been very vocal in this case, labeling Mr. Oberlander a War Criminal without providing any proof of crimes committed. Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress went as far as to say to the German News Magazine Stern. "This man is possibly the worst Nazi War Criminal living in North America today". We find this, and the Government's Action of revoking Mr. Oberlander's citizenship very deplorable and destructive to our Canadian society.

German Canadian Congress (Ont.)

Ernst Friedel, President
William Kessel, Executive Director
Tony Bergmeier, V-President
Paul Tuerr, V-President