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Special Interview Canadian Government Castigated for Censoring Report on Nazi War Criminals

Alti Rodal, the Oxford historian who conducted the principal research for the Deschenes Commission report on Nazi war criminals in Canada, castigated the Canadian government for censoring her 560-page report “far beyond what meant the preservation of secrecy for the security of Canada.”

The government released the heavily censored version of the Rodal report Thursday. She told the JTA Monday, “I did not expect such a heavy censoring of my report with whole pages and sections being expurgated.” She accused the Ministry of Justice and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of excessive censorship.

The Rodal report revealed that Canadian officials admitted Nazi war criminals as late as 1983. It also charged that U.S. intelligence operatives withheld information about Nazi war criminals and misled Canadian officials in attempts to push refugees into Canada immediately following World War II.

Jewish groups in Canada have demanded the immediate release of the uncensored Rodal report and have criticized the Canadian government for obstructing the full publication of the report.

The Canadian government released the censored report only after the Toronto Star filed for the document under Canada’s Access to Information Act.

A CENSORED SEGMENT OF THE REPORT

One censored section of the Rodal document reportedly uncovered the roles of two former Canadian Prime Ministers, Louis St. Laurent and Pierre Trudeau in opposing prosecutions for known war criminals living in Canada and in admitting known Nazi collaborators to Canada.

St. Laurent reportedly agreed to admit Slovakian stormtrooper Karol Sidor, a Nazi collaborator, to Canada in 1949 upon a direct request from Pope Pius XII. Sidor served as the Slovakian delegate to the Vatican.

Trudeau, according to the report, opposed prosecution of alleged war criminals in the early 1980’s.

“I think that Mr. Trudeau in his quality as a statesman thought in his judgment that it was too fragile to sustain the kind of tension which would have emerged from seeking out Nazi war criminals in Canada when his attention was concentrated on problems of bilingualism back in 1967,” Rodal said.

“I also believe Mr. Trudeau’s personal perception against that of some of his own Cabinet, was that prospective immigrants should leave their quarrels at the Canadian border. Personally, Mr. Trudeau, as Minister of Justice in Lester Pearson’s Cabinet, in 1967, categorically opposed Simon Wiesenthal’s diligent appeals to open a file on Nazi war criminals in Canada,” she said.

Rodal said Trudeau, as Prime Minister in 1981, appointed the inter-departmental committee on war crimes in the face of pressure from Jewish groups and public opinion. Martin Row, Trudeau’s appointed chairman of committee, “carried through Mr. Trudeau’s position in his conclusion … that there are no legal means possible in Canada for acting against war criminals,” according to Rodal.

“The only sweetening of the bitter pill was the committee’s promise that ‘we won’t let them in the future.’ The fact that in 1983, under the premiership of Mr. Trudeau, two alleged Nazi collaborators were admitted to Canada is proof of the inconsistence of the government’s committee with its own conclusions,” Rodal said.

‘A DAMNING INDICTMENT’

In other reactions to the report’s publication, David Matas, senior legal counsel for the League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith, called the report “a damning indictment of forty years of Canadian government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” He castigated Ottawa for “its bureaucratic obstruction,” noting that a censored version of the Rodal report was released only after a four-month delay.

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