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Report Shows Canada’s Role in Harboring Nazi War Criminals

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A secret appendage to the Deschenes Commission report on war criminals living in Canada which was released — heavily censored — to the public Thursday concluded that Canada took in suspected Nazi war criminals following the war years and as late as 1983.

The Canadian Jewish Congress said the secret report prepared by Alti Rodal, an Ottawa historian, “shows Canada’s insensitivity to the issue as recently as four years ago.”

Rodal’s 560-page report summarized his research of secret documents and interviews with officials and criticized the Canadian government’s policy. Rodal recommended the prosecution of 20 suspected Nazi war criminals in Canada and investigation of 218 others suspected of Nazi collaboration.

Rodal noted that a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) allowed two alleged Nazi war criminals, whose names were not released, to enter Canada in 1983. The RCMP senior official who admitted the alleged war criminals said the issue was exaggerated by the “Jewish lobby.” Rodal reported that the Mountie was transferred after the incident became publicly known and officials continue to investigate the case. Canadian Jewish Congress past president Milton Harris said the Rodal report offers further evidence that Nazi war criminals were admitted into Canada and was not an exaggeration of the “Jewish lobby.”

“We praise the current government and the Minister of Justice, who have demonstrated great resolve recently in dealing with this issue, and all Canadians should be gratified,” Harris added.

The Canadian government released the Deschenes Commission report in March, based on research led by former Quebec Superior Court Justice Jules Deschencs. Legislation to permit the prosecution of war criminals is still pending in Canada. But despite the Deschenes Commission’s recommendation that the Rodal report be published uncensored, the government allowed the publication only of a heavily censored version. The release of the report followed a petition for the report by The Toronto Star under Canada’s Access to Information Act.

In the report, Rodal charged that in the early 1950’s U.S. intelligence operatives supplied misleading information to Canadian authorities and aided East Europeans with false identities to immigrate to Canada.

Similarly, a U.S. Justice Department report in 1983 concluded that U.S. intelligence officers helped known Nazi war criminals secure new identities and immigrate safely to South America and other countries.

CENSORED SECTION OF THE REPORT

The New York Times reported Sunday that the censored section of the report included details about two former Canadian Prime Ministers’ roles in protecting Nazi war criminals in Canada.

Former Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent reportedly agreed to admit a Czechoslovakian Nazi collaborator, Karol Sidor, to settle in Canada in 1949 upon a direct request from Pope Pius XII. Sidor, who commanded the Slovakian storm trooper unit, the Hlinka Guard, served as the Nazi-occupied Slovakia representative to the Vatican. In the appeal, according to Rodal’s study, an Apostolic delegate in Canada told Canadian officials that Sidor could not settle in Europe “without undergoing serious inconveniences and vexations.”

Rodal also said St. Laurent personally contacted Nazi collaborators from Vichy France who settled in Quebec after French courts convicted them, in absentia of war crimes.

Under St. Laurent, the Cabinet also gave refugee status to four collaborators which allowed them to remain in Canada, Rodal concluded.

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, according to Rodal, opposed prosecution of alleged war criminals in the early 1980’s. The Times reported that three pages of the Rodal report which discussed Trudeau’s attitude and his efforts to block action against war criminals by other government officials were also deleted.

Rodal said she uncovered no evidence of “direct and willing Canadian participation in programs to resettle Nazi,” but added: “There were instances in which American intelligence officers withheld information from and misled Canadians as to the true background of prospective immigrants to Canada, persons…who would have been inadmissible on grounds of moral turpitude, the category for undesirable Nazi collaborators.”

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