Never mind Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Perhaps the best place for Nazis to hide was Canada.

If Rudolf Vrba were alive today, he would no doubt be fascinated to read one particular section of a previously classified SECRET [as presented in capital letters] 618-page report on the government of Canada’s efforts to detect and prosecute Nazi war criminals in Canada.  Vrba’s eyes would be drawn to pages 410-420 devoted to the “Presence of Prominent Slovak Nazi Collaborators in Canada” that concludes “It remains that after being rejected for immigration to the U.S. in the late 1940s, a number of leading political figures from Nazi Slovakia settled in Canada where they established the headquarters of Slovak émigré organization.”

[The aforementioned document was prepared by Alti Rodal and received by the War Crimes Section of the federal Department of Justice in March 18, 1997 and kept top secret for almost 27 years.]

Vrba knew Canada was knowingly serving as a safe harbour for people who were in league with the pro-Hitler Slovak leadership that had sent him to Auschwitz. The government’s shameful release of a report officially called “Nazi War Criminals in Canada: The Historical and Policy Setting from the 1940s to the present” makes this matter clear beyond dispute. [This website intends to provide a searchable version of the entire report that was initially presented to the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in September of 1986.]

Our title for this section, A Policy of Inaction, is derived from a paragraph that appears on page 481. We have added the italics: “The policy of inaction with regard to alleged war criminals settled in Canada was in large measure shaped by the fact that the issue arose out of extradition requests from Communist governments, requests which provoked strong reactions from Canada’s ethnic communities. The government’s response to these requests set the tone and basis for inaction through the 1960s and 1970s. It wasn’t until the Rauca case, which involved a West German request, and the much heightened public interest in the issue of Nazi war criminals in the late 1970s that the earlier policy basis came to be re-examined.” A long, preceding paragraph on the same page explains Canada chose “to take Britain’s cue” and “avoid broader entanglements.” We learn that Canada was “reluctant” to join the United Nations War Crimes Commission, delaying for two years its decision to participate, and Canada was not a signatory to the Nuremberg Agreement in 1945.

The government’s own report concludes the failure to pursue suspected war criminals in Canada – unless they were suspected of committing war crimes against any Canadian military personnel – was in keeping with “the imperatives of the Cold War; domestic priorities; and as a result of disinterest.” The exact nature of these domestic priorities and alleged disinterest is not addressed. There was to be “no interest in taking any action with regard to persons alleged to have committed crimes against non-Canadians” and even Canada’s investigations of any possible crimes that were committed against its own military personnel were to be terminated by May of 1946.

  • Alan Twigg (2024)

Text that appears in blue has been deemed noteworthy by the makers of this site.


Note: this representation of the heretofore secret report [below] is presently incomplete. Due to the arduous transcription process, it will made fully available in due course.



The aim of this report  “Nazi War Criminals in the Historical and Policy Setting from the 1940s to the present”  is to provide an accurate and relatively detailed account, from the archival record, of the policies of the government with regard to immigration, displaced persons/ refugees, and war criminals, and the setting and evolution of these policies from World War II, to permit a better understanding of how the present situation with regard to the war criminals issue came about. The historical record is critical to understanding and, to a certain extent, to catharsis. The creation of the Commission offered an opportunity, unlikely to be repeated, to come to grips with some of the important questions of a formative period of Canada’s history, a period just past but one which continues to cast a shadow on the present and succeeding generation.

Unfortunately, the stringent time limits imposed on the Commission also constrained historical and policy research. There was too little time, in relation to need, for locating and gaining access to Departmental, Cabinet and political records: for studying the record: and for writing a considered and comprehensive report of the record of the last forty years. Significant gaps therefore remain. It has not been possible, for want of time ·and access constraints, to adequately treat important topics. Departmental files and other political records germane to the enquiry remain unexamined, and relevant ethnic archives remain closed. Nevertheless, though important detail, and evidence, is missing, and though the report would have benefitted from further editing, I believe the main story is now told, at least in its main lines.

l..) l

While the report deals with the background and with the evolution of broad policy with regard to the war criminals issue from the- 1940s, and the policy response after the 1960s when ther.e were persistent allegations that there were Nazi war criminals present in Canada, the main focus of the report is on the conditions and circumstances of entry of possible war criminals to Canada, and the contexts in which this was possible for the crucial period from 1945 up the mid-1950s. An additional section treats particular cases ·of groups or individuals, either as illustrative specific instances of policy and practice, or as cases in which special pressures or considerations obtained. Because of the pressure of time, I had at first thought not to say anything at all about the period after 1960: I have instead written a brief chapter focussing on what seems to me to be the critical and determining ·policy and political factors which have shaped the response to the war. criminals issue to 1985.

Production of this report was facilitated by the work of Sue Archdeacon; and by the research assistance of Dr. Paula Draper,–Ann Latchford Scott and Roman Waschuk. The author alone, however, assumes responsibility for judgments and conclusions reached in this report, and for any of its deficiencies.


Table of Contents

Part I
The Crimes and the Perpetrators: Extent of participation in commission of ‘crimes against humanity’ in Nazi Germany and in Nazi­ occupied countries
Part II
The Response: Allied and Canadian Policy and Practice with regard to the Prosecution of War Criminals
The policy setting
The United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), the Moscow Declaration, and Canada’s initial response to these developments
The Canadian War Crimes Advisory Committee (CWCAC)
The Allies’ machinery for investigating and prosecuting war criminals
Canada and the Nuremberg Agreement
Postwar war crimes trials·
-the Nuremberg trials
-other Allied war crimes trials
-extradition and trials of war criminals in the liberated countries
Canadian war crimes policy in the immediate postwar years
Winding up of war crimes investigations, extraditions and trials
Later war crimes trials in various countries
Chapter II
Disp1aced Persons and Refugees in Postwar Europe: the internationa1 setting and its impact on the Canadian immigration experience
Who were the Refugees/Displaced Persons?
International action on behalf of refugees and displaced persons in postwar Europe and Canada’s participation
-the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (IGCR)
-the International Refugee Organization (IRO) 1947-1952
* Its establishment and constitution
* Canada’s role
* Functioning and accomplishments of the IRO
Screening by the Military, UNRRA and the IRO
Impact of American experience with regard to admission of DPs/refugees on Canadian Government policy
Chapter III
Canadian Immigration and Refugee Po1icy, 1945-1950 
The policy position, 1945-1946
Political environment and public opinion with regard to refugees and war criminals in the immediate postwar years
– The legacy of Fascist groups and Nazi sympathizers in Canada in the 1930s
– Official attitudes and policy with regard to immigration of Jewish refugees/ displaced persons
* Policy of exclusion during the war
* Policy in the immediate postwar years
* Security screening, 1945
-Public opinion and official perceptions of the DPs/Refugees, 1945-1947
-Polls and mainstream media opinion
-The ethnic press
-House of Commons’ debates and recommendations with regard to immigration of refugees/DPs
-The Senate Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour
Impact of ethnic preferences on immigration

The evolution of immigration policy, 1946-1947

  • Interdepartmental deliberations
  • Retention of German POWs in Canada
  • The Polish veterans scheme
Immigration policy and programs for DPs/refugees, 1947-1952
-changes in 1947
-development and introduction of special immigration programs
The Close Relatives Scheme
The Bulk Labour Scheme
Church Sponsorship
The Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees (CCCRR), 1947-1949
Immigration of Balts to Canada
Public sentiment with regard to Displaced Persons and alleged war criminals, 1947-1951
– Treatment in the press and in the House of Commons
– Reaction to the de Bernonville case and and to the admission of former members of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS
– The Valdmanis Story
Chapter IV
Security Screening of Prospective Immigrants to Canada, 1945-1950
Security screening, 1945 to March 1947

Security screening, Spring 1947 to 1949

  • Summary of immigration situation during this period
  • Screening procedures
  • Problems and gaps in screening 1947-1949
Rejection criteria, 1948-1949
Security screening problems related immigration schemes, 1949
Security screening procedures and problems related immigration schemes, 1949-1950
Chapter V
Relaxation of Restrictions on the Admission Vo1ksdeutsche and German Nationals
Role of the CCCRR
Change in government policy with regard to German nationals,• 1949-1950
Chapter VI
Immigration and Refugee  Policy, 1950s
Immigration from Germany
Latvians from south America
The Hungarian Refugees, 1956-1957
Chapter VII
Security Screening, 1950-1951
Preoccupation with the threat of communism
Guidelines and problems in screening
Immigration officials vs. the RCMP: Different approaches to screening for Nazis and Nazi collaborators
Chapter VIII
Relaxation of Security Screening Guidelines with regard to Former Members of the Nazi Party, Wehrmacht and Waffen SS, and Nazi Collaborators, 1948-1953
Policy and Screening guidelines with regard to Waffen-SS (1948)
Admission of former members of the Ukrainian Waffen SS (June 1950-January 1951)
Relaxation of guidelines with regard to service in the Wehrmacht (May 1950)
Representations from the CCCRR and evolution of policy with regard to former members of the Nazi Party and the Waffen-SS (1950-1951)
Further developments with regard to relaxation of restrictions on admission of Waffen-SS
Immigration and security screening policy with regard to admission of Nazi collaborators
Policy with regard to former members of the Abwehr and S.A.
Application of Policy
Chapter IX
Security Screening,  1951-1953
Focus on screening for persons detrimental to the security of Canada
Guidelines and problems in screening, 1951-1952
  • The “lookout” process
  • confusion with regard to guidelines
  • inadequacies in application of Directive No. 38
RCMP-Immigration “differences, 1952-1953
Security screening, 1953
Chapter X
Security Screening, 1954-1959
Friction between Immigration and Stage ‘B’  officers and problems in security screening, 1954-1956
Deliberations with regard to further relaxation of criteria with regard to members of Nazi organizations
Security Sub-Panel decision (October 1955)  removing restrictions on former members of SS (and Waffen-SS), Abwehr, SA and SD
Remaining criteria for rejection: Major  Offenders, former members of the Gestapo, and concentration camp guards
Immigration and security screening, 1955-1970’s
Chapter XI
Policy with regard to Presence of Alleged War Criminals in Canada, 1960 to the Present
Chapter XII
Particular Cases
Part 1
Entry of German Scientists and Technicians to Canada 1946-1951
Part 2
Nazi Collaborators from France and the de Bernonville case
Part 3
Admission of the Ukrainian Halychyna (Ga1ician) Waffen-SS Division
Part 4
Presence in Canada of other Nazi collaborators from Central and Eastern Europe and their links with Western intelligence agencies and the Vatican
Part 5
Role of American and British intelligence agencies in the resettlement of former Nazis and Nazi collaborators: Canadian aspects
Annex 1
Ministers and principal officials responsible for immigration, citizenship, security, and war crimes policy, 1940s to the present
Annex 2
Statistical profile: Immigration to Canada, 1945 to 1970, from countries where participation in war crimes during World War II was extensive
Annex 3
Immigration application forms: information regarding wartime employment/military service
Annex 4
The Destruction of Records, 1982-1983
Annex 5
Evolution of immigration and security screening policy, 1939 to 1980s: chronology

CHAPTER I- Origins


Part 1. The Crimes and the Perpetrators:

Alti Rodal

Alti Rodal, author of the previously classified Rodal Report which revealed Canada’s utter inability or unwillingness to keep hundreds of Nazis out of the country after WWII

 Extent of participation in the commission of “crimes against humanity” in Nazi Germany and in countries al.l.ied with or occupied by Nazi Germany

 An estimated 12 million civilians and unarmed prisoners of war were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. These included six million Jewish civilians, residents of almost every country in continental Europe; two million unarmed Soviet prisoners of war; a further one million Soviet, one million Polish, and one and a half million Yugoslav civilians; and two hundred thousand Gypsies. Thirty-two thousand German civilians were killed from 1933 to 1945 for opposition to the Nazis. The totality of the Jewish population of Europe was singled out for annihilation, at first by mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) moving with the Wehrmacht in its occupation of Eastern Europe form June 1941 to November 1942. Extermination of Jewish and Gypsy populations on a industrial, assembly-line basis and continent-wide scale followed, beginning with a program_ of round-ups, ghettoization, and deportation to extermination camps equipped with gas chambers and crematoria. This program of human extermination — the “Endlosung” or ‘Final Solution’ — continued until the last week of the war. (1)

The involvement of German organizations and individuals in the genocide and related crimes is extensively documented in the archival records of Nazi Germany which were captured by the Allies at’-, the end of the war. (2) These records chronicle the involvement and participation of significant numbers of Germans, apart from the Nazi leadership and the S.S., and firmly establish


extensive co-operation in genocide, slave labour, and mass murder of the other principal organizations and institutions of the Third Reich, including the Wehrmacht, the police, the diplomatic corps, and the civil service.(3)

German documents also clearly indicate that in carrying out the extermination campaign outside Germany and Poland, only a few thousand Germans  and in some cases far fewer — were required in each of the countries allied with or occupied by the Third Reich.( 4) To carry out their massive program of extermination, the Nazis would have had to rely, and indeed did rely, on extensive co-operation from non Germans. The co-operation of local bureaucracies arid individuals was essential for the successful segregation, round-up and deportation of Jews, as well as in the program of mass murder itself, as in the shootings in the Baltic States and in Eastern Europe.(5)

Much has been written about the role of the ethnic Germans in the Baltic States and in other parts of Eastern and Central Europe who acquired German nationality as Volksdeutche under the Nazis. While many of these ethnic Germans would have resented being uprooted from lands on which they had been settled for centuries in order to resettle Polish lands annexed by Nazi Germany, a considerable number did welcome Nazi rule along with the lands, homes and other privileges bestowed upon them by the Nazis. While many may very well have been forcibly conscripted into Waffen-SS units, a considerable number did volunteer to assist in the Nazi campaign, not only against Communism, but also in the destruction of populations deemed undesirable.

For reasons which are beyond the scope of the present report, there were Poles, Hungarians, Roumanians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Croats prepared to cooperate with the Germans in carrying out the

– 3 –

‘Final Solution’ By and large, collaboration with the Nazis in Eastern Europe was motivated by the nationalist aims and expectations of various groups — expectations which were in fact not fulfilled   that Nazi Germany would assist them in their nationalist aims, against Soviet power in particular. Anti-semitism, often prevalent and with deep roots in a number of Eastern European societies, was also an important factor, particularly with regard to collaboration in the Nazi anti-Jewish program. The story of Dutch and French collaboration with the Nazi occupation — including co-operation in the deportation of Jews to extermination camps — has been extensively documented in a number of recent studies, books and films. Such collaboration also occurred in some Western countries ( such as Belgium and Norway) which had initially fought against the Third Reich.(6)

The effectiveness of the collaboration process is reflected in the results: 90% of the Jewish population in Poland ( soille 3 million persons) and 90% of Jews in the Baltic States (some 202,000 persons) were killed; 83% of the Jews of Czechoslovakia (some 260,000 persons); 70% of the Jews in Hungary (over 180,000 persons), and over 60% of the Jews of White Russia and the Ukraine ( over 1,145,000 people) perished. Though the role of non-Germans in atrocities is less well documented, and archives in Eastern Europe less accessible than Western archives containing German documents, the evidence of perpetration of crimes by local authorities and individuals in countries allied with or occupied by Germany is overwhelming. Following the release in 1956 of German prisoners of war by the soviet Union, witnesses came forward to testify about crimes of mass murder perpetrated in Eastern Europe by operational units (Einsatzgruppen), µnits of the Security Police (Gestapo) and the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst – SD), with the assistance of various military and police formations consisting of native

Eastern Europeans.(7) Further evidence emerges to an extent

– 4 –

from the German documents themselves. The Ludwigsburg documents, depict the.”aktionen” of the Einsatzgruppen in the Baltic States and in the Ukraine which, by August 1942, resulted in the virtual elimination of the Jewish populations in these regions, These “aktionen” or executions were carried out by the Einsatzgruppen with the assistance and direct participation in shooting by auxiliary and/or local police units. (8)

The extent to which the Nazis’ program of ‘deportation and murder depended upon local bureaucracies and native populations becomes particularly salient when compared with their lack of success in areas where local bureaucracies and populations refused to co-oper.ate.· In Italy and the territories occupied by Italy, 80% of the Jewish population survived. In France, in the summer and fall of 1942, when the French police and bureaucracy assisted in the deportations, 43,000 Jews were deported to death camps. However, in 1943 and after, when the government was more reluctant, far fewer Jews were deported. In Bulgaria, the authorities had decided to protect the Jews within their pre-war boundaries. All the Jews in this territory survived. Those Jews who lived in the newly acquired territories of Macedonia and Thrace, however, were handed over to the Nazis and deported to the death camps. Only 20% of the Jews of Holland survived, an estimated 27,000 out of the 140,000 registered in 1941. In Denmark, where King Christian X wore the ‘yellow star’ to give expression to _his own and his government’s rejection of the  Nazis’  ideology  and  program,  virtually  all the Jews survived. The attitudes and actions of native populations and, actions of national and local authorities in the various lands of Nazi  occupation  was,  then, crucial  factor  in  determining  whether   large   numbers   of  Jews   survived or perished. (9)

The   Officers’   Manual   for   Eligibility   of   the

–      International Refugee Organization (1947-1951) recognized the role of  non-German collaborators, members of  Quisling

– 5 –

governments, and of Fascist or pro Nazi organizations in the various European lands who actively participated in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and who voluntarily assisted Nazi forces and authorities in programs of murder. The manual includes brief historical accounts of the various groupings in each country, and guidelines on the eligibility of members of these groups for maintenance and resettlement assistance under the IRO mandate. To be sure, though IRO policy recognized the extent and varied origins of participation in war crimes, in practice policy was often ignored. (See discussion or IRO guidelines and practice with regard to possible war criminals, at pp. 94-102 below.)

