BYLINE: LUBOMYR LUCIUK
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
They were kidnappers and cut-throats. I wasn't around when they were
a-killing, but I'll take their word for what they did.
One started out with the Judenrat, collaborating with the Nazis. Later
he joined the NKVD. You might say he had prior work experience, well
suited for serving the Soviet secret police. Another boasted of helping
burn villages, torturing prisoners, even burying a man alive.
The third was another braggart, exulting over how he joined in beating
prisoner until the man's face became a "bloody hairy pulp."
The death squad dame made sure her boys were shooting straight. Likely,
sometimes, some weren't. Her medical degree apparently came without the
Hippocratic oath. She did not comfort the wounded. Instead she called
SMERSH's executioners back, to finish the job. Now she says it was
off-putting work. No doubt.
Two of this gang of four exposed themselves with autobiographies, in
1980 and1981. Another penned an article, in 1988, and our matron from
Moscow gave public interviews, throughout 2002. They weren't hiding. One
was even an informant for the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals,
headed by the late Justice Jules Deschenes. Perhaps that's why the feds
got nervy over protests against their use of "Soviet evidence." Who knew
they had a NKVD snitch out back?
Two of these immigrants-who-became-Canadians are residents of Montreal's
trendy Mont Royal, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's riding. A catchy
title for this story might be The Murderers and the Minister but that
would be unfair. Regardless of what they claim they did, innocence is
presumed until guilt is proven. That principle applies even when one is
dealing with miscreants who meted out "Soviet justice," an oxymoronic
term if ever there was one.
Supposedly, officials screened all post-war immigrants to ensure Canada
was not infested by war criminals, of any variety. And Terry Beitner,
general counsel of Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes
Section, has promised a case-by-case investigation of any alleged
Communist war criminals here, if evidence exists of their complicity in
war crimes. In 2000, he defined "complicity" -- "a person is considered
complicit if, while aware of the commission of war crimes or crimes
against humanity the person contributes, directly or indirectly, to
their occurrence. Active membership in the organization responsible for
committing the atrocities is not required. An example of complicity
would be the act of guarding an execution site even if one had not
personally acted as executioner. Additionally, a person may be
considered complicit if he was a member of an organization during a time
when their activities included the carrying out of atrocities such as
Being neither lawyer, nor judge, I cannot comment on the complicity,
guilt, of these four. Let the courts decide. Our four may not be
innocents but, for now, they are innocent.
Of course, if any of them did not tell immigration officials they had
been with the NKVD, KGB, or SMERSH, they obtained their citizenship
falsely. Government men insist every immigrant entering Canada was asked
what they did in the war. Anyone who admitted to having been a
"Communist, known or strongly suspected Communist agitator, or suspected
Communist agent," was rejected. For those who lie upon entry we have a
remedy -- denaturalization and deportation, whence they came.
Now some say too much time has passed since the end of the Second World
War, these are elderly men and women, we should just forget. The
"world's foremost Nazi-hunter," Dr. Efraim Zuroff, disagrees: "It's
utterly retarded to feel sorry for these people just because they are
old. They showed no mercy whatsoever." Agreed.
Others will claim this isn't really a problem, that even if there are
comrades in Canada who once served Stalin there aren't many. To that
there is another superior answer: One is too many.
And there are, sadly, a few who are trying to dodge this issue. They
bluster that those calling for investigations into whether Communist
killers are in Canada are perpetrating a cabalistic diversion, intended
to draw resources away from prosecuting Nazis. That's rich. This chorus
never publicly identified a single Nazi in Canada, despite decades of
bleating about "thousands of Nazis hiding" amongst us. And their claims
were publicly shorn by Justice Deschenes, dismissed as "grossly
exaggerated." That was 1986. We remember.
We don't and won't, however, overstate our case. In fact, we admit we
don't know how many Communists came here, or are still out there.
Perhaps four. Perhaps more.
For two decades our position has been that all alleged war criminals
found in Canada should be brought to trial in our criminal courts,
regardless of an individual's ethnic, religious or racial heritage,
political affiliation, or the period or place where a crime against
humanity allegedly took place. We say our country should not be a haven
for any war criminals.
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