Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Canada Moves to Deport 2 Suspected of War Crimes


Canada has begun deportation hearings against two Ontario men suspected of committing war crimes during the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe.

Canada’s Justice Department filed papers last week accusing Johann Dueck of taking part in the killing of Jews and other civilians as a member of the Selidovka district police in German-occupied Ukraine from 1941 to 1943.

The government alleged that Dueck, now 76, concealed this information from Canadian immigration officials, thereby obtaining citizenship by “false representations or fraud.”

On April 28, the government filed papers against Helmut Oberlander, accusing him of having been a member of a commando unit that massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews in Ukraine and Crimea following the German army’s advance into the southern Soviet Union in the summer and fall of 1941.

Like Dueck, the 72-year-old Oberlander faces proceedings to strip him of his Canadian citizenship for hiding his wartime record. If denaturalized, the two will then face deportation hearings.

The two cases are the third and fourth such proceedings initiated by Ottawa in the past six weeks.

On March 20, denaturalization proceedings commenced against Erichs Tobiass. The 84-year-old Toronto man was accused of participating in the execution of civilians in Latvia responsible for the deaths of 30,000 Latvian Jews.

Another case has been brought against 82-year-old Joseph Nemsila of Toronto, who is alleged to have been a district commander in the notorious Hlinka Guard in the Nazi puppet state of Slovakia.

He is alleged to have participated in the roundup of the country’s 100,000 Jews and their wholesale deportation to Auschwitz and other death camps in Poland.

But because Nemsila is not a Canadian citizen, he will face a deportation hearing before Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.

Last month, Nemsila’s deportation hearing was postponed until May 31, in order to give him time to obtain legal counsel.

In January, the Canadian government announced that it had 12 war crimes suspects, but that it was only going to proceed against four, who were to serve as test cases.

The filing of civil rather than criminal amendment to the Criminal Code as unworkable. That amendment allowed for the prosecution of war crimes committed outside Canadian jurisdiction against non-Canadians.

But none of the four cases pursued under the amendment resulted in a conviction.

Among those whom the government was unable to prosecute successfully was Imre Finta, a Hungarian police officer accused of sending 8,617 Jews to Auschwitz during the war. He was acquitted.

Recommended from JTA