National Post | September 1, 2001 | Don Lajoie

Ontario man, 78, lied about Nazi past, judge rules

Faces deportation

Don Lajoie
The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, ONT. - A 78-year-old retired auto worker faces deportation and losing his citizenship after a Federal Court judge ruled he lied about a Nazi past in coming to Canada in the 1950s.

In a 118-page decision released yesterday, Justice William McKeown ruled Michael Baumgartner lied about volunteering for service as a Waffen SS guard at two Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War when he applied to Canadian immigration officials between 1953 and 1957.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, with the federal Cabinet, must now decide whether to revoke Mr. Baumgartner's citizenship. Pending that finding, he could be subject to a deportation hearing and ordered to leave the country.

Judge McKeown wrote: "He seems to have a history of lying to various authorities to obtain what he wants ... He flagrantly contradicted his pre-trial discovery testimony and cross-examination leads to the inescapable conclusion that he has changed his story several times."

The judge described Mr. Baumgartner's testimony as rife with "discrepancies, incomplete and illogical answers." The judge concluded Mr. Baumgartner gained entrance to Canada by "false representation and fraud and was not a person of good character."

Federal lawyers claimed Mr. Baumgartner volunteered to join the Waffen SS in 1943, as one of 25,709 Hungarian-born Volks Deutch recruited for Nazi military service and that he was a guard at Stutthof and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.

History as a concentration camp guard was grounds for automatic rejection when applying for Canadian citizenship. The federal lawyers said Mr. Baumgartner must have covered up his past to gain entry to Canada.

Mr. Baumgartner claimed he was forced into the German military and served as a soldier on the Russian Front before being wounded and captured by Allied soldiers near the end of the war.

Defence lawyer Frank Miller said yesterday he was "extremely disappointed" with the decision.

He acknowledged there was no route to appeal the judge's finding of fact. But he noted the defence could demand a "judicial review" of any decision of Cabinet to revoke his client's citizenship. Mr. Baumgartner, of Windsor, Ont., could not be reached for comment.