Letter of the Day

Keith M. Landy
Toronto Sun | April 9, 2001

WITH HIS April 5 column ("Ukrainian guard wasn't a Nazi"), Peter Worthington joins a short list of people who just don't get it.

Wasyl Odynsky was found by the Federal Court of Canada to have lied about his wartime activities in order to gain entry to Canada. This decision was delivered by Judge Andrew MacKay who employed the accepted standard of proof with a full understanding of the special responsibility that rests upon a judge in dealing with such matters.

This is justice, and there is nothing callous about it.

Had Odynsky told the truth regarding his service at the Trawniki and Poniatowa camps he would never have been allowed to enter this country.

Worthington finds that "the Canadian Jewish Congress' apparent relish at his (Odynsky's) deportation unbecoming."

What a terrible choice of words. Surely this is a matter of justice and we make no apologies for our passionate belief that justice has been too long denied in cases such as Odynsky's. But to characterize our actions, and the motivations of our precious Holocaust survivors, as being driven by a "vendetta" is shameful.

Finally, Worthington rhetorically wonders about the choice a 19-year-old had in 1943-44. You always have a choice.

You can choose to obey or disobey. You can choose to be a perpetrator or a bystander or a rescuer. The avenue leading up to the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem is lined with more than 7000 trees. Each tree represents a Righteous Gentile who chose to save a life - who chose not to obey when every law and authority figure said they must comply.

Odynsky chose to comply. He made his decision in 1943-44. The Federal Court of Canada made its decision in 2001. It is time for Odynsky to go.

Keith M. Landy
Chair, Canadian Jewish Congress,
Ontario Region

(Without proof of atrocities, we disagree)