Clearly, then, to prevent admission to Canada of persons involved in war crimes, Canadian immigration and security screening officials in the field would have had to be informed
about and aware not only of the various Nazi organizations, but also of the different fascist groupings in various countries who collaborated with the Nazis — such as the Latvian Thunder Cross, the Hungarian Arrow Cross, the Lon Ustashi and the Rumanian Iron Guard. The guidelines and practices established with regard to security screening for Nazis, war criminals and collaborators, to be truly useful, would have had to take into account the extent of both German and non-German participation in the commission of war crimes, including the role played by organized military and police units (SS, Waffen SS, Schutzmannchaft units, etc.) of various nationalities, such as the Dutch, Latvian and Ukrainian, and by collaborating governments, as in France, Slovakia and Croatia, which carried out the Nazi deportation and mass  murder  policies.   Canadian  guidelines  and  screening practices with regard to these groupings are treated in Chapters IV to X of this report.


Part 2. The Response: Allied and Canadian Policy and Practice with regard to the Prosecution of War Criminals

Knowledge of the campaign of systematic killing, particularly of Jews, following the invasion· of Poland, and of the large scale actions of the Einsatzgruppen in the following months reached Western governments fairly quickly. Winston Churchill in October 1941 declared that retribution for Nazi crimes “must henceforth takes its place amongst the major purposes of the war”. ( 1) A similar warning was issued at the same time by President Roosevelt in Washington. Statements emanated from Moscow urging punishment for those committing the crimes. Further public declarations were issued in 1942 by the British and U.S. governments, and by the European allies in London declarations with which the Canadian government associated itself — with regard to the Nazi ‘Final Solution’ and the need to punish the perpetrators of crimes. ( 2) These were
reinforced in the joint declarations issued by the Allies at the Quebec Conference of August 1943 and the Moscow Conference two months later, though without specific mention of atrocities against Jews. At the war’s conclusion, the Nuremberg Charter was promulgated and International Military Tribunal was established. Provision was explicitly made in the policy directions and laws issued by the Allied .control Council governing Germany after the surrender for the “punishment of persons guilty of war crimes, crimes against peace and against humanity”, to apply to persons without regard to nationality or to capacity in which they acted, as stated in Allied Control council law No. 10. (3) The Allied Control Council’s Directive No. 38 detailed, within the broader context of a policy and program for the denazification of Germany, the categories of persons against whom sanctions and penal ties would be imposed. The first two categories consisted of: “major offenders”


those responsible for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”, and/or who were members of “criminal organizations” as defined at Nuremberg: and “offenders,” “activists, militarists and profiteers.” The Directive included detailed guidelines for the apprehension and prosecution of such war criminals. (4)

Despite the very substantial number of people, both German and non-German, involved in the organized programs of deportations, mass murder, slave labour and plunder, very few were actually prosecuted. Twenty-two Nazi leaders were in the dock at Nuremberg, of whom twelve were found guilty and sentenced. Between 1945 and 1948 when Allied proceedings related to war crimes came to a halt a total of some five thousand persons were convicted and sentenced by British and American tribunals for their participation in war crimes. The majority of these prosecutions related to the murder and mistreatment of Allied POWs, not civilians. To be sure, these figures do not include prosecutions and convictions in courts in Eastern and Central Europe, or trials of their own nationals by western European countries such as Holland, Belgium and France. It remains that many .of the individuals guilty of participation in Nazi and Nazi-related war crimes found themselves at the war’s end in the hands of the Allied occupation powers. Eastern Europeans who collaborated with the Nazis had every incentive to be in areas controlled by British and American authorities, rather than by the Soviet Union, and few were prosecuted in these Western zones.

The lack of will and· organization to proceed against war criminals, and the broader failure of denazification, taken in conj ction with the pressure to deal with the very large numbers of displaced persons under the control of the Allies some seven million — led to resettlement in various countries of significant numbers of persons who would have: been involved in war crimes. This chapter examines the evolution of Canadian and


Allied policy with regard to approaches and measures taken with regard to bringing war criminals to justice, and the role these
policies played in creating the conditions for the later immigration of an undetermined number of war criminals to Canada and to other countries. Further chapters will then examine the importance of immigration and screening policies and practices in facilitating the entry of war criminals into Canada during the postwar years.

The policy setting

There has been extensive discussion and documentation in the open literature of the ambivalence of the Allies notably Britain — in dealing during the war with the issue of the atrocities and the systematic campaign of extermination carried out by Nazi Germany.(5)

The British Foreign Office, and Anthony Eden in particular, were openly uninterested in the “war crimes business”. There was also a reluctance to speak publicly on the subject of German atrocities and, in particular, a tendency to suppress information about the extermination camps and the program to murder the Jews of Europe. (6) However, as mounting evidence about the Nazi extermination program in progress in Europe could not be denied; as pressure for the issuing of a statement and warning was exerted, by the Polish government-in-exile, for example; and as news of atrocities against British and later, American POWs reached the West, it became increasingly difficult to avoid issuing public statements and giving expression to commitments, albeit vague ones, to take future action.

The Foreign Office meanwhile sought to avoid commitment. The separate declarations by Roosevelt and Churchill in 1941 were in fact used as justification for not delivering a


joint Allied declaration on war crimes, nor was any commitment made with regard to the compilation of lists of war criminals, which seemed to be implied in Churchill’s statement. When the Allies did sign a declaration at St. James Palace on January 13, 1942, the British and the American representatives attended only as observers. In this way, while hosting the signing of the declaration by the governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and the French National Committee, Britain associated itself with the general condemnation of Nazi rule and brutality, but avoided commitment to the clauses of the declaration which engaged the governments to place amongst their principal war aims the punishment, through the channel of organized justice, of those guilty and responsible for these crimes, whether they have ordered them or in any way participated in them; determine in a spirit of international solidarity to see to it that those guilty and responsible, whatever their nationality, are sought for, handed over to justice and judged; and that the sentences pronounced are carried out.(7)

Canada’s policy in its broad lines followed that of Britain. Prior to the Roosevelt and Churchill declarations, the Dominions’ office had suggested on October 13, 1941 that a formal declaration be issued by the United Nations governments promising retribution following victory for atrocities committed by German and Italian nationals. When the British, changing their view, decided to attend the signing of the declaration only as observers, the Canadian High Commissioner was authorized to attend on the same basis as the U.K. representative.(8) ‘More concrete measures were taken after the circulation of several Soviet diplomatic notes on German atrocities and further statements by President Roosevelt to the effect that those who committed crimes “shall have to stand in courts of law in the very countries which they are now oppressing and answer for their acts”. (9)

The specific focus for activity with regard to war crimes matters came to be the proposal in October 1942 to establish a United Nations Commission (discussed below) for the investigation of war crimes. President Roosevelt announced that the U.S. government was prepared to cooperate with the British and other governments in its establishment. The Dominions’ Office invited Canada to become a member of the United Nations war crimes commission in November 1942. Though the Canadian government associated itself with British and Allied declarations condemning the Nazi policy of genocide in territories controlled by Germany, and promising retribution to those responsible, when it came to actual commitment , such as joining the UNWCC, the preferred policy was one of disengagement. In fact, it was not until February 1945 that the Canadian government took the decision to join the UNWCC, finally doing so not because of a commitment to action in dealing with war crimes broadly, but for diplomatic reasons, and to facilitate unavoidable investigations of crimes against Canadian military personnel (10)

The question of Canadian involvement in the punishment of war crimes was addressed by the Department of External Affairs in 1942, and put forward in a definitive memorandum prepared by Marcel Cadieux in April 1943. The thrust of the departmental documents reflect the view that Canada, as a country not under occupation and remote from the conflict, should limit its interest to the treatment of Canadian prisoners of war, interned nationals or the disposition of foreign investments.(ll) The approach proposed in the April 1943 memorandum was that, having approved the basic principles of British policy, it would not be advisable for Canada to commit itself with regard to the more general policy concerns at issue. British policy at this time defined conditions for surrender of war criminals at the Armistice, ruling that existing laws of war should be applied in

dealing with war criminals — . that is, that no new body of law needed to be created, since war crimes were already sufficiently well defined; and to leave open for later definition the nature of the judicial tribunals to be employed.(12)

The Memorandum noted a Canadian interest in the war crimes question as a weapon of political warfare, pointing to the Soviet use of the issue to stir up a “healthy and holy wrath for the Nazi criminals”, and its possible impact in drawing a country like Sweden, deeply shocked by German atrocities in Norway, into closer collaboration with the United Nations. These considerations favoured giving war crimes a certain profile. Some additional arguments were presented in favour of issuing warnings about retribution for war criminals: declarations might act as deterrents to further atrocities and would also make a distinction between the German people and their criminal leaders, a view which public opinion in Canada at the time, it was pointed out, strongly favoured. No Canadian initiative, however, was judged necessary:

no suggestion for even the smallest revision in the British or United Nations line of conduct has been made. Canadian policy has found its expression rather in declarations of solidarity of purpose, and cooperation with the United Nations in measures calculated to give force and meaning to these declarations. (13)

The United Nations War Crimes Commission, the Moscow Declaration and Canada’s initial response to these developments

The UNWCC — the Allies’ first substantive response to the problem posed by the conduct of the Nazis was rendered ineffective very soon after its establishment, in considerable measure as a result of the limitations imposed upon it by the

general thrust of the Allies’ policies with regard to the war crimes issue. In describing the proposal for a United Nations commission for War Crimes to the House of Lords in October 1942,Lord Simon characterized its aims as being to

investigate war crimes committed against nationals of the United Nations recording the testimony available, and the Commission will report from time to time to the Governments of those nations cases in which such crimes appear to have been committed, naming and identifying wherever possible the persons responsible. The Commission should direct its attention in particular to organized atrocities. Atrocities perpetrated by or on the orders of Germany in Occupied France should be included. The investigation should cover war crimes of offenders irrespective of rank, and the aim will be to collect material, supported wherever possible by depositions or by other documents, to establish such crimes, especially where they are systematically perpetrated, and to name and identify those responsible for their perpetration. (14)

A small but quite significant change to the text of the original British proposal was introduced by the State Department. Lord Simon’s statement to the House of Lords had indicated that “The aim is the punishment of individuals … who are proved to be themselves responsible whether as ringleaders or actual perpetrators (11). The changed text removed the phrase “actual perpetrators(11) — thus removing all but the leadership and those who gave the orders from the Commission’s purview. This change, motivated apparently by a concern not to trammel the war effort with commitments to a broader justice and retribution for the crimes then being committed on a large scale against the Jewish populations of Eastern Europe, was not untypical of the caution and ambivalence of those who concerned themselves with the war crimes issue, in the face of disinterest and lack of cooperation from both the British Foreign Office and the U.S.

state Department. The Commission’s credibility and effectiveness were further compromised by the failure to include the Soviet Union as a member. The Soviet government had not been initially consulted, and when finally invited to join, differences over the extent of representation on the Commission of the republics of the Soviet Union and of Dominions of the Commonwealth, and mounting tension in Anglo-Russian relations, discouraged Soviet membership, leaving serious gaps in the sources of information and evidence with regard to war crimes, in particular those committed in Eastern European territories.

Canadian government officials were hardly concerned about the broader war crimes issue. Deliberations at External Affairs focused on the question of whether Canadian representation on the UNWCC would be of assistance in establishing the occurrence of crimes committed against Canadian prisoners, interned Canadian nationals or of depredations on Canadian property. The conclusion reached was that any investigation of crimes committed against Canadians would most likely need to be undertaken by Canadian authorities. Other nations, it was assumed, would be looking after their own nationals. In view of the fact that the Commission was to be only a fact-finding body, implying no commitment as to broad policy to be adopted concerning the punishment of war criminals, no objection was advanced to appointing a Canadian representative, though it was felt from the start that the usefulness of the Commission and of Canadian participation in it would be very limited. As a result the decision to become a member was repeatedly deferred. Questions remained as to the nature of the judicial tribunals to be employed — whether war criminals should be tried by the national court of the countries whose nationals had been killed or injured, or rather, by an international criminal court to be set up for that purpose, and whether it should be a civil or military court. The preference

expressed in the 1943 memorandum was clearly for a national military court ·on the grounds that such a course would allow trials to proceed quickly and efficiently, and would permit avoidance of the question of whether the civil tribunal would be a federal or a provincial one. With regard to public opinion in Canada and the political importance of the issue, Canadian officials were of the view that there was nothing to indicate that the punishment of war criminals preoccupied the Canadian people, that “the matter seems rather to be accepted as a moral and political necessity”. (15) Marcel Cadieux’s memorandum on the punishment of war criminals concluded:

In summary, it seems that the question of war criminals is not of great importance for Canada. We have a moral interest in seeing that rules of international law are respected and that this question is ably used as a political weapon, but clearly our policy should be one of moderation in both cases.

As regards the steps to take in order to carry into effect the policies already laid down it would appear that Canada’s role should be cooperative rather than anything else. There seems to be no particular interest for organized efforts to articulate Canadian opinion on this question, as it is not of primary importance and as there has been hitherto sufficient awareness in Canada of the problem.(16)

The United Nations war Crimes Commission was finally established in October 1943 a full year after Lord Simon’s original proposal as a fact-finding body made up of representatives of the United Nations ( except Russia), with the mandate to sift and appraise evidence of crimes brought to its attention by the national war crimes offices or agencies_ of member nations, and to list, for eventual apprehension and trial, the names of perpetrators of war crimes against whom a prima facie case had been established.

Discussion in Ottawa of the pros and cons of Canadian participation in the Commission continued. It was argued that failure to assert Canada’s right and duty to sit on international bodies such as the UNWCC might lead to Canada’s exclusion from similar bodies in future. Canadian military personnel might become victims of war crimes as fighting intensified, and Canada would thereby acquire a direct interest in war crimes which had been largely absent heretofore. It was argued that since Canada was not as directly affected by the war criminals issue as were European governments-in-exile, the presence of a Canadian member on the Commission would allay the fear that the Commission would be perceived to be an instrument of revenge as would more likely be the case if the Commission was composed exclusively of Czech, ·Polish, French and Norwegian representatives. Al.so, the aims of the Commission, as set out by Lord Simon, were more likely to be achieved if the majority of the United Nations gave their support to the organization. The Political Intelligence Committee at the Department of External Affairs therefore recommended that Canadian participation in the Commission be deemed desirable from the point of view of “political warfare”. (17)

However, John E. Read, the Legal Advisor in the Department of External Affairs, who was to play a central role in determining Canadian interest and participation in the war crimes issue, came to the conclusion — after consulting with Canada’s High-Commissioner,- Vincent Massey, and with British officials in London — that the Commission would have little success. He was influenced by the attitude prevalent in the British Foreign Office, noting that the U.K. itself had indicated, particularly in its earlier telegrams on the subject, that it did not favour extensive punishment of war crimes.(18) Read’s recommendation was that Massey attend the preliminary meeting of the Commission, but that the question pf Canadian membership should be deferred, and that Massey should be instructed that it was the Canadian government’s view that

it is poor political propaganda now propaganda calculated to extend the duration of the war, and take the lives of many Allied soldiers, that gives to enemy peoples the repeated assurance that the moment they lay down their arms, they will be killed…that in the interest of victory Allied statements on the subject should be restrained, and if possible, the temper of the avowals of retribution, progressively stepped down. (19)

Churchill, meanwhile, in some measure to compensate for the non-inclusion of the Soviet Union in the UNWCC, disregarded protestations from Eden and the Foreign Office, and got the Allies’ agreement to a declaration which was signed in Moscow on November 1, 1943 by the Foreign Ministers of Britain, the United States and Russia. The “Moscow Declaration” committed the Allies to the principle that after the Armistice those responsible for atrocities, massacres and executions

will be sent back to the countries in which their abominable deeds were done in order they they may be judged and punished according to the laws of those liberated countries…Those Germans who take part in wholesale shootings of Italian officers or in the execution of French, Dutch, Belgian or Norwegian hostages or of Cretan peasants or who shared in the slaughters inflicted on the people of Poland, or in the territories of the Soviet Union which are now being swept clear of the enemy, will know that they will ,be brought back to the scene of their crimes and judged on the spot by the people that they have outraged…most assuredly the three Allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to the accusers in order that justice may be done.(20)

The Moscow Declaration presaged establishment of the International Military Tribunal and arrangements for extradition of war criminals for trial in the lands where their crimes were committed. Though in its listing of the various nationalities of the victims of the atrocities Jews were not even mentioned, the declaration stated that retribution would be meted out to “major

criminals whose offences have no particular geographic location, thus allowing in principle for Allied responsibility for punishment of crimes committed not only against, Allied and U.N. nationals, but also for those crimes committed in Axis territories and against Axis civilians and stateless persons — such as the Jews of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy. The implication was one which the American government, and even more so the British government subsequently tried very hard to circumvent-, though both finally accepted it in February·1945, as a result of public opinion in the U.S. (see pp. 25-26 below).

