Nazi death squad member wins Canada court victory, set to stay

Thu Jul 7, 2016 2:00pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A 92-year-old man who has confessed to being a former member of a Nazi death squad won a court victory on Thursday against Canada, boosting his chances of staying in the country that has been trying to revoke his citizenship for two decades.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the government's appeal of a lower court decision in favor of Helmut Oberlander, who says he was forced to act as a translator for the squad and never took part in atrocities.

Oberlander emigrated to Canada in 1954 and became a citizen in 1960 but did not reveal his wartime record.

The Canadian government, which banned those who took part in war crimes, has revoked his citizenship three times since 1995 but had the decision overturned each time on appeal.

Ronald Poulton, a lawyer for Oberlander, said he was pleased by the Supreme Court's move.

"It's taken a great toll on his family. Over and over again the courts have exonerated him," he said in a phone interview.

"It's been tiring and difficult and unnecessary and now the Supreme Court - the highest court - has told the government that's enough."

Oberlander says he was conscripted as a 17-year-old to interpret for one of the Nazis' Einsatzkommando mobile killing squads which murdered a total of more than 2 million people in eastern Europe, most of them Jews.   Continued...