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Helmut Oberlander, ex-Nazi interpreter, has deportation hearing postponed | CBC News

A deportation hearing for Helmut Oberlander, a former Nazi interpreter, has been delayed until at least next month.

On Monday, Oberlander was set to begin an admissibility hearing before the immigration division of the Immigration and Refugee Board to determine whether he should be removed from Canada. Monday, the Immigration and Refugee Board said a stay of proceedings had been ordered in the case by the Federal Court of Canada. The case has been postponed and Monday’s hearing was cancelled.

A Federal Court decision on Feb. 5 said Oberlander’s hearing can be “stayed to and including March 19, 2021.”

“The applicant may move for a further stay beyond March 19, 2021, upon notice to the respondent,” the decision notes. The respondent in this case is the federal minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Oberlander’s lawyer filed an application to the court in November for a leave and judicial review against a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board made in Oct. 2020 when Oberlander lost his appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board, which meant his case would move onto a deportation hearing.

Along with asking for oral arguments in the case, the lawyer said there also hasn’t been an “opportunity to fully put forward his evidence as to why his case raises exceptional circumstances.” Those circumstances include Oberlander’s poor health.

The Federal Court of Canada ruled in Oberlander’s favour on Jan. 26, giving his lawyer 30 days to file documents.

Oberlander, 96, of Waterloo, Ont., has been in a legal battle with the federal government since 1995 when the RCMP launched an investigation into his alleged involvement in war crimes during the Second World War. 

Oberlander came to Canada in 1954 and obtained citizenship in 1960.

The federal government maintains he obtained citizenship through “false representation or fraud” because he never disclosed his wartime work as an interpreter for the Einsatzkommando, a Nazi unit described as a group of killing squads tasked with exterminating Jewish people, intellectuals, Roma and other targeted groups in captured territories of Eastern Europe during the Second World War. 

Oberlander is not accused of taking part in any executions.

The RCMP investigation triggered a process to strip him of his Canadian citizenship. He has challenged the action in various courts.

‘Dismayed by the delay’

In a statement Monday, officials with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants said they are “dismayed by the delay” in Oberlander’s hearing.

Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel called the postponement “the latest obscene abuse of the Canadian justice system.”

Pinchas Gutter, co-president of the Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, called on the federal government to “complete the deportation process without further delay.”

Oberlander has maintained he was forcibly conscripted by the Nazis when he was 17 years old. He has never been charged with a crime.


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