In addition to the limitations imposed on the Commission by the policy stances of the Allies, the body established to prepare the way for action against war criminals also did not enjoy the operational cooperation of British and American authorities. Sir Cecil Hurst, the distinguished jurist who was the British delegate to the UNWCC, complained about lack of cooperation, from the Foreign Office in his attempts to compile evidence for war criminal activity. Files of intelligence agencies on some hundred thousand Germans at all levels of responsibility had astonishingly detailed reports in late 1942 on Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Natzweiler concentration camps, including lists of SS men at .the camps “who were particularly brutal”. These files and lists were not given to the UNWCC. Evidence about atrocities in the Soviet territories continued to be treated —as matters deserving skepticism, and to be dismissed. It might be that the British feared that acceptance of such evidence and release of the information would be followed by public pressure to relax regulations limiting the entry into Palestine of Jewish refugees (21). Another potent factor was concern about the Soviet Union. The Foreign Office ordered the Commission to steer clear of any involvement in cases or areas where Russian-sponsored

Communists were operating, and, indeed, ruled out handing the Commission names of war criminals and evidence of atrocities committed by the Germans in the Baltic states, on the grounds that Russia was not a member of the Commission and that Britain did not recognize Russia’s claim to these territories.(22) Such an approach would have permitted many war criminals of Eastern European origin to escape justice.
The open sources record other instances of British reluctance to accept evidence, and the tendency to withhold evidence from the UNWCC. (23) The American delegate to the UNWCC, Herbert Pell, also experienced a lack of cooperation with and interest in the work of the Commission in Washington. The War Department was uninterested in the Commission, viewing it as a state Department creation. State Department officials felt that the Commission was a British invention and responsibility, and in fact acted on a number of occasions to deliberately thwart Pell’s initiatives in the Commission’s work.(24) Both Pell, the American, and Hurst, the British delegate soon came to the conclusion that the Commission would not be able to accomplish its task to its own satisfaction or that of the governments which appointed it. The impediments encountered included continued insistence by some on maintaining the narrow definition of war crimes, limiting them to breaches of the rules of war; the refusal to allow the Commission to consider cases where the victims were not Allied nationals, but, rather, Germans, Austrians or Hungarians; and insistence on detailed evidence in cases where such evidence was an impossibility. The result was an approach which in effect precluded treatment of the central war crimes — organized mass atrocities, often of people deemed stateless or of former Axis nationalities.

The Canadian war Crimes Advisory Committee (CWCAC)

In November 1943, consideration by External Affairs of developments in the U.K., the U.S. and particularly in the Soviet Union, where by this time the Kharkov trials had been held, persuaded Mackenzie King to appoint Arthur G. Slaght, a prominent criminal lawyer and former member of Parliament, as the government’s Honorary Counsel for the purpose of “examining evidence available for crimes committed against members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian nationals, and, in general, to advise the Canadian government in regard to these cases and related matters”. (25) To assist Slaght,an advisory committee -­ The Canadian War Crimes Advisory Committee (CWCAC) was appointed in Ottawa, composed of the Legal Advisor of the Department of External Affairs (John Read), a senior member of the Judge Advocate General’s branch (representing the Armed Services), and a representative of the Department of Justice. A key official of the Committee was a less senior member of the Judge Advocate General’s staff whose tasks were to interview possible witnesses amongst repatriated Canadian servicemen, to consult with the intelligence services, and to collect other materials which might be required by the Committee and Mr. Slaght.

The establishment of the Committee constituted a modest attempt to collect evidence for crimes committed against members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian nationals. The intention, though Canada was not yet a member of the UNWCC, was to bring to the attention of the Commission cases for which there was sufficient evidence. With regard to atrocities against other than Canadians, the decision of the Committee from the start was that “wherever in the course of investigation, information becomes available, the same should be passed on to the government of the national concerned, but unless requested, we

do not go out of our way to optain such information.” c26) Even in this regard, however, the examples given were limited to cases of atrocities against military personnel of other Allied countries.

In order to avoid ‘impeding investigations’, and, it would appear, in order to avoid opening the door to the pressure of public opinion, the Committee in Ottawa endorsed Slaght’s-·strong opposition “to publication of any available information with regard to any incidents that could be regarded
as war crimes.” (27)

The question of Canadian membership in the UNWCC remained unresolved; Massey wrote to Mackenzie King on January 28, 1944 to report that Sir Cecil Hurst had visited him to urge yet again that Canada become a member, and that the CWCAC could become the Canadian ‘national office’ vis-a-vis the UNWCC. In discussion of the issue in Ottawa, the famliliar arguments in favour of membership continued to be advanced: membership in the UNWCC would give Canada a greater voice in post-war Europe: if Canada was to be a fully sovereign nation, it should stop letting itself be represented by the U.K. abroad -­ Australia, New Zealand and India were members in their own right: since Canada had received much information from the UNWCC there should be reciprocation: and, if Luxembourg-in exile could afford to contribute £400 a year, so could Canada. ( 28) These arguments persuaded Slaght to write to Mackenzie King on March 15, 1944, recommending that Massey be appointed representative to the UNWCC and that

–any armistice treaties and peace agreements should contain specific recognition by our enemy belligerents of the right to apprehend, bring to trial anrl punish all persons respect of whom charges of war atrocities made.(29)


Despite Slaght’s advice, Mackenzie King waited another full year before formally appointing Massey as the Canadian representative to the UNWCC. It would appear that in the months following Slaght’s recommendation to King on behalf of the CWCAC, both Slaght and Read developed a very negative assessment of the UNWCC. As discussed below, each independently and confidentially conveyed their misgivings to King. (30)

Direct Canadian interest in the matter of war crimes for crimes committed against combatants developed after the landings in Normandy in June 1944. The murders of Canadian servicemen — such as the shootings at Chateau DI Andrieu. on June 8 placed great stress on Canada’s existing arrangements. Massey wrote to Read to report the concern expressed by Lieutenant Colonel John Page the Canadian Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Army officer at (SHAEF), engaged in compiling information about war crimes affecting members of the Canadian Army overseas — to the effect that Canadian cases were not corning before the UNWCC because there was no one there authorized to put these cases forward for consideration, and that the perpetrators of crimes against Canadian nationals might go unpunished. (31)
Though he had earlier expressed lack of confidence in the work of the UNWCC, Read was so frustrated with the lack of action and what he characterized as the inertia of the Canadian
government in the matter of war crimes that he wrote a personal and confidential note in November 1944 to the Under-Secretary of state for External Affairs, Norman Robertson, expressing his frustration and preparedness to resign:

We are rapidly approaching what may prove to be a very bad breakdown in our war crimes arrangement and, if that happens., it may be very awkward if

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the Chairman of the Committee happens to be a person whose has, from the very beginning, been strongly opposed to the policy in question. I have submitted recommendations with the full concurrence of the Committee which are not being followed. The result of not following them is going to be a perfectly ghastly fiasco and it would involve the most serious type of criticism for the government in the public press and in Parliament. ( 32)

This led Robertson to propose consultations with British authorities about their methods in preparing war crimes cases, and consultations with the UNWCC about the submission of cases by Canada and other countries to the Commission for examination. He also wrote to Massey advising that Canada should be represented at the conference which was to be convened for the discussion of a draft convention for the establishment of a United Nations war Crimes Court a participation already recommended by Slaght and requesting that Massey convey Canada’s views with regard to the necessity of Armistice terms covering war crimes and amendments to the Commission’s proposal for mixed Military Tribunals. ( 33) Slaght at the same time was
preparing for a trip to Washington to discuss Allied war crimes policy. The centerpiece of the Washington visit was a draft memorandum prepared by External Affairs criticizing the UNWCC program as too complicated and impractical, and as having failed to lead to a workable policy for dealing with war criminals. Proposed instead was an alternative approach based on several 11 clear principles 11, to the effect that crimes committed in a country against nationals of that country should be tried before a national court; crimes against allied personnel in occupied territory should be tried before an Allied Military Court established by the Commander-in-Chief of that area; and that political leaders be tried by an international tribunal.(34)


This late 1944 activism on the part of Canadian officials concerned.with the war crimes issue met with immediate obstacles. The Minister of National Defence suddenly withdrew Lieutenant-Commander Curran from his work as key administrator of the CWCAC just at the time when he was about to leave for Europe to consult with members of the Canadian Armed Forces Overseas, the Service Headquarters, and SHAEF, and to investigate war crimes allegations. As the Secretary of the CWCAC, Curran had conducted most of its practical work and had acted as the liaison officer with the Services and, particularly, with Intelligence, prisoners of war, repatriation and other branches which were in touch with potential witnesses. In view of the fact that it would take time for another person to become familiar with the work of the Committee, personal approaches were made at the highest levels, yet it was impossible to reverse the decision to withdraw Curran.(35)

A further obstacle was the unsettled situation in London. The UNWCC continued to be the object of criticism. Massey reported that the Foreign Office opposed establishment of a U.N. War Crimes Court to be set up by treaty, and that there was a preference for mixed tribunals to be set up by Supreme Allied Military commanders. Massey was still in January 1945 making requests of Read in Ottawa for an indication of “whether it would be helpful for this office to make-a strenuous effort to obtain from the United Kingdom people any evidence they might have about war crimes involving Canadian nationals” ( 36) The CWCAC report for 1944 meanwhile characterized Canada’s nqn-membership in the UNWCC as anomalous, noting that

on this, all of the British Dominions with the exception of Canada and South Africa, are represented. Practically all of the Allied nations, with the exception or Russia, are also represented.(37)

While asserting that a great deal of valuable information was

being obtained from the Canadian Forces and from POW camps with regard to Germans in Canada, the report noted that little information was reaching the Committee directly from Europe. As this CWCAC report was being circulated, Slaght wrote to King on a personal basis describing the work of the UNWCC as “extremely futile and unsatisfactory,” pointing out that the United States had refused to continue funding of the UNWCC, and advising King that Canada’s policy towards the UN Commission should continue to be one of non-involvement:

this whole situation emphasizes to my mind your wisdom, and that of your department, in not actively participating in the activities of the Commission except for the very outset, and if the Commission continues to function, my view is that if and when Squadron Leader Hopkins (Curran’s replacement as Secretary of the CWCAC) does go to England, as I believe External Affairs Department contemplate he should, we should not be inveigled into having him take a seat with, or participate in the the deliberations of the Commission. (38)

John Read at the same time was writing to King saying that it had been the feeling of Mr. Slaght and the Committee that Canada should be represented on the UNWCC, that Massey be appointed as the Canadian representative to the Commission, and that Canada should contribute to the expenses of the commission.( 39) This advice stood in stark contrast to that which Slaght was communicating to King directly, and also to the views Read was himself expressing in a note to Norman Robertson on January 16, 1945, written shortly after Hopkins’ appointment, in which Read declares himself certain that the UNWCC will be a failure, that the war crimes business is altogether insignificant, and that the Canadian Committee, after furnishing the Commission in London or SHAEF with any evidence or other information it may have available, should then shunt responsibility for dealing with the information to these


international agencies. Canada’s main aim, he thought, should be to avoid involving the Canadian government in what would be “a fiasco,” and to avoid criticism “for failure to deliver a lot of non-existent war criminals”.(40)

Massey did finally embark on his activities as Canadian representative to the UNWCC in March 1945, after reporting to Robertson that under the new Chairman of the UNWCC, Lord Wright, the Commission would go ahead and make a useful contribution to international morality, and recommending that a senior officer of the Canadian Armed Forces should be appointed to represent Canadian cases and thereby influence UNWCC policy.

The early months of 1945 were a period of active discussion of what the Allied interest in war crimes should be. Bt the summer of 1944 it became clear that the UNWCC and the Allies would focus on crimes committed against Allied nationals or in Allied countries and not on atrocities committed against Axis nationals. The reason: no precedent existed in international law for inclusion in the catalogue of war crimes actions by an enemy nation (or its citizens) against its own subjects or .those of its partner nations. As a consequence, a major portion of the criminality of the Nazi Final Solution -­ the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Jews of German, Hungarian, Rumanian or other Axis nationality and Jews rendered stateless by anti-semitic legislation prior and during the war -­ was considered to be outside the Commission’s mandate. The British Foreign Office justified this position after one of its legal advisors searched through all the public statements on war criminal policy, concluding, in July 1944, that none of the Allied declarations appeared to involve His Majesty’s Government in an inescapable commitment to bring to trial the perpetrators of crimes against the Jews and others in enemy countries.(41) By early 1945, however, public opinion in the United States


caused a shift in official policy in this regard. During a press conference on February 1, Joseph Grew, the Under-Secretary of State, was prodded by journalists into announcing that it would be official U.S. policy to prosecute crimes committed against Axis nationals. (42) Germans would thereby be punished for their crimes “wherever committed”, as declared in the Moscow Declaration, including for atrocities committed against-Jews and other populations inside Germany and other Axis countries.

The Foreign Office opposed this development, expressing concern about the potential impact on post-war rule in Germany:

It is to be doubted whether we shall get very far by putting pressure on successor governments in Germany and elsewhere to punish the perpetrators of Nazi atrocities. Such governments will be unpopular enough already without having to appear as champions and avengers of the Jews and other more or less disliked minority groups. (43)

By March 1945, however, the British were resigned to the fact that they had no choice but to accept the American initiative.

Canadian officials disapproved of the American decision to include in Allied war crimes policy crimes committed against Axis nationals. They characterized the U.S. decision as involving the Allies in the prosecution of ‘domestic crimes’.

Hopkins and Slaght expressed their personal view that Canada ought not to support inclusion of such ‘domestic crimes’, but cautiously added that there was no need for any immediate indication of Canada’s view on this matter to the UNWCC. ( 44)

They also suggested that, like the other Allies, Canada should now set up a ‘National Office’ to which all information regarding war crimes would be channelled and which would prepare and present cases for presentation to the Commission.(45) The focus would henceforth need to be on streamlining the investigation of crimes against Canadians and prosecution of those responsible.


Upon his return from his European mission, Hopkins produced a significant report, dated June 5, 1945, to Heads of Divisions in the Department of. External Affairs with regard to the Canadian interest in the war crimes issue. The report’s first assertion was that it was “universally agreed that the key document relating to war crimes remains the ‘Moscow Declaration’, signed by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill in October, 1943, for the three Allied Powers on behalf of the thirty-two United Nations”. Hopkins felt that the Moscow Declaration would serve as the foundation for whatever final decisions would be taken with respect to war crimes. After describing the principal agencies in Europe concerned with -war crimes, Hopkins observed that the governments of the United Nations, “by and large have apparently been reluctant to make authoritative decisions, or to give real guidance in the matter of war crimes.” With regard to the UNWCC it was Hopkins’s assessment that the agency suffered from a lack of wholehearted governmental support; an inadequate administrative staff; the varying juridical ideas of the members; and the absence of a Soviet representative due to the rejection of soviet demand for the separate representation of nine of its “autonomous republics”..(46)

Reporting on the National war Crimes Offices of various governments represented on the Commission, Hopkins stated that in keeping with the British and American approach to “militarizing” their national offices on war crimes, Canada has set up a War crimes Section at C.M.H.Q. in London to be charged with the investigation of all war crimes committed against Canadians in the European theatre. Two RCAF officers had already been attached to that Section.

Hopkins’ subsequent recommendations were that the channel of communication between the War Crimes Section in London and the CWCAC in Ottawa should be via the High Commissioner’s


Office an approach wl;ich would keep the Canadian representative in the picture and stress the interdepartmental aspect of the question; that Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Macdonald, who had been a member of the SHAEF Court of Inquiry since its inception and was latterly its president, should be asked to prepare without delay, in consultation with the High Commissioner, cases of war crimes against Canadians as identified in the SHAEF Courts of Inquiry;. that the War Crimes Section in London should be asked to obtain from the respective army groups as much information as possible concerning crimes against Canadians and crimes of an international character. The latter may have referred to reports on concentration camps; if so, there is no indication in Hopkins’ report as to what was to be done with the information on crimes of an international character. Hopkins further recommended that the actual business of collecting and collating evidence of war crimes should be the responsibility of the Armed Forces; that there should be established at N.D.H.Q. in Ottawa a War Crimes Section paralleling the Section at the C.M.H.Q. in London; and that the War crimes Section established at N.D.H.Q. in Ottawa should work in close liaison with the three Intelligence Services, and of course with the CWCAC. (47 )

The Allies’ machinery for investigating and prosecuting war criminals

Disagreement during the course of the war about what priority to attach to action against war criminals,. and about the purpose and scope of such action, had significant practical consequences. The magnitude of the postwar problem of war criminal \ who evaded justice may be attributed in large measure to the failure to collect evidence in time and to create the investigative machinery which would have permitted finding and prosecuting, at the war’s conclusion, those responsible for war

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crimes. The task was one which only the Allied military could have carried out. The British military, however, had been specifically excluded from war crimes policy deliberations during the war years, and the military’s legal arm — the Judge Advocate General’s department — was interested in war crimes only insofar as these were committed in the course of actual combat. The armed forces were not provided with lists of wanted men and no channel was provided for the transmission of information regarding suspected war criminals. When in April 1944 SHAEF’s legal department defined a war criminal as a person who featured on the UNWCC’s list, the list contained 68 names. Nor were any directives issued on arresting persons suspected of being war criminals.(48)

In fact, prior to the invasion of the European Continent in 1944 none of the Allies had established procedures or machinery for the investigation of war crimes. As noted earlier, Canada’s interest was engaged only after evidence was reported with regard to the shooting of Canadian POWs following the Normandy landings at Chateau d’Audrieu on the 8th of June 1944. A special SHAEF standing Court of Inquiry was set up in August 1944 to investigate the report of the shootings. Further reports of crimes affecting the British and American Forces. led to the establishment ·of SHAEF Courts of Inquiry which investigated and reported upon approximately twenty-five cases in which it was established that war crimes had been committed involving nearly five hundred British, Canadian and American victims. They had also investigated a large number of additional cases in which it was decided not to make a formal inquiry on the grounds that the perpetrators • could not be identified, or that the evidence was inconclusive. The SHAEF Courts were explicitly restricted to collecting and preserving evidence only in cases involving Allied personnel.


