Oberlander cries 'fraud'
    Waterloo man voices disgust with government's early accusations



 Helmut Oberlander and his wife, Margret, with daughter Irene Rooney (in background) leave court in Kitchener yesterday.

                  KITCHENER (Nov 5, 2003)

                  Helmut Oberlander accused the federal
government of "fraud" yesterday for publicly naming him as a suspected war criminal without even trying to prove it.

                  On a break during a long day of legal wrangling
in a Kitchener courtroom, the retired Waterloo developer made a rare point of expressing his disgust with the handling of the
high-profile case.

                  Oberlander, 79, was found by a Federal Court of
Canada judge in 2000 to have obtained his citizenship fraudulently by failing to disclose his service with a notorious
Nazi killing unit when he came here from Germany in the early

                  That finding is at the heart of government
efforts to have him deported despite numerous delays and appeals that have since bogged the case down and likely mean the ultimate outcome won't be decided for several years.

                  "The fraud was committed by the government nine
years ago when they accused me of being a war criminal,'' said Oberlander, backed by about 40 supporters in the courtroom.

                  When it first targeted him in 1995, the federal
government alleged Oberlander was directly involved in mass executions and other Second World War atrocities.

                  But when a hearing began several years later,
the government didn't produce any evidence he personally participated in war crimes while serving as an interpreter with a
unit that killed thousands of civilians, mostly Jews, in Ukraine
from 1941 to 1943.

                  Instead, federal lawyers successfully argued
that Oberlander lied about his role with the unit while applying to emigrate to Canada.

                  The federal cabinet used that finding of fact
by Justice Andrew MacKay to strip Oberlander of his citizenship in 2001, paving the way for his deportation.

                  The latest legal twist in the case involves an
application by Eric Hafemann, a lawyer for Oberlander, to have deportation proceedings stayed by Mr. Justice Robert Reilly of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Kitchener.

                  After two days of arguments, Reilly has yet to
decide whether he even has jurisdiction to hear the application. But yesterday, the judge ordered an interim stay of a deportation hearing scheduled to resume Monday until that issue has been settled.

                  Donald MacIntosh, a lawyer for the Immigration
Department, said lawyers for Oberlander are merely trying to delay his deportation by pursuing "every available remedy open to him.''

                  Hafemann said he will argue the government
repeatedly violated Oberlander's constitutional rights by changing its policies after launching civil proceedings against him.

                  At first, he said, the government announced it
would only pursue German war veterans if there was evidence they personally participated in war crimes.

                  But by the time cabinet revoked Oberlander's
citizenship, Hafemann said, the policy had been expanded to include anyone "complicit" in atrocities, not just active participants.

                  "My allegation is that it was done to specifically get Oberlander,'' said Hafemann. "It really amounts to taking away his citizenship unlawfully.''

                  MacIntosh said there is "not a scintilla" of evidence the government acted improperly and Oberlander has already lost several rulings after making the same arguments in
other courts. The hearing in Kitchener is scheduled to resume Monday.

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