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Rocket Scientist with Nazi Past Still Trying to Clear His Name

April 10, 1992
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Arthur Rudolph, the Nazi scientist who helped develop the V-2 rocket and later the rocket that sent American astronauts to the moon, wants to clear his name, if not his conscience.

His lawyer, Barbara Kulaszka, was in the Federal Court of Canada here this week to appeal the Canadian Immigration Department’s decision last year to bar his admission to the country on the grounds that he is a suspected war criminal.

Rudolph himself remained in Hamburg, Germany, where he has lived since 1984, after cutting a deal with the U.S. Justice Department. Rather than face prosecution by the department’s Office of Special Investigations, he agreed to depart the United States permanently and to relinquish the American citizenship he obtained in 1954.

The OSI agreed not to contest continuation of his American pension of $50,000 per year.

Now 85 years old, Rudolph wants to regain his U.S. citizenship, claiming he forfeited it under duress. His arrival here without a visa on a July 1, 1990 Lufthansa flight from Germany was part of a well-organized campaign by Friends of Arthur Rudolph, an organization based in Huntsville, Ala., where he worked at NASA’s Space Center.

His only daughter, Marianne, 55, who is a graphic artist for NASA in San Jose, Calif., is also active in the campaign.

Rudolph and Kulaszka face stiff opposition from Crown Prosecutor Charlotte Bell of the Canadian Justice Department’s war crimes unit.

On Jan. 31, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights was granted intervenor status in the appeal. The organization, whose membership includes many Holocaust survivors and their children, meets the criteria of being a genuinely interested party that possesses “special knowledge and expertise” to assist the court, Justice Arthur Stone ruled.


On Monday, Canadian war crimes prosecution advocate Ken Narvey was also granted leave to make oral and written submissions to assist the court.

In a 21-page finding issued Jan. 11, 1991, Immigration Department adjudicator William Willoughby ruled there are reasonable grounds to believe that Rudolph aided and abetted war crimes and crimes against humanity by his use of slave labor at the Mittelwerk rocket works in Nordhausen Germany, a series of gigantic tunnels carved into the Harz Mountains in Saxony.

The 60,000 prisoners who toiled at the Nazis’ supersonic weapons complex came from the nearby Dora concentration camp. Among them were Frenchmen, Belgians, Czechs, Poles and Russians.

At least 20,000 died of starvation, brutality, disease or execution during the course of the project, which started in August 1943 and ended with the factory’s liberation by American troops on April 11, 1945.

“The man aided and abetted kidnapping of slave labor,” explains Donald MacIntosh, the Canadian Justice Department lawyer who prosecuted Rudolph on behalf of the Minister of Employment and Immigration.

Kulaszka, of Brighton, Ontario, has a reputation as a lawyer for right-wing extremists. Together with Doug Christie of Victoria, British Columbia, she co-defended alleged Hungarian war criminal Imre Finta of Toronto, who was acquitted in May 1990 after a sensational eight-month trial.

That year, Kulaszka unsuccessfully sought an injunction to compel the University of Toronto to rent a hall to Holocaust-denier David Irving.

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