Konrad Kalejs, suspected of being a key officer in the notorious Arajs Kommando of the World War II Latvian Security Police, fled Canada for Australia recently, hours before his visitor’s visa expired.
Kalejs, 81, had been scheduled for an Aug. 4 deportation hearing in Toronto. The hearing had already been delayed two months, angering Jewish officials worldwide.
Kalejs has now been added to a watch list of persons inadmissible to Canada.
He was deported from the United States in 1994 because of his involvement in as SS auxiliary unit that murdered tens of thousands of Latvian Jews, Gypsies and Communists.
Kalejs is an Australian citizen.
When Kalejs’ hearing was delayed, Australian Jewish leaders called on their government to “seek alternate means” to deal with Nazi was criminals who also are citizens of Australia.
Earlier this month, Bernie Farber, spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress, said of the rescheduling of Kalejs’ deportation hearing: “Granting him this delay without incarcerating him is tantamount to letting him escape.”
The Canadian government, which did not jail Kalejs during the delay, said at the time that it had no reason to think that Kalejs would not show up for his August hearing.
In a related development, former CJC President Irving Abella has been appointed head of CJC’s war crimes committee.
Abella, a historical at York University here who has written about Canada’s wartime refusal to admit Jewish refugees, succeeds Milton Harris, who headed the committee for 12 years.