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Canadian Jews rally to press government on war criminals

MONTREAL, May 7 (JTA) — The message of a Yom Hashoah rally in downtown Montreal was clear: suspected Nazi war criminals residing in Canada better beware. Some 2,000 Jewish demonstrators gathered on Monday to call on the Canadian government to take swift action against alleged war criminals living openly in the country. The protest came in the wake of recent disclosures that there are hundreds of suspected Nazi veterans living in Canada. “It is unacceptable that 10 years after the full report of the Deschesnes Commission, there has been only one successful denaturalization and deportation proceeding,” Myra Giberovitch, a co-chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress’s national Holocaust remembrance committee, said in her address to the rally. The government commission in 1987 recommended action against 20 suspected war criminals in Canada and the investigation of 218 others. “Murder is murder is murder,” said Giberovitch, a child Holocaust survivor. “There is no statute of limitations on murder. Canada must not continue to turn a blind eye to the mass murderers among us.” While the rally was taking place, an interfaith group met in Toronto with Canadian Justice Minister Allan Rock. Officials from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, United and Evangelical Lutheran churches, as well as the World Sikh Organization, joined Jewish leaders at the meeting. Rock promised the delegation that more suspected war criminals will find themselves before the courts. “The best way we can honor the memory of those who died, the best way we can provide comfort to those who survived” is to take action, he said. “I am sure we have not done enough.” CJC National President Goldie Hershon said the meeting with Rock proved that the issue of alleged war criminals in Canada is not solely a Jewish concern. That sentiment was echoed by Anglican Rev. David Oliver, who, in his address to the Montreal rally, said, “This is not just a Jewish issue, but an issue for all Canadians.”