OTTAWA: Canada went to court on Wednesday to defend its latest decision to take away the citizenship of a Ukrainian immigrant for alleged ties to a Nazi killing squad in World War II.
Helmut Oberlander, 94, had been stripped of his citizenship four times over the past 23 years for having lied about his past Nazi activities during World War II when he arrived in Canada in 1954.
When he landed in this country, Oberlander made no mention of his membership in the Einsatzkommando, a Nazi mobile killing squad that systematically executed thousands of people in the former Soviet Union after the German invasion.
But each of the government's previous decisions to revoke his citizenship were reversed on appeal, based on claims that he joined the Nazi unit under duress.
Oberlander, who became a Canadian citizen in 1960, consistently maintained that he was forced to join the unit because he spoke both Russian and German and that he only acted as an interpreter.
His lawyers are now asking the federal court to review Ottawa's latest order in 2017 to revoke his citizenship and clear a path to deport him.
His lawyer Ronald Poulton was not immediately available for comment, but said in court documents that Oberlander is too infirm and his memory too degraded to answer questions about his past.