The War Department in Washington in September 1944 initiated an independent program to build a war crimes agency which would collect evidence on a large scale — an effort which proved unsustainable.(49) A subsequent plan proposed by the Americans and approved in January 1945 involved the creation of the ‘Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects’ (CROWCASS) established under SHAEF as the main registry and information agency to assist war crimes investigations and security services. CROWCASS, based in Paris and run by a British officer, handled an enormous quantity of documents — some twelve thousand a month. Initially, the agency compiled name listings in three categories: Wanted Persons, Detained Persons and Prisoners of War. :· The POW category- was dropped, though liaison was maintained with Allied/ POW Information Bureaus which circulated CROWCASS Wanted lists to POW camps. The main failing of this endeavour with regard to war criminals, beyond those caused by administrative difficulties and lack of cooperation, lay in the fact that the primary purpose of the Registry was to provide lists of Germans who might pose a threat to the occupation forces, ·making the focus of the agency’s attention the compili.ng of a ‘Security Suspects Name Index’. The ‘Detained Name Index’ containing names of persons known to have been detained in connection with war-crimes or as members of criminal organizations, moreover, was unreliable and misleading, including the names of witnesses and others wanted only for information purposes. CROWCASS’ first list in May 1945 was in fact an. amalgamation of the UNWCC list and 80,000 names from a security blacklist. ( 50) There were also important gaps in the list. Since the Soviet Union was not a member of CROWCASS, over a third of all enemy POWs were not included. The stress was also heavily on German”· nationals: the Consolidated Wanted List published in 1947, for example, contained 36,000 names of Germans and only 2,500 names of other nationalities .


The absence of proper lists and the cumbersome methods used in searching for the wanted men were but additional obstacles to apprehending war criminals in the immediate post-war months. In marked contrast with the poor organization, inadequate preparation and lack of will which characterized Allied operations with regard to the apprehension of war criminals, “Operation Paperclip” indicated what could be achieved “given careful planning, wel1-researched information, resources –and a sense of urgency”.(51) “Operation Paperclip” involved some three thousand specialists selected and trained for the purpose of apprehending nine.· thousand of Germany’s top scientists and technologists. The e:ffort was immensely successful, and resulted in the recruitment of German expertise .for the West’s military industries and in–the transfer’  of whole laboratories to the U.S. and Britain. The Operation was carried out in competition with the Soviet Union, equally eager to acquire German scientific know-how and to deprive the West of it.

Most of these German scientists were resettled in Britain and the U.S. A group of some forty to fifty German scientists were similarly admitted to Canada by an Order-in-Council (discussed below in Chapter XII, Part 1). A related program involving the recruitment and resettlement of intelligence agents is discussed in Chapter XII, Part 5 of this report.

Unlike “Operation Paperclip” and projects to recruit Germans and Nazi collaborators of intelligence value, the effort to hunt down the murderers of over twelve million persons had no trained staff, headquarters; plans or priorities. SHAEF, the operation ,. headquarters in charge of the American and British Armies occupying more than half of Germany, had only a vague directive on its war crimes responsibilities. Orders to

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Eisenhower on the invasion of Europe merely noted that one of his objectives was the arrest of the Nazi leaders and those mentioned in the War Crimes Commission lists.

Historians and other analysts offer the view that in the first few weeks after Germany’s surrender, a serious effort would have succeeded in finding war criminals. New SHAEF directives had been issued in March which considerably expanded the list of Germans who could be automatically arrested on security grounds. • At a time when so many, trapped by the defeat, were in internment camps, it would have been possible to locate individuals by careful and knowledgeable interrogation. In fact, a number of major war criminals, such as Gustav Wagner, ‘the ‘Angel of Death’- in Sobibor, who were in internment camps, were not questioned. Hundreds of thousands of former concentration camp inmates and slave workers, and the surviving victims of atrocities, now in the DP camps, were potential eye witnesses. There was no prepared system to tap these sources. While daily reports about the arrest’s of the Nazi leadership induced a certain complacency, the more numerous lesser-known major offenders were not sought out, even though, in theory, a means to finding them existed — namely CROWCASS.

The arrangements in place and operations undertaken, following the end of the war, to identify and apprehend war criminals.- were— totally inadequate to the task. The police, intelligence and administrative resources moreover, increasingly came to be directed to the task of administering DP camps in the zones of occupation and to other security and intelligence missions; rather than to identifying and apprehending those involved in the Nazi campaign of murder.

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The limitations imposed on the Allied powers’ original program of denazification of Germany is both a reflection of and was a contributing factor to the postwar lack of interest in apprehending and prosecuting war criminals. The consequences of the confusion, controversy and ultimate failure of the denazification program in Germany were amplified by the immediate need, in the aftermath of the war, to get the shattered German economy and state now the responsibility of the victorious allies working quickly, and the strategic need to rebuild Western Germany as a bulwark against Soviet pressure. In the face of these exigencies, the sweeping American approach to denazification, involving the purge of Germany’s existing political and social cadres, was quickly curtailed. The British approach was a curtailed one to begin with — as stated in 1947 by General Brian Robertson, the Deputy Military Governor:

Our interest in denazification is quite different from that of the Germans…we are chiefly concerned with security, i.e. we wish the German administration and German industry to be staffed with people who are not dangerous to the aims of the occupation. For the Germans, however, the question is largely one of justice and retribution upon individuals who have oppressed and persecuted their fellow citizens and brought disaster upon their country. (52)

Prominent Nazis were reappointed immediately after the war to high positions in industry, education, the legal profession and the police system. The impact on the apprehension and prosecution of war criminals was direct. It would have been inconsistent to encourage rehabilitation for some while prosecuting others and judged undesirable given the postwar strategic context which dictated new Allied priorities for Germany.

An illustration of the effect on the Allies’ approach and policy is the career of a major film project undertaken by the British to record the horrors discovered by British forces

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liberating the concentration Gamps. The explicit purpose of the film, the production of which commanded considerable financial and human resources, was to provide direct and incontrovertible evidence of the evil perpetrated by the authorities and forces of Nazi Germany and their collaborators. The film was to be shown to the German population so that all would know and see what they had been involved in or what had been qone in their name. In the event, in view of the compromises made to get Germany running and in order to avoid disturbing the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Western Germany, the ·film was never shown until forty years later, in September 1985 when it was aired by Independent Television in the U.K. under the title ‘A Painful Reminder’ .(53)

It was not untypical of the approach taken by the Allies that the film dedicated to exposing the full horror of the Nazi program of extermination refers to the Jews only twice, and then almost incidentally, in the course of its ninety minutes. Canada’s National Film Board, too, had film crews in Europe to record the war, its ending and aftermath. There was not one treatment by the NFB of the genocide. As pointed out by Gary Evans in his book on the National Film Board and the politics of wartime propaganda in Canada, one of the rare depictions of the dead and suffering in the NFB series on the war made reference to

a disturbing moral question of the war — will the German people be held responsible for the mass deportations and killing and wounding of children? Nothing specific was mentioned about the Jews. A little over a year later, despite the grisly news trickling out of Europe about what was happening to civilian Jewish deportees, Canada’s information policy (and therefore film policy) as enunciated by the Cabinet War Committee was to remain silent and keep Canada off the hook [with regard to the Jewish refugees issue — A.R]. In 1944… the Cabinet War Committee ordered all atrocity stories held up until they could be verified. Another year would pass before “verification” was made. By then, the war was over…(54)


Canada and the Nuremberg Agreement

The various Allied activities with regard to the prosecution of war criminals culminated in the August 8, 1945. Agreement by the governments of the U.K., U.S., U.S.S.R., and the provisional government of France, establishing the International Milltary Tribunal for the trial of major Nazi war criminals. The Charter of the Agreement provided for charges with regard to three categories of crimes: crimes against peace — carrying out
wars of conquest; war crimes — murder of POWs and civilians, excessive destruction of lands and cities; and crimes against humanity — deporting civilians and using them for slave labour, and for inhumane experimentation; and persecuting and murdering people because of their polltical beliefs, their race or their religion.

The Agreement provided for the adherence of other Allied governments. Amongst the governments of the United Nations, Greece, Denmark, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Ethiopia, Australia, Honduras, Norway, Panama, Luxembourg, Haiti, New Zealand, India, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay all adhered. Canada was and remains conspicuous by its absence.

By mid-1945 the issue of Canadian participation in the establishment of such a tribunal had become the subject of deliberations at External Affairs and at meetings of the CWCAC. On June 23, 1945, Slaght wrote to Hopkins to say that “as one of the Empire countries participating in the war”, Canada was entitled to express an opinion on the matter of punishment of the major war criminals but he still advised caution and non-involvement:

it may be that the Prime Minister and Mr. Robertson will think the better course to let things ride and if the major powers handling the matter do run into some of the difficulties I forecast in my recent letter that it could not be said to be our fault.(56)

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Slaght argued that “Canada should not place herself in a position where we have to approve of a prosecution which may be initiated by the authorities in England or in Europe”. Canadian involvement, far removed from the scene, would involve substantial delay; and

would probably make the relatives and friends of any Canadian who was the object of German brutality feel very upset indeed to learn that the authorities in England and in the field had recommended the prosecution of the alleged criminals and Canada has prevented it. (57)

While reporting from London on developments with regard to the establishment of an international tribunal for the trial of major war criminals, Vincent Massey mentioned that the American representative, Justice Jackson, had pointed out in an address to the 70th meeting of the UNWCC, that whereas member governments were principally interested in atrocities committed against their peoples, an International Court would be concerned chiefly with “the general scheme which made the local atrocities possible”. With this in mind, the participating nations were requested to offer suggestions and information with regard to “the design and patterns of war crimes”. In the light of that request, Massey suggested that Canada submit a brief about the Normandy atrocities which reflected broader patterns of lawlessness and ruthlessness of SS policy. ( 58) ,

While such cooperation raised no particular difficulties for the government in Ottawa, the issue of Canadian government adherence to the Four Power Agreement appeared to be more problematic. Hopkins, the Secretary of the CWCAC who had visited the camps, recommended that Canada should adhere to the Agreement on the grounds that the Canadian government had already approved in principle its participation in such arrangements for the Far East; that fourteen other countries, including Australia, had already adhered to the Four Power Agreement; that the United

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Kingdom strongly urged Canadian adherence; that the U.S . government was urging the adherence of Latin American countries; and that only those countries which have adhered to the Agreement would be invited to send official observers to the Nuremberg trial. John Read, however, in a note to Norman Robertson on August 29, 1945, advised against adherence, on the grounds that Canada would be committing itself to a process which others controlled:

having in mind the appalling mess made by the United Nations Commission, it is impossible seriously to criticize the Big Four for acting as a small group without consulting anybody. By adherence we would accept responsibility for a course of events over which we have no control … it might be considered that we should not adhere to an agreement in the negotiation of which we had no part and in the carrying out of which we were to have no voice. It is quite a different matter from the agreement-which is under consideration for the Far East.(59)

In response to inquiries made from outside the House of Commons, Prime Minister Mackenzie King offered in September 1945 before the House a brief history of Canadian war crimes policy which in some respects was less than candid. He described the Canadian government as having “participated in the work of the United Nations War Crimes Commission” of which, in fact, Canadian officials had a very low opinion, and which Canada did not join until March 1945. King also asserted in the House of Commons that

since the surrender of Germany, rapid progress had been made in the plans for the apprehension, trial and punishment of war criminals. The political leaders of Nazi Germany are being dealt with under arrangements agreed upon by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialists Republic and France. The, others of the United Nations are not participating.(60)

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In fact, as mentioned above seventeen other United Nations countries did decide to adhere to the Agreement. The U.S. and the U.K. were urging Canada to adhere only two weeks before to Mackenz1e King’s speech to the House. The advice of Canadian officials was not to adhere and to avoid involvement or entanglement in matters involving Europeans which they felt should remain the concern of the Powers.

It should be noted, however, that in December 1946 Canada was among the countries which unanimously adopted the resolution of the U.N. General Assembly affirming “the principles of international law recognized by the Charter of the Nurnberg Tribunal and the judgment of the Tribunal.(61)

Postwar War Crimes Trials

The Nuremberg Trials: The Nuremberg Tribunal tried twenty-two members of the political, military and economic leadership of the Nazi regime, and in its judgment sentenced twelve to death, three to life imprisonment, and four to various prison terms. Three defendants were acquitted. In the course of the proceedings, which lasted from November 20, 1945 to August 16, 1946, and in the judgment, delivered on September 30th and October 1st, 1946, crimes related to the Final Solution were acknowledged as coming within the broader definition of war -crimes and crimes against humanity. In addition to ruling on the criminality of the individuals, the Nuremberg judgment established the criminality of organizations — the leadership corps of the Nazi party; the SS; the Gestapo; and the SD, membership-, in any of these organizations constituting a prima facie case of criminality against the individual member. The Charter’s definition of ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ and the tribunal’s judgement on the criminality of Nazi organizations directly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity provided the framework for broadening the scope of war crimes trials to include rank and file perpetrators of crimes and

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those obeying criminal orders The focus, however, was on German war criminals; there was little reference to non-German perpetrators of crimes and individuals not members of these Nazi organizations.

Twelve further trials were held at Nuremberg by the American military tribunals between 1946 and 1949. Of the 177 Nazi war criminals on trial in these proceedings, 35 were acquitted, 97 received varying prison terms up to twenty-five years, 20 received life imprisonment, and 25 were condemned to death. However, the Clemency A?t passed in January 1951 by the U.S. High commissioner in Germany, John J. McCloy, resulted in the early liberation of the majority of the accused.(62)

Between 1945 and 1949 a total of 5,025 Nazi war criminals were convicted in the the three -we-stern Occupation Zones of Germany, of whom 806 were sentenced to death, and of these, 486 actually executed. Official figures for trials of Nazis in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany are not available, although it is assumed that many of Germans were tried and convicted, or committed to soviet prisons. After Nuremberg each of the occupying powers in Germany conducted trials within their own zones.

Other Allied War Crimes Trials: War crimes trials in Europe began with the trial of the Commandant and forty-four of the staff of Belsen concentration camp in the British zone on September 17, 1945. The British initially looked upon the war crimes trials as an attempt not only to punish the guilty, but
also to show the German people just what had been done in their name and to provide them with an example of efficient and
impartial justice.

The Belsen trial did not reflect such a concern. Major T.C.M. Winwood and his colleagues for the defense of Josef Kramer, the last commandant of Belsen, argued that concentration camps were legal in Germany and that therefore those who worked in them could not be punished for obeying orders, nor would murder in a concentration camp be a war crime.

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In explaining Kramer’ s behaviour, Winwood offered that Kramer’s misfortune had been that he had to deal with “the dregs of the ghettos of Eastern Europe”.(63)

Both Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Sir Hartley Shawcross, the Attorney General, were angered by the delays, lenient sentences and acquittals at the Belsen trial, which stood in marked contrast with the results of the American Army’s trial of those responsible for running Dachau — a trial which started shortly after the Belsen trial, lasted just one month, and resulted in the conviction of all forty of the accused, twenty-six of whom were sentenced to death. The American army had seventeen investigation teams employing over one hundred and fifty full-time investigators; the British army had three teams and thirty investigators., A frank account of the reasons for the failure is contained in the letter which Brigadier B.G. Turpin, Montgomery’s Chief of Staff, wrote to Col. George Bradshaw, the Deputy Director of Personnel Services in the war Office, admitting that the vital war Establishment ceiling for manpower had not been altered as directed to divert more people into the War Crimes program. Ministerial directives had been disobeyed. Even the Foreign Office was struck by the high rate of acquittal and the leniency of the sentences passed on those who were convicted in British War Crime trials:

The position as regards German minor war criminals is most unsatisfactory. Almost all the trials have been for murder, often with horrible additional circumstances, and the JAG had managed to obtain death sentences in twenty-five per cent of the cases, complete acquitta1s· in twenty-five per cent and sentences of imprisonment, often for ridiculously small periods, in fifty per cent. As the Germans are fully aware of these trials and the crimes for which the accused are indicted, the effect can only be very bad…One of the difficulties is that…the JAG insists on trying to prove in


concentration camp, cases that each of the accused was personally responsible for at least one murder. This is a ridiculous method of procedure, since ·the victims or potential victims who could have proved the necessary facts are themselves dead or vanished long ago. It seems worse than ridiculous to anyone who had any knowledge whatever of the calculated cruelty with which the concentration camp staffs carried out millions of murders all over Europe.(64)

In reviewing the results of all the trials and sentences, Patrick Dean of the Foreign Office commented that it was

quite fantastic to go to all the trouble to try and convict these -Germans ( many of whom are the worst form of SS thug) and then impose sentences of imprisonment which in some cases run down to periods of a few months only. ( 65)

In fact, apart from a few, the day-to-day responsibility for dealing with war crimes was carried out by individuals who were uninterested in the subject, which, coupled with the British authorities’ reluctant attitude towards war crimes matters for reasons of policy, led to the negligence here described. Sir David Scott-Fox negotiated arrangements for the Nuremberg Trial, and, as Head of the British War Crimes Executive, represented the Foreign Office and reported on the Nuremberg Trials. He was also involved .in later trials held in the British zone, and acted as liaison with the UNWCC on requests by other countries for the extradition of wanted war criminals held in the British zone. In 1978, Sir David related that he believed that the public was “soon bored by the trials”, and that the trials should have been ended much sooner. Scott-Fox was succeeded by Frederick Garner, who remained responsible for war crimes for a year until October 1947. He was appointed to the position because he himself had been a prisoner of the Japanese and was therefore regarded as an expert on war crimes. In the

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late 1970’s Garner did not disguise the fact that he had been indifferent to his work and that he was determined to close down his department as quickly as possible:

For me it was all a chore. I had never been to Germany, knew nothing about the country and just wasn’t enthusiastic. When Scott-Fox moved, I became the whole department and I didn’t even have a typewriter. All I wanted was to get back to the East, so I spent a lot of my time trying to convince other departments to take the responsibility. Thank God someone finally did.(66)

The few who cared (Dean, Bevin and Shawcross) expressed frustration that while the number of crimes that had been reported was increasing, the number of British staff available was falling and only a fraction of the cases being reported was being investigated. In his report to to the the Prime Minister, Shawcross seemed resigned to the winding up of action on war crimes by the end of 1947.

