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Canada

Politics trumped legal advice in decision not to revoke citizenship of Nazi in 1960s

OTTAWA — A report on Canada’s handling of Nazi war criminals suggests politics played a key role in the 1967 decision to preserve the citizenship of a man convicted of war crimes in the Soviet Union.

Details in newly unredacted pages show that when he was the justice minister, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau advised against attempting to revoke the citizenship.

He warned it could cause widespread fear among all naturalized Canadians, and nothing in the Citizenship Act required someone to disclose all previous acts that might call their character into question.

Alti Rodal, who wrote the report for a 1985 public inquiry on Nazi war criminals in Canada, called that argument “abstract and contrived,” noting the acts in question involved the mass murder of more than 5,000 Jews.

The unredacted pages show both Rodal and foreign-affairs bureaucrats felt politics rather than legal arguments were driving Trudeau’s advice.

B’nai Brith Canada and several other Canadian Jewish organizations welcomed the release of the additional pages from the Rodal report Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2. 2024.

The Canadian Press


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