Immigration hearings got under way here Wednesday for Arthur Rudolph, the suspected former Nazi rocket scientist who is now fighting for the right to remain in Canada.
Jewish groups fear that the proceedings could drag on for months, while Rudolph enjoys freedom of movement.
Rudolph and his wife, Martha, arrived July I at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport from Hamburg, West Germany, where he has been living since he left the United States in 1984, rather than face war crimes proceedings.
Rudolph was arrested at the airport, detained by immigration authorities for more than nine hours and later released on bail, pending hearings on whether he could remain in the country.
Since his arrival, Jewish groups in Canada and the United States have protested his presence in this country, alleging that Rudolph is a Nazi war criminal and should be barred from Canada as he is from the United States.
On Tuesday, the Canadian Jewish Congress called on the federal government to launch a formal investigation into why Rudolph was allowed into Canada in the first place. The congress is the elected representative body of Canadian Jewry.
In a letter to Employment and Immigration Minister Barbara McDougall, CJC President Les Scheininger wrote that Rudolph’s continued presence in Canada “constitutes a continuous affront to Canada and to all Canadians.”
The CJC wants to know why Rudolph was allowed to board a plane in Hamburg bound for Canada, “when Canadian officials knew of hi? intentions a month ago and had issued an alert to the appropriate air carriers to prevent his embarkation.”
GRAVE ABUSE’ OF JUSTICE SYSTEM
B’nai Brith Canada called on the Canadian government Wednesday to bring criminal proceedings against Rudolph for war crimes and crime against humanity.
In a letter to Canadian Justice Minister an Attorney General Kim Campbell, David Mata B’nai Brith’s senior legal counsel, and Paul Marcus, national director of its Institute for Into national Affairs, said Rudolph is using Canada a “public relations platform” and that this is “grave abuse” of the Canadian justice system.
“Unless alleged war criminals know they can be prosecuted in Canada for international criminal offenses, they may continue to treat Canada as safe haven,” Marcus and Matas wrote.
The CJC has also charged that Rudolph ca to Canada in order to build public support for claim that U.S. Justice Department officials “us dishonest methods and pressure tactics to railroad me out of the country.”
Rudolph says he is here to visit his daughter, who lives in San Francisco.
Rudolph voluntarily gave up his U.S. citizenship after the Justice Department’s Office Special Investigations confronted him with dence that he had “participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution of unarmed civilians while serving as operations director of a missile facility” during World War II.
In an interview following his arrival here, published by the Toronto Star, Rudolph denied all allegations against him, saying he was “too busy” running the assembly lines in the rocket factory to know about people dying in the nearby Dora-Nordhausen concentration camp.
The wartime V-2 rocket factory used slave labor from the camp, and Rudolph said there were 4,000 workers that he supervised daily.
“I was interested in treating people well,” he claimed. “This was my precious work force.”
But in a 1987 article in Moment magazine, journalist Linda Hunt wrote that army records show Rudolph “received daily reports containing information about prisoners’ deaths. ‘I knew that people were dying,’ he told the OSI.”
According to the Toronto daily Globe and Mail, Rudolph has retained Victoria lawyer Douglas Christie, who has also defended acquitted Nazi war criminal Imre Finta, revisionist pamphleteer Ernst Zundel and Jim Keegstra, an Alberta teacher accused of spreading anti-Semitic propaganda.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.