In the circumstances, I can only suggest that the trials should continue until the end of the year and that we should then review the situation with a view to bringing them to an end, except in the case of the most serious offenses.(67)

In fact, a year into the peace, the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR) had already stopped investigating any newly reported non-British crimes and had decided to hand over concentration camp cases to the countries whose nationals had been murdered.

Extradition and trials of war criminals in the liberated Countries: There was a certain reluctance on the part of European countries to carry out the trials provided for in the Moscow Declaration. A major obstacle was that amidst the postwar chaos in the newly liberated countries, desperately trying to
organize national governments and to introduce some normalcy, the

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prosecution of Germans and their own nationals for committing atrocities where the victims were for the most part Jews was not amongst the highest priorities. By the summer of 1945, when it became obvious that the expected national war crimes investigation teams from former occupied countries would not materialize, Eisenhower asked the Combined Chiefs for permission to prosecute those responsible for running the concentration camps in the American zone. This was understood as a strictly limited responsibility in direct response to the horror of discovering the camps. While not immediately demanding the return of Germans for trial, a number of the newly liberated countries — Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia in particular — did begin to demand those of their own countrymen who had been collaborators, quislings and traitors. A number of key figures were sentenced and executed.

A major hindrance to prosecution for war crimes by the Allies and by the authorities in the liberated countries was the lack of cooperation from the Soviet government and the absence of any joint machinery for the investigation of war crimes. There was no established mechanism for the exchange of information about criminals wanted or held, nor any arrangements to hand over Germans responsible for the murder of Russians. The Soviet government had refused to join the War Crimes Commission, refused to cooperate with CROWCASS, and only once allowed an Allied war crimes investigation team to enter its zone. The soviet authorities meanwhile were repeatedly accusing Britain of failing to honor the provisions of the Moscow Declaration of 1943 by which war criminals were to be returned to the country where they committed their crimes. These were but early intimations of the Cold War from which-many criminals were to benefit.


Because of the intensification of the Cold War, the U.S. and Britain also had reservations about supporting extradition arrangements. In line with the Moscow Declaration, the War Crimes Commission had suggested in September 1944 that the extradition of war criminals between countries should be formalized by Treaty. Both the United States and Britain rejected the Commission’s proposals, the State Department responding almost a. year later with the statement that II in view of the rigid control exercised over the entry of aliens into the United States, the entry of war criminals and traitors into the United States…is most unlikely”.(68)

It has been suggested that·the British rejection of the war rimes Commission’s extradition proposals in March 1945 was due to a suspicion that the Soviets would use the occasion to acquire valuable German scientists and industrialists whose services the Western powers were seeking.(69) It was also a stated concern that requests from Roumania, Hungary and Yugoslavia might not be motivated by an interest in bringing war criminals to justice, but rather to punish anti-Communists and others sought for political reasons.

In order to protect such political refugees, the Foreign Office had asked the War Office in March 1945 to instruct the army in Europe not to hand over any war criminals without prima facie evidence by the demanding country that the individual was in-fact a genuine war criminal. This stipulation applied in particular to war criminals held amongst POWs in Britain. The decision also saved several thousand Yugoslavs and Ukrainian SS soldiers from repatriation in 1947. Many Eastern Europeans, particularly former Soviet citizens who had served in the German forces, were forcibly repatriated.

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Members of the Baltic SS and Waffen-SS in particular benefitted from these Cold War considerations. These groups had retreated with the German Army into Germany, at the same time as individual Balts, Ukrainians, Yugoslavs and others who may have participated directly in the “Final Solution”, either as members of execution squads alongside the Einsatzgruppen, or as guards and officers at the extermination and concentration camps. Some of these individuals were arrested in uniform. Many put on civilian clothes and presented themselves as former slave workers and as refugees for processing and allocation to DP camps. Extradition of these 1-ikely participants in war crimes to Eastern European countries became a rather complicated matter. In some cases criminals and qui lings were handed over on demand without reference to the UNWCC. lists. In other cases, such as that of the Yugoslav government’s request to Churchill in mid-June 1945 for the extradition of a long list of people interned in Austria by the British forces who were accused of “treason against the Yugoslav nation”, there was refusal to extradite, though many were known to have committed war crimes. As a result of Cold War considerations, loopholes were built into Allied orders to apprehend and prosecute war criminals. While orders issued to American officials required that all persons wanted for war crimes against Allied nationals be handed over on the basis of receipt of a plain statement of the facts, without demanding presentation of a prima facie case, a special proviso offered protection in cases involving special political or other unusual circumstances. As a result, it was soon decided that no Poles, Yugoslavs or Baltic nationals were to be handed over in any circumstances.(70)

The purpose of the preceding sections has been to gain an understanding of the conditions which later led to the entry into Canada of persons involved in war crimes or liable or alleged to have been so involved. The section which follows is


somewhat tangential to this major theme: it does however provide further illustration of the relatively low priority attached to the effort to deal with war criminals and the low level of Canadian government interest and involvement in the war crimes issue an approach also reflected in Canada’s immigration policy with regard to the possible entry of Nazi war criminals, discussed in Chapters III to XI of this report.


    Canadian war crimes policy in the immediate postwar years


The interest of the Canadian government in the war crimes issue following the war was confined to Canadian trials of a number of Germans accused of crimes against members of the Canadian Forces. The first case, that of Kurt MeyerI received the widest attention.

Massey had reported to King on June 8, 1944 that the Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) War Crimes Section had evidence against Kurt Meyer and recommended that a case be filed with the UNWCC. External Affairs pointed out to the Prime Minister that the Meyer case was the first non-Soviet case to be ready for trial, that it would serve as a test case which other governments would be anxious to observe; -that Canada had a highly qualified Allied military jurist, General Montague, and experienced military lawyers for the prosecution team. Read had “Before him a case against a German General for the murder of Canadian soldiers, in which there was clear-cut evidence, and in which the prosecution was ready to go to trial. But even in this case, it took some pressure from the U.K. to get the Canadian government to act. ( 71) While transmitting the facts and recommendations with regard to the need to proceed with· the prosecution of Kurt Meyer, Read’s recommendation was lukewarm:

Personally I am not enthusiastic about the whole war crimes business, but I think we might be making· a real contribution if we could begin by

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setting the standard of fair and just dealings with the war criminals comparable to that which we expect in our courts of Justice in our countries.(72)

In fact, and as noted by Lieutenant Colonel Macdonald in a May 8, 1945 memorandum, there was no established method of investigating war crimes against members of the Canadian Armed Forces after SHAEF’s standing Courts of Inquiry ceased to accept new cases on March 15, 1945.( 73_) Recommendations were advanced by Hopkins on his return from Europe, to fill the gap for both new and incomplete cases involving Canadians reported by the SHAEF Courts.( 74) Consequently, Canadian Military Headquarters was asked to assume responsibility for the completion of the case against the 12th SS Panzer Division, responsible for the deaths of some 100 Canadian prisoners of war. As the war ended and the repatriation of Canadian soldiers began, it was recommended that an intensive effort was needed to report on war crimes as quickly as possible before the witnesses departed, and that the War Crimes Branch be established under the Deputy Adjutant General (DAG) to carry out the necessary investigations, and to complete the work of the SHAEF Courts.

In Canada, the Minutes of an Extraordinary Meeting of the CWCAC of June 20, 1945 noted the decision to draw up an order-in-Council “providing for the trial of enemy war criminals by Canadian Military Courts”.(75) In drafting the order-in-council which under the War Measures Act would provide for the trial and punishment of war enemy criminals, Slaght and other members of the Committee were mindful of the possible impact on public opinion. Commenting on the first draft of the regulations, Charles Stein, representing the Department of Justice on the CWCAC, observed that the phrase “for the trial of persons charged with having committed war crimes” did not provide for any restriction, and that he had understood Mr. Read to


suggest that II the jurisdiction of our proposed Military Courts should be restricted to war crimes in which Canada had an interest”. He concluded that while “such was no doubt the intention of the draftsmen of this document…this restriction should not be expressed in the regulations”.( 76) In a similar frame of mind, Slaght expressed the view that the definition of a “war crime” as “a violation of the laws and usages of war” was too narrow, and that he would like to see added after the word “war” the words “and/or of the laws or usages of civilized humanity”. In offering this recommendation, Slaght added the comment that “objection may be taken that the addition of the suggested words are too broad. Frankly, I do not think so and I
believe public opinion would support a jurisdiction of the type that they involve”.( 77) The second draft of the regulations defined “war crime” as a

violation of the laws or usages of war, or a violation of the generally accepted principles of humanity, committed during any war in which Canada had been or may be engaged at any time after the 9th day of September, 1939. (78)

This view, however, did not prevail. In a note addressed by the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs to the Deputy Minister of Justice, the position taken throughout the war years was reiterated, that the Canadian government limit its involvement to matters which are of immediate concern to Canadians and avoid any provision for broader interpretation at a later date. In particular, it was agreed that the two references in the second draft to “the generally accepted principles of humanity” should be deleted, so as not to create new “war crimes ex post facto”.( 79)

By the summer of 1945 the War Crimes Advisory Committee had elaborated a ‘militarized’ war crimes plan for Canada which provided for joint action by Canadian and British authorities.

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The basic elements were that:. the war Crimes Section at CMHQ would list war criminals with the UNWCC; war criminals would be tried by Military Courts convened by the Canadian Commander in the area of British occupation in Germany in accordance with Canadian law; cases would be approved for trial by the Judge Advocate General or his Deputy in the U.K.; war Crimes Regulations (Canada) would be followed; sentences would be confirmed by the convening officer and would not be subject for review in Canada; only serious (death and injury) cases would be. listed; and “once the necessary policy decisions have been taken, the trials may proceed as and when ready ( as a U.K. jurisdiction), without further reference to Canada”.(80) This course was then recommended to the Cabinet (Privy Council meeting of August 29, 1945) by the Secretary of State for External
Affairs, noting the CWCAC recommendation

“that the activities of the Canadian authorities be concentrated upon war crimes involving death or grievous bodily harm to Canadian civilians or service personnel”. ( 81)

The plan for action by the Canadian government was already being implemented. During August 1945, the final details were ironed out for the promulgation of War Crimes Regulations by an Order-in-Council under the War Measures Act. Bruce Macdonald was meanwhile expressing grave concern at the delay in bringing Kurt Meyer to trial, indicating that others with accusations against him may act first and deprive Canadians of the occasion to try him after having made all the preparations for the case. (82) A “progress report” prepared by No. 1. Canadian War Crimes Investigative Unit on the directions which the Unit was to take over–.,the next year indicated its reliance on British and American organizations, which “have, where convenient, made investigations for us”.(83) The Kurt Meyer case was reported to be ready for trial, and other cases involving several
high-ranking officers — including a case against Wilhelm Mohnke,

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believed to be in Russian custody were judged promising. While it was felt that many perpetrators of crimes might have to go unpunished because of insufficient evidence, it was expected that progress would be made in the collection of evidence with the planned interrogation of German POWs in Canada and in the U.S. by a team from the investigation unit.

By October 1945, Hopkins prepared a Commons statement for the Minister of National Defense in which the preliminary proceedings against Meyer were announced. Meyer, now in Canadian custody, was charged on seven accounts for the murder of Canadian POWs. Bruce Macdonald was appointed Chief prosecutor for the trial. Meyer was convicted by a Canadian Military Tribunal in Aurich, Germany, on December 28, 1945, of having committed war crimes, and held responsible for failure to take adequate measures to prevent the 1944 shooting of 18 Canadian POWs. The court’s death sentence was soon reduced to imprisonment for life on the grounds that although responsible for the killings, he did not directly order them. He was transferred to Canada and held at Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick until October 1951 when he was transferred to a prison in the British zone of Germany. With the consent of Canadian authorities, the British further reduced his sentence.(84) By the mid fifties he was a free man, and, apparently, an unrepentant Nazi, actively organizing SS veteran groups until he died in 1961.

The fact that the Canadian government needed initial goading from the U.K. and considerable pressure from public opinion at home to sustain its involvement in the Meyer case, and that it readily withdrew from the case when circumstances permitted -and public interest in the case declined reflects the faint-heartedness which prevailed from the start in dealing with war criminals, even where the victims were Canadians. At the very same time as Meyer was convicted, in December 1945, it was

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also decided, upon recommendation from Massey in London and Defense officials in Ottawa, that the Canadian War Crimes Investigation Unit be disbanded by May 1, 1946, even though eighty-one cases were still being investigated.(85) The reason given was that a number of officers in the CWCIU were anxious to be repatriated and that it was difficult to find suitable replacements. The CWCAC, somewhat reluctant to see an arbitrary disbandment of the Unit, recommended that its activities be maintained at full efficiency at least until March 1946, that the more minor cases be abandoned,· and that the situation be reviewed in April, one month prior to the scheduled disbandment.(86)

About a month before the No. 1 Canadian war Crimes Investigation Unit was disbanded, Bruce Macdonald, reporting on the 171 cases investigated by the unit, emphasized the difficulties involved in ·investigating war crimes: the fact that much of the information was in the possession of the enemy; the time lag between the offence and its discovery; the fact that potential witnesses, both allied and enemy, were themselves casualties; the ease with which perpetrators disappeared into the anonymous mass of millions of POWs; and the need to persist in scrupulous fairness following “British standards of justice”. Macdonald observed that it was only now (March 1946) that the system of investigations and checks was beginning “to realize the fruits of the earlier work”, but owing to withdrawal of the Canadian Forces it would no longer be possible to bring war criminals to trial in a Canadian Military Court overseas, making necessary the transfer of cases to analogous British organizations. Still outstanding were fifty-three incomplete investigations, including nineteen allegations against the 12th SS Panzer Division, and nineteen allegations of atrocities committed ·against RCAF POWs. Macdonald noted that several cases were very nearly ready for trial, and the alleged perpetrators in

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At the time of CWCLU Report, only four cases had been tried — those against Kurt Meyer; Jung and Schumacher, sentenced to death by shooting only a few days before the report was issued; Johann Neitz, who was tried at Aurich by an RCAF Military Court, found guilty for having shot and wounded an RCAF POW, and sentenced to life imprisonment; and against three other Germans awaiting trial for having shot and killed two Canadian airmen.

Canadian disengagement from war crimes matters, even for the limited responsibility of holding trials for persons who had committed crimes against Canadian military personnel, was already government policy in early 1946 as responsibility was progressively transferred to British authorities. In February 1946, the Minister of National Defence for Air suggested that

in order to avoid the dispatch of special RCAF personnel overseas to constitute courts for the trial of war criminals charged with offenses against RCAF personnel, RAF Courts should be used for this purpose. (88)

There was, however, some debate on this approach. The Judge Advocate General argued that cases where there was enough prima facie evidence of crimes against RCAF officers should be tried by courts consisting entirely of RCAF personnel. Hopkins writing to Heeney felt that despite some jurisdictional difficulties Canada should, in principle, wherever possible assume responsibility for the con_duct of its own war crimes trials. An important consideration for Hopkins was that press publicity in Canada then strongly supported Canadian trials. Nonetheless, it was reported to the Adjutant General on April 10, 1946 that “a message has been received from CMHQ requesting authority to wind up the war Crimes Unit at that headquarters and to turn over to the British for trial any cases involving Canadian interest which remain as yet untried” .(89) The argument presented was that under the War Crimes Regulations “the accused person must be within the limits

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of the command of the convening officer or under his control” and that it would not be desirable or expedient to retain a Canadian Force in the European Theatre for that sole purpose. The High Commissioner in London endorsed the recommendation of the Minister of National Defense for Air to disband the CWCIU as soon as possible by May 1, 1946 — with the words that “no purpose of substance is likely to be served by its continuance”.(90)

A consequence of the disbanding the Canadian War Crimes Investigation Unit at the CMHQ and the handing over to the British of remaining cases involving a Canadian interest was that a considerable number of cases were simply abandoned. Citing a March 28 overseas message, the Judge Advocate General pointed to the fact that “there will be at least 30 cases untried when it will be necessary to discontinue the RCAF court on April 15th by reason of the evacuation of Canadian Army from Germany”.(91)

Hopkins, who continued to entertain doubts with regard to the advisability of turning over Canadian war crimes “unfinished business” to another government for completion, went along with the policy endorsed by the High Commissioner in London, and, independently, by National Defense, which had not even consulted the CWCAC about winding up the War Crimes Unit in London by May 1, 1946. (92)

The Cabinet confirmed the policy of disengagement on April 15, concluding that the No. l War Crimes Investigation Unit at C.M.H.Q., London, would be disbanded on May l; that Canada would relinquish to the U.K. complete jurisdiction over cases of Canadian interest; that Canada should continue to be represented on the U.N. war Crimes Commission, until its dissolution; and that the Canadian representative retain the right to approve “listings” of those accused of war crimes against Canadians.

