Monday, July 31, 2017

Oy Canada! Haven for War Criminals

Only time will tell whether the good news this past week that the Canadian citizenship of Einsatzgruppe D member Helmut Oberlander was again (for the fourth time!) revoked will mark the beginning of a satisfactory conclusion to this very frustrating and infuriating episode in the annals of attempts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice.

In certain respects, the Oberlander case is a symbol of the relative futility of Canadian efforts to take legal action against Nazi perpetrators and collaborators who were admitted to Canada during the decade following the end of World War II. To be fair, Canada was not the only country forced to face this issue. In fact, practically all the major Anglo-Saxon countries which fought against the Axis forces during the war made the same mistake of admitting Nazi war criminals afterwards.

In some cases, like in the United States, about 150 of these individuals were actually sought out for their unique expertise, like the Nazi rocket scientists and engineers who worked on the V-2 rockets and other similar projects. At least several dozen others, natives of countries which had come under Communist rule, were chosen for espionage tasks behind the Iron Curtain or as potential CIA agents.

Most of the Nazis’ helpers admitted to the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, however, most of whom were from Eastern Europe, simply posed as innocent refugees fleeing Communism. At this point in time, it was easier to hide their role in the Holocaust, since the common perception in the West was that most of the victims of the Shoa had been murdered in death camps like Auschwitz or concentration camps like Dachau, Mauthausen, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen, all of which had been run by Germans and Austrians and liberated by Allied troops.

It was only in the late Sixties and early Seventies that reports began to surface that there were numerous Nazi collaborators among the refugees admitted to Anglo-Saxon democracies in the immediate aftermath of World War II.  (more...)


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