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Ex-Nazi interpreter facing extradition dies in Canada

Helmut Oberlander had been fighting to stay in the country since 1995, when police launched an investigation into his past actions

This undated photo shows Helmut Oberlander during his time as an interpreter for the Nazis. (CIJA)
This undated photo shows Helmut Oberlander during his time as an interpreter for the Nazis. (CIJA)

TORONTO, Canada — An aged ex-Nazi interpreter who was facing extradition in Canada has died at the age of 97, local media reported late Wednesday.

Helmut Oberlander has been fighting to stay in Canada since federal police in 1995 launched an investigation into his links to atrocities.

Oberlander died Monday just as the Canadian government was in the last stage to extradite him, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

His family portrayed the Ukrainian-born immigrant as a community-minded businessman.

“Notwithstanding the challenges in his life, he remained strong in his faith. He took comfort in his family and the support of many in his community,” the Oberlander family said in a statement, the newspaper reported.

In December 2019, Canada’s top court declined to review a decision to strip Oberlander’s citizenship for alleged ties to a Nazi killing squad in World War II.

A federal court found that he had “significantly misrepresented his wartime activities to Canadian immigration and citizenship officials when he applied to enter Canada” in 1952, according to a legal summary of the case.

Oberlander was admitted in 1954 as a permanent resident, and obtained Canadian citizenship in 1960.

On three occasions — in 2001, 2007 and 2012 — immigration officials tried to revoke his citizenship but each time the decision was set aside on appeal.

Oberlander said he was forcibly conscripted by the Nazis, and that he only acted as an interpreter for the Einsatzkommando 10a death squad.

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