In keeping with these developments, Hopkins’ changed his stance. In a May 14 note attached to letters he had prepared for the acting Prime Minister’s signature, advising that the Office of the Honourary Counsel to the Canadian government in the matter of war crimes and the CWCAC were being dissolved, he commented that “it is in ‘fact a nuisance to have these offices in being” .(94)

After the closure of the CWCAC in Ottawa and the War Crimes Unit in London, UNWCC lists forwarded from the Canadian High Commission in London to External Affairs were being directed to the Judge Advocate General and the Adjutant General’s Branch for examination — whereupon they were simply compared to lists of POWs still in Canada or returned to the U.K. On September 9, 1946, the Secretary of State for External Affairs asserted to the High Commission in London that “this is the most useful way in which these lists can be scrutinized here and it is not the practice to distribute them to any other Canadian authorities” — indicating that these lists were not distributed to Immigration or Visa Control officers.(95) Comparison of lists, in fact, showed by October 1, 1946, 98 Nazi Party members at large in Canada. The names of at least eleven POWs in Canada appeared on UNWCC lists in late 1946 and were brought to the attention of Canadian authorities. It is not clear from the documents examined that any action was actually taken to apprehend or deport these individuals.(96)

There was even less inclination to consult UNWCC lists in cases involving non-Germans. Following strong demands from the Czech government in April 1946 that Canada refuse admission to Slovak adherents of the pro-Nazi Tiso regime who had succeeded

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in reaching Austria, Canadian officials deliberated over whether these people were in fact war criminals or political refugees and whether the given names should be checked against UNWCC lists. It was noted that the General Assembly of the United Nations had passed a resolution on January 13, 1946 (which the Canadian delegate supported) recommending that the member governments

take all necessary measures to cause the arrest of those war criminals who have been responsible for or who have taken a consenting part in.the above crimes, and to cause them to be sent back to the countries in which their abominable deeds were done.(97)

It was also pointed out, however that there were practical difficulties involved in consulting some II thirty bulky UNWCC lists”, and that in any case

there is no Canadian legislation at the moment for handing over either war criminals or political criminals. I do not think we should take any steps to alter the status quo in advance of necessity.(98)

Six months after the disbandment of the CWCIU in London, the British drafted proposals for changes in the conditions set out by Canadian officials for transfer to them of’ responsibility for war crimes cases. The changes were to the effect that drafts of proposed charges for crimes against Canadians would be submitted only for observation rather than for approval by Canadian authorities; and that after listing a case with the UNWCC, the U.K. would carry on with the trials, even over Canadian objection. In response, Hopkins saw no serious practical difficulties in acceding to the British demand for virtually, complete authority over Canadian war crimes cases now under British jurisdiction, conditions essentially accepted by

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the King Cabinet in May 1946.. By December 1946, representation with regard to war crimes cases by the Canadian Judge Advocate General in London was withdrawn.(99)

The United Nations War Crimes Commission was also in a state of flux. Pressure for its dismantlement mounted, but as noted by the Deputy Minister of National Defense to Lester Pearson, then the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs, on June 2, 1947, “the flow of cases in March 1947 had not decreased and were being handled at the rate of 60 per week…It is also reported that the Polish National Office had about 1000 cases to bring forward”.( 100) At the end of June 1947 the Commission listed 154 persons wanted by Canada. Nonetheless, despite-considerable “unfinished business” for the UNWCC, as well as for Canada, it was decided at a meeting of the UNWCC in London in October 1947 that the life of the Commission should be terminated by March 31, 1948.(101)

By September 1947, the Canadian machinery in place for communicating information about war crimes against Canadian personnel was quite fragmented. In -response to a report about a forthcoming publication of a new CROWCASS Consolidated Wanted List in October 1947, the official response from the Department of National Defence was that:

direct Canadian participation in the investigation and prosecution of War Crimes has been discontinued as of the 15th of this month. (August 1947) The balance of these duties is being assumed by the war Crimes Section of the British Army of the Rhine.(102)

The BAOR had virtually no interest in war crimes trials at this stage, and interest in war crimes at the international level was also drawing to a close. Reporting on the difficulties of the UNWCC, Norman Robertson, by then High Commissioner in London, described a bitter complaint by delegates from Poland

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(now Soviet-dominated) about western unwillingness to extradite war criminals: “they were particularly sour at General Clay, who declared that no further application for the extradition of war criminals would be received after November 1, 1947”. For this and other reasons, the High Commissioner felt that the imminent winding-up of activities of the·UNWCC in the coming spring, 1948, will be “to the good as the atmosphere has been poisoned lately· by the usual division between the East and the West which in no way helps the Commission in its work”.(103)

Winding up of ‘war crimes’ investigations, extraditions and trials

Investigations of crimes against British POWs began to dissipate very soon after the war. Many of the cases had occurred in camps which were now in the Russian zone, and the Russians continued to refuse British investigators into their area. The target of trying five hundred criminals, originally set for completion by April 30, 1946, was achieved finally in December of that year, though it still fell short of Shawcross’ original aim of five hundred cases rather than five hundred individual criminals. A Cabinet Minute of November 4, 1946 showed Ministers agreeing that Britain “should advocate a policy for discontinuing trials for war crimes.” It was nevertheless decided that investigation into war crimes against British POWs should conitinue until the end of 1947.(104)

CROWCASS had collapsed in May 1946 for administrative reasons, leaving over two hundred separate lists and sub-lists of war criminals in circulation. It was claimed that CROWCASS had been responsible for the discovery of 145 war criminals, but it is doubted that even half that number were found through the agency. Chronic food shortages in the winter of 1946-1947 and administrative problems resulted in the release of thousands of

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detainees, including two thousand interned concentration camp guards who had not been claimed by another country and against whom no evidence of a specific crime was adduced for trial by a German tribunal.

The record clearly indicates that the British Army on the Rhine {BAOR) had little heart for war crimes trials, and indeed, that there was a certain sympathy for German generals, which grew as antagonism towards the Russians increased. By mid-1947 the Commander of the BAOR was pleading for an end to the trials, and temporarily halted extraditions from the British zone. The Americans announced that extradition from the American zone would cease altogether after November 1, 1947 and the Judge Advocate General was ordered to end all war crimes trials py the end of the year — leaving some 700 murders of American airmen still uninvestigated. The war crimes program was hurriedly wound up and thousands of war crime suspects were set free without being tried even in cases where evidence against them was substantial. In an interview with Tom Bower in 1980, Colonel Clio E. Straight, in charge of American prosecutions of war, criminals, observed:

I was ambivalent whether we should carry on or quit. we had established the principle and to carry on and to try thousands would have been expensive. No special effort was made. There was no method, no discussion about handing cases or bodies over to the Germans. We just plain turned them loose.(105)

Expediency was the order of the day. A refugee in a D.P. camp recognized and denounced five former Latvian ss officers, allegedly responsible for atrocities in Warsaw and Riga, to the American Army Headquarters in June 1948. The reply was as follows:

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With the exception. of atrocities committed in concentration camps which were located in the US area of control or overrun by US troops, the war crimes activities of this headquarters do not entail prosecutions of criminals who committed offenses against the civilian population of other countries…we thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of this headquarters.(106)

Three German field marshals and one general against whom there was strong evidence that they had given orders for the mass execution of civilians and the murder of Russians prisoners of war were under arrest by the British. There was much public sympathy for the four generals and a great deal of indignation about bringing them to trial as late as the fall of 1947. Churchill’s -words in the Commons debate on the Government’s decision on whether to hold the trial reflected the new mood:

Retributive persecution is of all polices the most pernicious …Our policy should henceforth be to draw a sponge across the crimes and horrors of the past — hard as that my be -­ and look for the sake of all our salvation towards the future. There can be no revival of Europe without the active and loyal aid of all the German tribes…(107)

The trial was held in spite of considerable criticism. Von Manstein, a key figure was imprisoned in a fortress with his family and a secretary to help him write his memoirs. He was released in 1952, and soon became a consultant in the rebuilding of the German army.

A summary provided to the Deschenes Commission in September 1985 by the British Army Historical Branch notes that the key policy decisions in the U.K. with regard to the subj.ect of the cessation of prosecution of suspected war criminals were taken by the “Overseas Reconstruction Committee”. The ORC was a

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Cabinet Committee consisting of, among others, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary arid the Service Ministers. The ORC had agreed at a meeting on April 12, 1948 that no further trials of war criminals should be started after August 31, 1948, though trials started before that date would be completed, and the Foreign Office advised the Dominion governments of this decision in a telegram dated July 13, 1948. As a justification of the decision, the telegram commented that

punishment of war criminals is more a matter of discouraging future generations than of meeting out retribution to every guilty individual. Moreover in view• of future political developments in Germany envisaged by recent Tripartite talks, we are convinced that it is now necessary to dispose of the past as soon as possible.(108)

In August 1948, the Commonwealth Relations Office informed the war Office that the Dominion governments had replied agreeing, or at any rate not disagreeing, with British proposals. External Affairs’ response to the telegram “no comment”, is no surprise. The Canadian government for its part had already taken the decision as early as December 1945 to wind up by May 1946 investigations with regard to war crimes against Canadian personnel ( see pages 49 ff.). There was never any question of the Canadian government conducting or being involved in investigations regarding other war crimes or crimes against humanity perpetrated against people other than Canadians. The message contained in the 1948 telegram from the Foreign Office was very much in keeping with the main thrust of British and Canadian government policy over the previous two years, as discussed-above.

The impression one gains from the archival record is one of reluctance on the· part of the Allies, and of Britain in particular almost immediately after the war, to continue with war crimes trials. King was very much influenced by British

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attitudes in this matter. A.memorandum from the Canadian High Commission in London reporting to Louis St. Laurent on a speech by the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest· Bevin, brings together the principal factors which conditioned the mood and policy in Britain with regard to continuation of war crimes trials from 1945 on.{109). The memorandum deals with three issues:

Palestine, the policy of the Western Allies in Germany, and the much publicized trial of the German generals. With regard to the first issue, the Foreign Office was not anxious to elicit sympathy for the wartime suffering of the Jews and thereby invite public pressure to open Palestine to Jewish immigration. With regard to the policy of the Allies in Germany, the focus was primarily on the rehabilitation of the German economy and industry. With regard to the trial of the German generals — to whose headquarters the Einsatzkommandos from Eastern European regularly reported their activities and from whom they had received full cooperation in supplies, transport, manpower and intelligence — the Foreign Secretary was “rather unsuccessful in stilling the many voices of disapproval which have been raised against the government’s intention to bring to trial at this late date {1947) three aged German Field Marshals and one general.” (110) Commenting on the fact that many people suspected that the motive for holding the trials was pressure from the United States, the High Commissioner’s note continues: “indeed, the only aspect of this question which evoked approval was the statement that this would be the last trial to be conducted by a British Military Tribunal in Germany”.(111)

The Clemency Act passed in January 1951 by the US High Commissioner in Germany, John J. McCloy, resulted in the early liberation of the majority of the remaining accused. Typically, while the immediate post war trials did deal with crimes committed in Eastern Europe (i.e. the Einsatzgruppen Case, July 3, 1947 to April 10,

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1948 which detailed atrocities against Jews in the conquered eastern territories) — they were concerned with SS and Gestapo men, and not with non-German collaborators in the crimes.

Later war crimes trials in various countries

A number of countries occupied by the Nazis continued to conduct trials of Nazi war criminals and their collaborators. In accordance with extradition agreements several hundred Nazi war criminals were extradited to the legal authorities of the countries in which they committed crimes — though, to be sure, extradition activities were conditioned by Cold war considerations and continued only until 1950. A relatively large number of individuals were tried in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Trials were also held in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and France. A relatively substantial number of individuals were convicted and tried for war crimes in West Germany from the close of the war until 1952 during the denazification period. Though no reliable data is available, drastic measures were taken in the GDR in the immediate post-war years, with an estimated 150,000 people interned in former Nazi concentration camps which were not dissolved until 1950. After 1953, “denazification” came to an end in both West and East Germany. Many who might have been convicted and tried earlier were able to flee Germany to resettle elsewhere. After a period of inactivity, West German authorities resumed an interest in the issue of war crimes in 1958 with the establishment of the Central Agency of the Ministries of Justice of the States in Ludwigsburg, and with the famous Ulm trial held in 1958 against the members of the Einsatzkommando Tilsit, which operated in Lithuania. German courts were not bound by the Nuremberg precedent according to which membership in a Nazi organization was sufficient for a prima facie case — it first had to be proven that an individual defendant committed acts of murder or was an accomplice to these acts. The tendency in West Germany, particularly in the earlier years, was to exonerate

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criminals from severe punishment or to acquit them on the basis that they had committed these acts out of “an error of conscience”, or that they were acting under “superior orders”, or that for medical reasons they were unable to face the tensions of court proceedings.

The impact of the Eichmann trial in 1961 in reviving interest in the issue of Nazi war crimes and the Canadian government’s reaction to the trial are discussed in Chapter XI of this report.


While the trials served the important purpose of documenting the Nazi period, punishing the guilty seemed an overwhelming task. The majority of those involved in war crimes went unpunished, and either reintegrated into German economic and public life or resettled in other countries. The focus of the war crimes trials was on the leaders, the planners, or the commanders who directed the killing operations. It was more difficult to document the crimes and apprehend those lower down in the hierarchy, instrumental in carrying out the policy — those directly guilty of murder..

Many of the non-German collaborators in massive war crimes and crimes against humanity in the conquered territories — Croats, Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, etc., who participated in carrying out the policy to annihilate the Jews of Europe, to murder prisoners of war and local civilian populations — were not handed over to the Russians and were included in the masses of people to whom the Allies accorded the right not to be repatriated. They merged with the displaced persons and the resettlement movement, acquiring asylum in the United States, Latin America, Syria, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere. The pattern of entry into Canada of displaced persons and, possibly, war criminals is the subject of the next section.
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CHAPTER II: Displaced Persons and Refugees in Postwar Europe: The International Setting and its Impact on
the Canadian Immigration Experience


Canadian government policy with regard to displaced persons and refugees in the postwar period evolved in three stages. In the first, from 1945 to 1947, there were severe restrictions on immigration — excepting a few preferred groups, such as the British, American, Scandinavian and French continuing a policy in place since the 1930s. In the second stage, from 1947 to 1952, DPs and refugees were admitted under specific immigration schemes and programs, designed with caution and selectivity according to perceived economic needs and distinct ethnic preferences. In the third stage, from 1952 onwards, ‘displaced persons’ came to be treated along with other prospective immigrants, under general, more open immigration criteria.

For the first two periods in particular, the Canadian immigration story {described in Chapters III to XI) is embedded in the framework of the broader international setting regarding policies for resettlement and practices in processing, screening and actual relocation of DPs/refugees. Though there was very little immigration of DPs/refugees to Canada in the 1945 to 1947 period, Canada played a role — albeit a modest one — in the establishment of agencies mandated to provide relief and to assume responsibility for war refugees and displaced persons.

While to a certain extent Canada participated in and contributed to international relief efforts in order to promote action by international bodies and to avoid having to take refugees/DPs into Canada itself, the Canadian government was in


the process exposed to and conditioned by international pressures and deliberations on the DP/refugee issue, particularly those relating to the intensifying Cold war and to British policy regarding Palestine. Canada came to be directly affected in other, more lasting ways. The agreements negotiated by the various governments and the criteria established for the processing and screening of refugees by the earlier international agencies — the Intergovernmental Committee for Refugees (IGCR), the Displaced Persons Section of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) were inherited by the International Refugee Organization ( IRO), which in the course of its career, from July 1947 to March 1952, played an important role in the movement of 124,000 DPs/refugees to Canada.

The section which follows provides a sketch of the international refugee agencies, their mandates, experience and legacy, with particular emphasis on Canada’s participation in the establishment and work of these agencies and the impact which they had on the Canadian DPs/refugee immigration experience.

Who were the Refugees/Displaced Persons?

In addition to the millions of Europeans who perished in the course of world War II, some thirty million were uprooted as a result of the war. Of these some seven million displaced persons found themselves at war’s end in the territories occupied by the Allied armies. These displaced persons included a very wide range of individuals: liberated slave labourers, who had been brought by the German army from across Europe to work on farms and in factories in Germany; Eastern Europeans who had volunteered in the early 1940s to help with the German war effort, and who fled westward before the advancing Russian army, preferring their chances in the West to those they would face in

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Eastern Europe; ethnic Germans ( Volksdeutsche) who either had joined the Reich voluntarily, or had been incorporated into it by force in accordance with Nazi government resettlement policies during the war, and later fled the Russian advance or were vengefully expelled from Eastern European territories, in keeping wit the Potsdam Agreement of August 1945; former concentration camp guards, and surviving concentration camp inmates; both German and Russian POWs; Nazi collaborators and resistance sympathizers; dislocated family groups; shell-shocked wanderers; clusters of political dissidents from various countries; evacuees and civilian expellees; and other Eastern Europeans who refused to return to live under Communist regimes in their countries of origin.(l)

The Allied military attempted a classification of the masses of displaced persons, and came up with a crude but temporarily useful distinction between “refugees” — civilians in their own countries, uprooted by war, and “displaced persons,” commonly referred to as DPs — people outside their countries of domicile, many of whom had been expelled from their countries by the Nazis and who required either repatriation or, as soon became obvious, resettlement in other countries.

In time, the terms ‘displaced persons’ and ‘refugees’ were used interchangeably, and new classifications of DPs/refugees emerged, along with assignment of responsibility for them. The most numerous group consisted of civilian victims of the war and its aftermath. Care and maintenance for this group, and of a second group, civilian or alien internees, was the responsibility of the governments of Western Europe or of internati.6nal agencies. A third group consisted of enemy prisoners of war these remained under the jurisdiction of Allied military officials. A fourth group consisted of some

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850,000 prewar refugees and the demobilized “Free” Polish forces who continued to be the responsibility of the IGCR. (2)

The course adopted with regard to screening of persons in each of these groups in order to determine their status and eligibility for resettlement in other countries, and the results obtained, was a function of who took responsibility for them immediately after the war — a matter which bears directly on the question of whether there were war criminals and Nazi collaborators amongst the DPs (treated below at pages 86-102).

