WASHINGTON (Jul. 3)
Canadian Jewish groups are warning that their government’s decision to allow ex-Nazi scientist Arthur Rudolph to visit Canada this week could inflict psychological damage on Canada’s Holocaust survivors.
Paul Marcus, national director of the Institute for International Affairs at B’nai Brith Canada, said Rudolph’s surprise visit has created a “psychological problem for hundreds of survivors of the Holocaust.”
Rudolph, 83, a retired rocket scientist who helped spearhead the U.S. space program, voluntarily left the United States in 1984 rather than face a court review of charges about his Nazi past. He has lived since then in Hamburg, West Germany.
Rudolph arrived in Canada on Sunday night and was detained by immigration authorities for more than nine hours. He was later released on $500 (Canadian) cash bond, pending an immigration hearing Friday.
Sol Littman, Canadian representative of the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said he was “absolutely disgusted that Rudolph was not put on the next plane and sent back to Hamburg.”
Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s executive director, asserted that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s decision was “really in contravention of everything that he stands for.”
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that Rudolph and his wife, Martha, came to Toronto to see their daughter Marianne, who lives in San Francisco, and to meet with former colleagues.
The Canadian government had no prior warning of his visit, since West German visitors are not required to obtain Canadian entry visas, explained Ian Sadinsky, adviser to Canada’s minister for employment and immigration.
But immigration authorities detained Rudolph, since he is on Canada’s “watch list,” Sadinsky said in a telephone interview.
SUPPORT FROM U.S. CONGRESSMAN
If Rudolph is ordered Friday to leave the country, he will have the right to appeal to the federal courts, which could allow him to stay in Canada for a few more weeks, Sadinsky said.
Marcus of B’nai Brith Canada did not challenge the government’s legal rationale for letting Rudolph stay in Canada. He agreed, for example, that Rudolph does not constitute a “danger to the public,” which would require that he be barred from entering the country.
But Marcus said he opposes in principle the “inherent legitimacy” being conferred on Rudolph by allowing him to enter the country.
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms entitles foreigners to “due process once you reach this country,” Sadinsky said. “A Soviet Jew would be entitled to the same type of process.”
The World Jewish Congress alleges that slave laborers died under Rudolph’s supervision at a V-rocket factory at the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camp in Germany.
But in 1988, West Germany concluded the was no evidence Rudolph committed war crimes.
But Eli Rosenbaum, deputy director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, said that Bonn has an unusually strict standard for war crimes, requiring evidence that the crime was the result of “base motives,” such as racism or anti-Semitism.
Rudolph entered the United States in 1945, was granted citizenship in 1954 and later headed work on the Saturn 5 rocket project at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Rep. James Traficant Jr. (D-Ohio), who in May publicly urged that Rudolph be allowed to return to the United States, was planning to join the former rocket scientist at a news conference Wednesday on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Ron Brown has criticized Traficant for his support of Rudolph. In a May 16 letter to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Brown wrote, “I certainly deplore the statements made by the congressman to the Friends of Arthur Rudolph.”