Toronto Star | July 30, 2001

Cabinet revokes Kitchener man's citizenship

WATERLOO, Ont. (CP) - The federal cabinet has decided to revoke the citizenship of a Waterloo man for failing to disclose his role as an interpreter for a Nazi death squad during the Second World War, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record has reported.

The newspaper will report in tomorrow's editions that Ottawa has refused to say anything about its decision to revoke the citizenship of Helmut Oberlander, 77, claiming disclosure would violate the Privacy Act.

However, sources told the Record that cabinet secretly stripped the retired Waterloo, Ont., developer of his citizenship earlier this month as a first step to deportation.

Oberlander could become the first person to be deported under a 1995 federal policy established to focus on denaturalization and deportation as a way to deal with alleged Second World War criminals.

Oberlander has consistently proclaimed his innocence, vowing to fight Ottawa's action against him until his death.

In a Federal Court ruling released Feb. 28, 2000, justice Andrew MacKay found there was no evidence that Oberlander was involved in any war crimes.

However, the judge ruled Oberlander failed to disclose his role as an interpreter in a German Einsatzkommando unit.

The Einsatzkommando was held responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 civilians, mostly Jewish people, between 1941 and 1943 after the German invasion of Ukraine. Oberlander lived in Ukraine as a 17-year-old ethnic German.

Oberlander's wife, Margaret, said neither she nor her husband had any comment.