International action on behalf of refugees and displaced persons in postwar Europe, and Canada’s participation

By 1943, the problem of finding sanctuary for European refugees was becoming acute. The British government, fearing a flood of Jewish refugees to Palestine, urged the Allied governments to either admit refugees or to contribute financially toward action on their behalf. The initial preference of the American government–shared by the Canadian government as well -·­ was to provide financial assistance rather than to admit refugees. Agencies in place through which action could be taken included the following:

The Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (IGCR): The IGCR, established in 1938, was the agency expected to deal with the problem of refugees and displaced persons during the early years of the war. By 1943, it became obvious to the participating Western countries, including Canada, that the IGCR was inadequate to deal with the growing refugee problem. When British and American representatives met in Bermuda in April 1943, they agreed that the mandate of the IGCR be broadened, that its finances be increased, and that membership of the Executive Committee be reorganized so as to expedite the repatriation of

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refugees. As a result, the IGCR Executive Committee, meeting in London in August, 1943, agreed to include in its mandate persons who became refugees during the war, in addition to those who fled in the prewar years, _and to invite a number of governments who had not previously been members to join and contribute financially. Britain and the U.S., however, were to continue to bear the principal financial responsibility, and to dominate the policies of the agency.

With a relatively small staff, the IGCR undertook to provide temporary housing for refugees. The record of the IGCR is one of ineffectiveness, and in its preoccupation with repatriation it lacked vision with regard to the need for resettlement of refugees. Norman Robertson, then with the Canadian High Commission in London, criticized the IGCR’s functions as “too narrowly drawn”. It was his view that

the statement of functions should include attempting to arrange with governments the temporary or permanent resettlement of Displaced Persons. This is going to be the vital question after the war and should be explicitly set forth.( 3)

This represented a new note in Canadian considerations of the refugee issue, and was a source of concern for some government officials in Ottawa, apprehensive that Canada would be looked upon as a prime land for resettlement of DPs and refugees. The IGCR, however, soon became an empty shell and was eventually dissolved in 1946-47.

SHAEF and UNRRA: To deal with the problem of the masses of DPs/refugees in the zones of battle and in areas controlled by Allied military forces, the Allied governments had established a Refugee Section attached to Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe (SHAEF). The Refugee section which was expanded in May 1944 and renamed the Displaced

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Persons Section (DPX)’, functioning as a separate branch of the American army. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), which had been established on November 29, 1943 by 44 allied governments in Washington to provide food, maintenance and relief to the millions of people displaced by the war in Europe, functioned alongside SHAEF’s DPX as an administrative and subordinate branch of the military. The goal of both SHAEF’s DPX and UNRRA was to provide immediate relief to the homeless, while planning large-scale repatriation of the displaced. to their lands of origin. In November 1944, SHAEF and UNRRA signed an agreement by which UNRRA was placed squarely under military patronage. The army (SHAEF) was to provide food, shelter, clothing, and medical supplies, and law, order and security, to the assembly centres housing the displaced persons. UNRRA’s tasks included administration of the camps, provision of supplementary supplies, recreational facilities, and health and welfare and vocational programs.

Unlike the IGCR, UNRRA soon established extensive facilities and an elaborate administrative network to care for and repatriate the DPs/refugees. In June 1945, 300 special UNRRA teams throughout non-Soviet controlled areas of Europe were locating, processing, and screening displaced persons and referring them to camps operated by UNRRA from which they were to be repatriated.

Separate camps were established for Poles, soviet nationals, Balts, Czechs, Yugoslavs and Italians. Ukrainians were categorized as Soviet citizens, citizens of other countries, or stateless persons. The DPs were often utilized as interpreters and to staff various administrative positions in these camps — practices which had some bearing on the relaying of information about the DPs to Allied authorities, including denunciations along ethnic lines (e.g. Poles vs. Ukrainians), but

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also permitting possible sheltering of war criminals and collaborators in the DP camps.

Repatriation: In accordance with the Yalta Agreement of February 1945, whereby the Western governments agreed with the Soviets to repatriate each other’s citizens at the conclusion of the war, some six million people were assisted in returning to their homes, primarily in western Europe, between May and September 1945. The repatriation activities, however, slowed down as it became apparent that many displaced persons of Soviet and Eastern European origin were reluctant to return to their homes a reality which the Allied governments and UNRRA officials were somewhat slow in recognizing·. Some 2.75 million Soviet nationals, including some who were only nominally so were handed back to the Russians over a four month period, many returned against their will. Those who refused to be repatriated to the Soviet Union included people ·who for various reasons were opposed to the Soviet system; people who had volunteered for service in .the Third Reich or who had fought alongside the Germans against the Russians, including, for example, the members of Vlassov’ s anti-Soviet army; the Cossacks mobilized by the Wehrmacht, some 30,000 of whom surrendered to the British in Italy; and the members of the Galician Waffen-SS Division, some 8000 of whom also surrendered to the British. The British and, to a lesser extent and more reluctantly, the Americans engaged in forcible repatriation of Soviet refugees in response to Soviet demands.(4 )

With growing protest against forcible repatriation to the Soviet Union and news of the fate which awaited the deportees, the Americans announced a shift in policy, limiting forcible transfers to Soviet soldiers and well-known collaborators. The British, after some hesitation, adopted the same policy, leaving in the West a variety of persons, including

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an undetermined number of Nazi collaborators. Many Balts, Poles and Ukrainians were saved from repatriation to the Soviet Union by the proviso in the Yalta Agreement that the term “Soviet citizens” was to refer to those who were soviet nationals at the outbreak of the war in 1939, thus excluding those Balts, Poles and Ukrainians originating in regions absorbed by the Soviet Union in 1939 and 1940. There was thus provision for the non-repatriation of persons who may well have feared not only an oppressive Communist regime, but also retribution for having collaborated with the Germans.

When SHAEF wound up its operations in July 1945, the British, French, and American occupying authorities took over responsibilities for the DP centres in their respective zones of occupation. After a few months of· joint jurisdiction under the three Western powers, and UNRRA and the IGCR, displaced persons became, as of October 1945, the responsibility of the commanding generals in each of the occupied zones except for the DP centres in Italy which remained under joint Allied jurisdiction. By early 1946, after three-quarters of European displaced persons had been repatriated, UNRRA took responsibility for the approximately one million remaining DPs — most of whom were in Germany — by running the DP camps, coordinating the activities of voluntary agencies, and establishing an International Tracing Bureau. With a staff of 5,200 persons representing thirty-three nationalities, UNRRA carried out its activities with a budget covered 75 per cent by American funds and almost 25 per cent by British funds, thus being conditioned by American and British interests and perceptions in handling the DP/refugee problem.

The record of UNRRA, however, was one of confused and inadequate policy, poor administration, incompetent personnel, and and corruption. Investigations indicated lavish expenditure involvement by UNRRA staff in black market trading and


profiteering. ( 5) These and other failings affected the screening of DPs ( as discussed below), and led to the according of DP status to persons of questionable eligibility for UNRRA assistance and, later, for IRO resettlement programs.

The vacuum created by UNRRA incompetence was filled by the American army, without much improvement for the lot of the displaced persons. The army imposed rigid discipline in the camps, and as General George Patton advised, the DPs were to be treated as prisoners and put behind barbed wire. If not, he said, “they would not stay in the camps, would spread over the country like locusts, and would eventually have to be rounded up after quite a few of them had been shot and quite a few Germans murdered and pillaged.” ( 6) Stories circulated about a distinct lack of empathy with Jewish concentration camp victims regarded as a rather strange breed, and about instances of favoured treatment of former Nazis and collaborators, particularly those of Baltic origin.(7)

Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Morgan, who headed UNRRA’s German operations, was very critical of the organization, which he referred to as “that adventitious assembly of silver-tongued ineffectual, professional do-gooders, crooks and crackpots” ( 8). At the same time, he was very unsympathetic towards Jewish refugees who “infiltrated” into the Allied zones following the pogroms they encountered upon their return to Poland after the war, alluding to the ‘dark political purposes’ of the Zionists behind that migration. ( 9) Fiorello La Guardia, the former mayor of New York who became head of UNRRA in March 1946, was intent on eliminating corruption and inefficiency in the organization and on resettling the remaining refugees. An ernmissary, whom he had sent to survey UNRRA’ s operations in Germany, upon his return denounced the role and approach of the

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military authorities and the incompetence of UNRRA’s leadership and its apparent coddling of former Nazis and their collaborators.(10)

Between the autumn of 1945 and June 1947, when UNRRA ceased operations, more than one million DPs were repatriated. But nearly 650,000
UNRRA-supported refugees, virtually all of them Eastern Europeans, remained in the camps. Of these refugees, there were nearly 200,000 non-Jewish Poles, 150,000 Balts, and close to 110,000 UKrainians. Nearly 170,000 Jews came under UNRRA protection — many of whom expressed the desire to go to Palestine. An additional 300,000 DPs chose to live outside the assembly centres. (See Table 1 below for breakdown of the DPs/refugees by origins and locations as DPs under UNRRA)

In terms of numbers, the Poles were the largest national grouping represented among the displaced persons. Many Poles did not want to return to Poland, whether because of reports about terrible conditions under the Soviet-dominated regime in Poland, or for other reasons.

Ukrainians constituted the second major group. Since the American military authorities had refused to recognize them as a separate nationality, they were classified as Russians, Poles, Czechs, Roumanians or “Stateless”, depending on their place of birth or residence on September 1, 1939, or their personal wishes. The vast majority refused to be repatriated, fearing oppression under Soviet rule. A number of Ukrainians had voluntarily contributed to the German war effort by fighting alongside the Germans against the Russians, or by participating in militia or police units engaged in the Nazi campaign of mass murder of Jews. Such individuals would have had much incentive to change their

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names and identities and. to avoid repatriation to Soviet-dominated lands after the war. It should be noted, however, that very large numbers of residents of pre-1939 USSR territories took on false identities simply to avoid repatriation.

There were 150,000 to 200,000 Balts {Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians) amongst the displaced persons in the camps. Of these many had left for Germany voluntarily during the war or fled before the advance of the Russian armies in 1944. In 1940, the Russians had brutally deported more that sixty thousand persons from the Baltic states to the East, and when the Germans occupied the Baltic states in 1941, the Balts welcomed them. Many Balts, particularly those of German descent, had acquired German citizenship in the earlier war years: some had been sympathetic to Hitler and his policies. Many had either been conscripted or volunteered to serve in Waffen-SS units during the course of the war. A number would have directly participated in the murder of Jews in the Baltic countries and elsewhere.

The western-dominated international refugee agencies and western countries of resettlement accommodated the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians as nationalities oppressed by the Soviets — to the extent of relaxing and, at times, completely bypassing security screening for war criminal background, in order not to place themselves in the situation of having to extradite these individuals to the Soviet zones.
{Discussed in Chapter I, Part 2 above and at page 88 below).

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Of the approximately 40,000 Yugoslavs in UNRRA camps in early 1947, most refused repatriation. These would have included Croatian Ustashi who had murdered Jews and Serbs during the war, Serbian Chetnicks who had been friendly with the German occupiers, as well as persons simply reluctant to live under a Communist regime.

UNRRA’s principal policy dilemma was that its mandate focussed on repatriation, precluding resettlement activities-; while a large number of the DPs under its jurisdiction refused repatriation. The result was frequent confrontations between UNRRA officials from the democracies who advocated international assistance to all dislocated peop:t.e, allowing them the choice_ between repatriation or resettlement elsewhere, and Soviet representatives on UNRRA’s General Council who continued to maintain that international assistance should be extended only to those of their nationals who desired to be repatriated and to contribute to the work of postwar reconstruction; and that those rejecting their homelands must be suspected of holding pro-Nazi sympathies and ought to be forcibly returned to face justice.

Internal factionalism and the lack of a mandate to deal with resettlement prevented UNRRA from –being in a position to resolve the dilemma of non-repatriable refugees. UNRRA was disbanded on June 30, leaving some 1.1 million refugees as the responsibility of a new refugee organization, the International Refugee Organization.

The International Refugee Organization (IRO), 1947-1952

Its establishment and constitution: The I.R.O. emerged after considerable and heated debates at the· U.N. about the destiny of the remaining one million DPs who could not O be repatriated. In early 1946, when the first session of the United

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Nations General Assembly met in Paris, more time was devoted to the discussion of the refugee situation in Europe than to any other question except that involving international security. (11) British representatives to the IGCR and the U.N. were particularly keen to involve the U.N., possibly with the view of diffusing responsibility for refugees who needed resettlement and widening the possibilities for resettlement throughout the world, so as to weaken the Zionist case against British restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine, a dominant concern of the-U.K. at that time.

After a year of debate of the refugee issue, in U.N.G.A.’s Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Questions and in the Economic Social Council {ECOSOC), the General Assembly approved the I.R.O. constitution and its budget on December 15, 1946. The interim organization the Preparatory Commission of the I.R.O. {PCIRO) — was created. The agency was to begin to function when fifteen states, contributing at least 75% of the budget, became signatories to the constitution. This occurred in July 1947.

As was the case with UNRRA, the debate on the establishment of the I.R.O. took on a Cold War coloration, as the states of origin of the majority of the displaced persons the Soviet Union and five East European states–presented opposing views to those presented by the states. of temporary or permanent asylum — the U.S., Britain and other Western States. Both camps held firmly to their respective views of what the role of the international community should be. As before, the Soviet camp presented, the view that persons unwilling to return to their homelands, would perpetuate the displaced persons problem and that any approach other than repatriation would lend assistance to war criminals and traitors fearful of returning home. The soviet demand for return of their nationals certainly reflected a

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reluctance to see enemies of the Soviet regime resettled in the West, but it was also, at the same time, motivated to a certain extent by the determination to punish those who collaborated with the Nazi enemy and who participated in the murder of civilians. Western delegates, while careful to avoid a break with Moscow on the issue, continued to promote the establishment of an international agency to repatriate those refugees· wanting to return to their homelands, while allowing those who wanted to resettle in other lands the option to do so. They therefore linked the refugee problem to the U.N. charter provisions relating to human rights, in particular to the notion of asylum.

Defining who would qualify for assistance from the proposed international refugee agency presented another difficult issue. The Soviet Union and its supporters opposed any definition likely to give refugee status to their nationals in the displaced persons camps, or to people they regarded as ‘political enemies’. Western delegates strongly supported the view that the proposed refugee agency should have responsibility over nationals of any state who needed political asylum, including dissident and anti-Communist elements. All agreed, however, that relief assistance and legal protection should not be· extended to war criminals, quislings, traitors and Volksdeutsche, or to Allied citizens suspected of having collaborated with former enemy governments. (12)

In the course of eighteen meetings of the Third Committee of the General Assembly, at which the refugee issue was discussed, the Soviet Union and its supporter states reiterated their arguments. Eventually the Soviets withdrew their participation, leaving the I.R.O. to become an instrument of the Western governments and with resettlement as its primary mandate.(l3)

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The I.R.O.’s constitution considered as “refugees” the uprooted victims of the Nazi and Fascist regimes ( including as eligible refugees, Spanish Republicans and other prewar exiles); among these were also persons unable or unwilling to return home “as a result of events subsequent to the outbreak of the Second World War”. “Displaced persons” were deportees and forced laborers, similarly victims of the Axis powers. Grounds for refusal of repatriation were built into the I.R.O. constitution: Refusal to-return home could be based on “persecution because of race, religion, nationality or political opinion, providing that these opinions are not in conflict with the principles of the United Nations.” Even more broadly, the I.R.O. would permit “objections of a political nature judged by the organization to be valid.” ( l4)

Canada’s role: Canada’s position on the refugee issue favoured referral of the refugee issue to ECOSOC, rather than immediate endorsement of a specialized agency to actually begin the international cooperative work, even though the urgency of the situation was noted, in that both UNRRA and the IGCR were scheduled to terminate operations within a year.(15) This approach was in line with the Canadian government’s preference to have the issue dealt with on an international level, at no great rush and with• as wide participation by other countries as possible.

When the question of refugee repatriation and resettlement was referred to ECOSOC in February 1946, a special committee of 20 members, including Canada, was struck to present a plan of action with regard to the refugee question. It was debated whether the structure of the proposed international agency should be an autonomous specialized agency or a more dependent agency under the U.N. General Assembly. The U.S. led those governments favouring the specialized agency format,

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arguing that this would allow for greater freedom from governmental and political control. Canada, stressing budgetary considerations, favoured an agency within the United Nations. The Canadian delegate, Senator J.E. Turgeon, was made chairman of a sub-committee whose task it was to draw up· a budget for the proposed organization.(l6) The underlying message of Canadian pronouncements, in keeping with Canada’s still restrictionist immigration policy at the time, was that Canada could assist in. solving the- refugee situation in ways other than by admitting displaced persons — that is, by making financial contribution.

The position of the Canadian government with regard to the establishment of the I.R.O. was best summed up in a communication from External Affairs to the Canadian High Commissioner in London: “In our opinion, the problem of refugees is an international one and should therefore be dealt with on a wide, international basis with a participation of as many countries as possible.” (17) Though delegating responsibility for refugees and displaced persons to the international arena, and not making any immediate concrete commitments other than the provision of funds, the participation of. Canada in the establishment of the I.R.O. inevitably led to an awareness of the probable responsibilities which Canada would have to assume with regard to eventually accepting refugees for resettlement in Canada.

Functioning and accomplishments of the I.R.O.: The PCIRO began to function on July 1, 1947, after taking over some 600 DP camps and 1,600 personnel from UNRRA and 300 staff members from the IGCR. The first administrative task was to register, identify and repatriate as many displaced persons as possible. The total number of persons for whom the PCIRO had responsibility on July 1, 1947 was 1,037,404 — some 850,000 in Germany, 148,000

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in Austria, and the remainder, in Italy. Tables 2, 3 and 4 below provide a breakdown of the DP/refugees by origins and locations as DPs under the I.R.O. About 80% of the DPs {or 796,000) in some six hundred camps: the remainder lived among the general populations in the host countries. DPs from Eastern Europe comprised the vast majority of the DP population, almost 98% of whom refused to go back to their lands of origin. Location inside or outside the camps, or whether in the American; British or French zones, often determined the type of screening procedures administered prior to resettlement.

