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Ex-Nazi death squad member loses last Canadian citizenship appeal

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MONTREAL -- Canada's highest court refused to hear the appeal of an ex-Nazi death squad interpreter who had fought the federal government for a quarter of a century to keep his Canadian citizenship, in a decision reached Thursday.

The ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada clears the last hurdle for Ottawa to strip 95-year-old Helmut Oberlander of Canadian citizenship.

It was not clear when Oberlander would be deported or where he would be deported to.

He was born in Ukraine in 1924 and became a German citizen during the Second World War, according to court documents. He came to Canada in 1954, and obtained Canadian citizenship in 1960.

In 1995, Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police began an investigation regarding Oberlander's involvement in war crimes.

His lawyers successfully fought three attempts by Ottawa to strip Oberlander of his Canadian citizenship. They argued Oberlander was 17 when he was conscripted to serve in a mobile killing squad. He was an interpreter for the so-called Einsatzkommando, according to Canadian broadcaster CBC.

They said no evidence has been produced that Oberlander committed any war crimes.


Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the government remains "determined to deny safe haven in Canada to war criminals and persons believed to have committed or been complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide."

Germany adopted a policy in 2011 that allows any person who served in a death camp or in the Einsatzgruppen killing squads to be convicted for being an accessory to murder based on their service alone.

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