Thursday, February 8, 2024

Declassified docs reveal why Canada let Nazi war criminals keep their citizenship


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Efforts to make the documents public gained urgency last fall, after a top Canadian lawmaker invited a former Nazi soldier to attend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's speech at Parliament.

In 1967, Canada’s justice minister was asked to strip citizenship from a former Nazi who had been sentenced to death in the Soviet Union.

The minister, Pierre Trudeau, declined to do so. Although the USSR had convicted the Latvian man of murdering Jews in the Holocaust, Trudeau argued that Canada had not erred in granting him citizenship when he first applied.

“The applicant’s obligation is to satisfy the Court that he is of good character,” Trudeau, who would later become Canada’s prime minister, wrote in a legal opinion at the time. “He is not required to satisfy the Court that he, at no time in his past, committed an opprobrious act. …  From a practical, and indeed reasonable, point of view, few, if any, applicants could meet a requirement of that kind.”

Trudeau’s response was revealed last week when the Canadian government — now led by his son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — unsealed documents related to the resettlement of Nazi war criminals in the country. The revelations have come months after a political crisis surrounding the continued presence of former Nazis in Canada.

The documents were part of the Rodal Report, compiled in 1985 and released in heavily redacted form in 1987. They were put together by a Jewish historian named Alti Rodal, who was born in Ukraine and is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. The report was compiled as part of a broader effort, the DeschĂȘnes Commission, to investigate Nazi war criminals in Canada.  (more...)

Declassified docs reveal why Canada let Nazi war criminals keep their citizenship

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