A former Nazi interpreter of Ukrainian descent who was at risk of extradition from Canada has died at the age of 97, local media reported Wednesday (September 22nd).
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Helmut Oberlander had been fighting to stay in Canada since the Federal Police launched an investigation in 1995 into his collaboration with a Nazi extermination unit during World War II. The one stripped of his Canadian nationality (before the decision was overturned) died on Monday as the Canadian government was in the final stages of his extradition,
The Globe and Mail reported
“Despite the challenges of his life, he remained strong in his faith. He found solace in his family and the support of many members of his community, ”
the Oberlander family commented, according to the newspaper.
In December 2019, Canada's highest court refused to consider a decision to revoke Oberlander's citizenship for alleged links to a Nazi death squad during World War II.
A federal court found he had
"significantly distorted his wartime activities with Canadian immigration and citizenship officials when he applied to enter Canada"
in 1952, according to a legal summary from the case.
Oberlander was admitted in 1954 as a permanent resident and obtained Canadian citizenship in 1960.
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On three occasions - in 2001, 2007 and 2012 - immigration officials attempted to revoke his citizenship, but each time the decision was overturned on appeal.
He is accused of not having mentioned on his arrival on Canadian soil his membership of an Einsatzkommando (EK), a Nazi mobile extermination unit, which carried out numerous executions on the territory of the former USSR after the German invasion.
Becoming a Canadian citizen in 1960, Oberlander - born in Ukraine to parents of Germanic origin - has always claimed to have been forcibly recruited into this unit because he spoke German and Russian, and to have played only the role of an interpreter. .