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Table I: Displaced Persons in Germany, Austria, and Italy, 31 December 1946 (18)

in Germany
in Austria
in Italy
in and out of camp

II. Displaced persons in and out of camp
About 8 out of every 10 displaced persons lived in camps (300 alone in the US zone).

In Camps
Out of Camps
US Zone
UK Zone
French Zone


In Camps
Out of Camps
US Zone
UK Zone
French Zone



Not allocated by zones: 38,766 (13,591 in army camps including 3,000 estimated Royal Yugoslavs employed by British army; 25,175 in UNRRA camps exclusively UNRRA responsibility).

III. Ethnic origin of DPs/refugees in camps of all three countries.

Western European
Other, incl. stateless

Table 2: PCIRO figures for August 1947 for displaced persons inside and outside the DP camps in Germany and Austria (19)

US Zone
British Zone
French Zone

Table 3: Displaced persons in Germany, according to country of citizenship or ethnic group and zone, August 1947 (20)

Country of citizenship or ethnic group












All Other



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Table 4: Displaced persons in Austria according to country of citizenship or ethnic group and zone, August 1947 (21)

Religious affiliation and ethnic origin were factors of great importance in the resettlement process since church groups and ethnic agencies played an active role in the resettlement of DPs/refugees in the U.S. Canada and elsewhere. According to I.R.O. statistics on about 545,000 DPs receiving assistance from the agency on September 30, 1948, 35 per cent of DPs were Roman Catholic; 20 per cent, Jewish; 14.5 per cent Protestant; 14 per cent, Greek Orthodox; 7.5 per cent,Greek Catholic; 7.5 per cent, not reported; and 1.5 per cent, other.

The figures in the above tables do not include those displaced persons not then receiving assistance from the I.R.O., though eligible (an estimated at 300,000 to 400,000), nor those declared ineligible — the Volksdeutsche in particular — who were being assisted by voluntary agencies and church groups based in North and South America, such as the Canadian ‘Counci.l of Churches for Resettlement of Refugees (CCCRR) and its various affiliates (see pages 157-165 below).


Table· 5a (22)

Table 5b (22)

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The I.R.O. developed three immigration schemes with the potential lands of resettlement, including Canada: government selection schemes; personal sponsorship arrangements through close relatives in the lands of resettlement; and selection according to special skills by employers in the lands of resettlement, usually under government supervision. Canada implemented all three schemes in its peak period of immigration of DPs/refugees from mid 1947 to 1951 ( as described at pages I44-16r-below).

Table 5 provides a breakdown of the I.R.O.’ s accomplishments in resettlement of refugees, by number and receiving country. The I.R.O. established special processing and staging camps in which government representatives, employers, and representatives of international voluntary associations in a position to sponsor refugees were provided with facilities to screen, register and medically examine thousands of displaced persons seeking resettlement. The various screening procedures and the I.R.0.’s role in the processing of prospective immigrants are described below at pages 91-98. To overcome the problem of lack of transportation the I.R.O. organized a shipping fleet of its own through long-term charters, which, for financial reasons, had to be filled to capacity for each voyage.

These various pressures — Cold War, political, social, administrative, and financial to resettle anq move DPs/refugees quickly had a very significant impact on the screening of individuals. This is discussed in greater detail below and in further chapters.

In Summary: The I.R.O. functioned first as a preparat ry commission, between July 1947 and July 1948, and then as a spec’ialized agency of the United Nations, between July 1948 and March 1952. Established as a temporary specialized agency of the United Nations, the I.R.O. was scheduled to terminate its functions in June 1950. However, in April 1949, the mandate of

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The I.R.O. was extended· by a year to allow for further resettlement possibilities flowing from the new U.S. Displaced Persons Program. In the course of these years the I.R.O. handled approximately 1,700,000 individuals, of whom some 124,000 were resettled in Canada (see Table 5 above).

Screening by the Military, UNRRA and the I.R.O.

The allegations that considerable numbers of war criminals and collaborators merged with the general population of displaced persons and refugees in the camps were numerous and emanated from diverse sources. As mentioned above, the earliest and most persistent came from the Soviets who in their drive to repatriate their nationals claimed that all those who refused repatriation were war criminals and traitors. From 1945 onwards there were also a considerable number of reports from American military personnel, touring Congressmen, relief workers, and journalists, to the effect that the perpetrators of war crimes were sheltering among the DPs. An army report of August 4, 1945, noted that some 200,000 DPs had applied for German citizenship before the war had ended. (23) After inspecting UNRRA DP camps, Ira Hirschmann recorded in his report the frustration of camp officials at seeing Jewish survivors of Nazi terror lumped together with “collaborationists of every hue who populate DP camps throughout Germany, Austria and Italy”.( 24) Reporting from a camp populated by Baltic DPs in October 1945, Drew Middleton of the New York Times reported that “many thousands of former allies of Germany are being well fed and housed” by the American military in camps for collaborators”. An official army investigation a few months later confirmed Middleton’s allegations: “in two camps containing Baltic nationals at Mainfranken, a majority of those investigated were found to consist of voluntary pro-Nazi exiles.”25)

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Abraham Duker’ s submission to the American Congress during the debates preceding the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 sought to raise public awareness of the fact that “amongst the many bona fide displaced persons in European camps were a considerable number of Nazi collaborators — individuals who had voluntarily served in the German armies”.(26)

Memoirs of survivors include accounts of recognition of murderers or camp guards in the DP camps, and of the absence of follow-up after reporting such incidents to camp authorities. The lists compiled by the war Crimes Section of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in Germany, which functioned between December 1946 to December 1949, included names of alleged perpetrators of crimes denounced by surviving victims. According to Joseph Riwash, who headed the above-mentioned war crimes investigation office, it was extremely difficult to arrest these individuals given that “the management of the camps which was in the hands of the same nationals as those who were sought, refused to cooperate…”(27)

Ethel Ostry, a Canadian who worked at the Gauting Sanatorium which housed DPs under UNRRA care, recorded in her diaries the laxity of screening procedures with regard to Nazis and Nazi collaborators.

The DP patients who were aware among themselves which. ones were collaborators, regarded with ironic humour the laxity of the screening process. But the result was no joke. Groups of patients who were known as hardened Nazis were confirmed in their DP status and took advantage of having passed the test to harass and even…steal from other patients. They were arrested by the DP police in the sanatorium. The DP police· asked the military authorities to deal with them on the ground that they were a threat to security in the sanatorium as well as undesirable politically, but the military would take no action.(28)

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At one point she was told by an American Lieutenant in charge of interviewing DPs that people of Russian origin (Ukrainians, Byelorussians, etc.) were seldom screened out, because then they would immediately be sent to the Soviet border for repatriation, where “they’ll be shot as soon as we leave them. It’s just a waste of fuel to transport them to the border. So I hardly ever screen out any Russians.” The term “Russians” included Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Balts. This sudden cessation of screening of DPs of Eastern European origin was reported in January 1947 the New York Herald Tribune as follows:

Political cross-examination by certain UNRRA teams of anti-Soviet Polish and Baltic displaced persons, possibly designed to elicit information valuable to Warsaw and Moscow, has been called off at the request of United States Forces, European Theatre Headquarters, a G-5 spokesman disclosed.(29)

Ostry’s diaries then describe the Gauting Sanatorium under I.R.O. jurisdiction in June 1947, when Canadian immigration teams came to recruit labourers for various industries. It was her observation that the political screening which this team undertook

concerned itself little with the fascist activities and opinions of the DP’s but laid emphasis on the strength of their anti-Soviet sentiments. I·was shocked to find that one of the women working in Gauting Sanatorium, well known for her past Nazi activities, who had been screeneq. out as a collaborator by the American military team and lost her DP status, but remained employed under the status of German personnel, was accepted for resettlement in Canada. As required, she signed a contract to work as a domestic at the rate of $35 a month for a year, at the end of which time she could if she chose enter other employment. I pointed out to the Canadian immigration representative the fact that the woman had been deprived of her DP status and asked how she could be considered eligible for resettlement in Canada. In spite


of this, the woman gaily announced to me a few days later that she was about to leave for Canada.(30)

In contrast, Ostry records the case of a young Jewish man who applied to go to Canada as a lumber worker, was accepted, but then had·to wait for a long time for word as to what ship he was to take. He then went to the Canadian Immigration Headquarters in Munich to make inquiries, whereupon the head of the Canadian team told him frankly that “his instructions were to countermand the selection of Jews as lumber workers in Canada”.(31) The role of ethnic preference in determining who came to Canada under the specialized immigration programs is discussed below ( at pages 120-135).

A Jewish DP of Lithuanian origin, admitted to work in a Canadian lumber camp, wrote in May 1948, to a friend, Ada Siegel, involved in work on behalf of Jewish DPs in the U.S. about his experiences:

It is quite true that among the new immigrants there is certainly a large percentage of former Hitler· agents. I myself have recognized a Lithuanian who used to be a German agent in my own hometown, Vilno. They used to be called Khapens and their job was to go from house to house and collect Jews, ostensibly for labor. In reality those Jews would be taken to the Lukishk Prison and from there to Fanar, some 8 kilometers outside Vilno where they were all shot down. And this Lithuanian was in my house too collecting all Jewish men for “labour”. I managed to escape in time.(32)

Mrs. Siegel sent this letter to Hugh Keenleyside, Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources, regarding which he responded:

It is also, I think, unfortunately true that some collaborators have slipped through our screening processes in Germany and we have even
heard of an occasional SS man who has succeeded in entering Canada this way.(33)


Most of these allegations were of a very general nature, and were not followed up for factual assessment of the extent of criminality or collaboration. They do point, however, to the strong likelihood that war criminals found their way to lands of resettlement in the flow of DP/refugee immigration. Together with the story of inadequate security screening procedures by Canadian officials, and irregularities in the processing and identification of DPs/refugees by the international organizations — described in the next sections -­ there can be little doubt that war criminals could have and are likely to have come to Canada in significant numbers in the postwar years.

UNRRA’s Screening Procedures:

While the bulk of DP immigration to Canada did not take place until the PCIRO/IRO period, the UNRRA camps were inherited by the PCIRO, and identification credentials provided to persons in the camps by the military and UNRRA continued to be valid under the PCIRO Is jurisdiction after July 194_7. UNRRA screening procedures were therefore of some importance to later immigration to Canada.

The official UNRRA and military eligibility criteria for displaced persons in the Western zone of· Germany for the period of July 1946 to July 1947 specifically declared the following categories as ineligible for both UNRRA and military assistance: war criminals, collaborators, quislings or traitors of whatever race, nationality, or religion; enemy or ex-enemy nationals (with the exception of persecutees) of Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Rumania; impostors; and Volksdeutsche or ethnic Germans, regardless of their former nationality (unless-persecutees), and ex-Wehrmacht personnel of non-German nationality or Stateless.(34)

While the category of war criminals, collaborators, quislings or traitors was considerably

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expanded by instructions issued to Military Intelligence Personnel charged with apprehending such persons, there was a considerable gap between guidelines and practice, as discussed below.-

UNRRA’s screening operations were confined to determining the eligibility of DPs for admission to an UNRRA camp. The- screening was done by the Care and Eligibility Department of UNRRA by means of a questionnaire which the DPs were to fill out, which became the basic document for determining their eligibility for UNRRA care and, in all likelihood, their inclusion in the I.R.O.’s mandate shortly afterwards. This was the first stage of.the screening of all DPs, except for Wehrmacht personnel, for whom there was a twofold process: persons, such as Balts who had served· in the German army, were given a discharge certificate by the Allied Military authorities before taking off their German uniforms. According to guidelines, the ex-Wehrmacht personnel were then screened again by the military authorities to determine their status on four counts: as collaborators, as war criminals, as volunteers for the German army, and as Volksdeutsche. If they receive a clean bill on all four accounts, they were given a certificate and then proceeded to fill out the questionnaire in the same manner as other DPs. An UNRRA Screening Panel then reviewed the questionnaires and divided the DPs into three groups: those clearly eligible for admission to DP camps; those clearly not eligible for· UNRRA care: and all the doubtful cases. The recommendations of the Regional Screening Board were then passed to the military government authorities who alone had power to cancel a person’s DP status.( 35 )

By July 1946, when the eligibility questionnaires were standardized, a number of persons found to be clearly ineligible began to be evicted from UNRRA centres. Evicted persons were made the responsibility of the German authorities, who then

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listed them for employment and issued them with ration cards. There is no indication of any routine practice to hand over persons evicted as war criminals or collaborators to authorities mandated to apprehend and prosecute them. There was general reluctance to apprehend suspected Eastern Europeans, whose repatriation to Soviet and Soviet-dominated countries would then be demanded. Suspect individuals amongst German and ethnic German refugees were transferred to the nearest German operated refugee camps, where various voluntary and church organizations actively arranged for relief and resettlement of the widest possible numbers, at times overlooking guidelines with regard to Nazi or war criminal background.(36)

In addition to unstated policies with regard to screening of Eastern Europeans, discussed above, there were other loopholes. There is no indication in the guidelines that persons other than ex-Wehrmacht personnel for example, persons who served in various militia and auxiliary police units were also subject to screening for collaboration or war criminal background.· Also, as described in Chapter I, Part 1 above, the military’s primary concern was to screen DPs for security purposes — that is, to weed out those who might pose a threat to the occupying authorities.. Moreover,·· tne combined factors of absence of documentation in most instances and the lack of adequate machinery to investigate war criminal background would have provided a considerable enough gap through which war criminals and collaborators could have infiltrated into the UNRRA DP camps, though strictly speaking, according to screening guidelines, such background, if known, should have made them ineligible for UNRRA assistance. There was the additional factor of ineptitude and corruption amongst UNRRA staff which would have aided those seeking to circumvent regulations. (37)

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The inadequacy of UNRRA screening during this period was underlined in the 1948 American Report of the Committee on the Judiciary on the subject of displaced persons in Europe.(41) The report recorded that UNRRA security officials interviewed were. in agreement that

the administrative facilities now available and the zonal restrictions make it difficult for a thorough investigation to be carried out. The statements made by the applicant in his written application, together with his oral statement, must be relied upon almost entirely.(38)

According to the same report, access to official records or witnesses in the Russian zone was precluded and the practice of false and fraudulent immigration documents was prevalent and on the increase:

American consular officers expressed alarm because of the wide-spread use of false and fraudulent documents in support of applications for visas. Testimony of consular officials was that an estimated forty per cent of applications for visas filed by displaced persons in Germany and Austria which were being processed were found to be fraudulent or supported by fradulent document .(39)

The false certificates of residence, for example, which were meant to establish eligibility on the grounds of presence in the American zones prior to President Truman Is directive date of December 22, 1945, had been supplied, ft was discovered, by camp leaders who in many instances were of the same ethnic origin as the DPs on whose behalf they acted.

The status of the Balts in relation to UNRRA Is eligibility criteria was complicated: although Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were not members of the United Nations, their nationals were treated as such by the Western allies and UNRRA. There were cases of evictions of ethnic German Balts,-

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particularly if they were known to have voluntarily applied for migration and German citizenship in 1939-1940. It was possible to check such information in the German records of the “Immigrants Central Bureau”, which were in the hands of the U.S. zonal authorities. Balts who had clearly served with the German forces were declared ineligible by UNRRA, but treated as eligible in the British zones. There was, however, little inclination in any of the Western zones of occupation to screen for Balts who were not ethnic Germans and who may have served in native Baltic auxiliary police units who had engaged in massacres of Jews, rather than in the German forces as such.(40) The same absence of screening would -have applied for members of those Ukrainian police units who accompanied the Einsatzgruppen in their mass murder sweep in Eastern Europe in 1941-1942, while not officially incorporated into the German military.

Screening Procedures in I.R.O. Camps:

The I.R.O. Constitution elaborated in detail the categories of persons who were not to be the concern of the organization — including, inter alia, war criminals, quislings and traitors: persons who assisted the enemy in persecuting civil populations of countries, members of the U.N.: ordinary criminals extraditable by treaty: and Volksdeutsche.(41) Basing itself on several resolutions adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1946 -to the effect that war criminals, quislings, and traitors should be screened, surrendered and punished, and following the definition of war criminals laid out in the Nuremberg Charter, the I.R.O. Constitution developed detailed criteria for screening purposes.

These criteria, nevertheless, allowed for considerable loopholes which were then incorporated into the I.R.O. Officers’ Eligibility Manual. While declaring that the limited number of

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war criminals actually convicted by a court of justice were clearly not within the I.R.O. mandate, the Manual observed that the crimes committed during the war were overwhelming, amounting to hundreds of thousands and that it was beyond the I.R.O.’s capacity to maintain track of them. The UNWCC in London, it was noted, had already compiled a list of thirty-two thousand names of persons against whom a prima facie case had been found to exist, concerning

mostly Germans ( including Austrians) but also Hungarians, Bulgarians, Italians, Roumanians, Albanians, and Japanese and also a small number of persons of Allied nationality who were accomplices or principals who had or had not taken service with the German army or administration and who may — or may not — have acquired enemy nationality.(42)

Daunted by the overwhelming numbers, the focus was on Axis nationals. No mention was made in this regard of Balts or Ukrainians or Byelorussians who took direct part in the massacres in Eastern Europe. Even for war criminals of Axis origin, while acknowledging that the vast majority of suspected war criminals would still be at large, the Manual’s guidelines indicated that

the IRO is not equipped to •conduct criminal investigation: moreover it would be impossible to expect from Eligibility Officers in the Field that, in respect of each applicant, they should consult the bulky UNWCC lists and other lists of wanted persons, to ascertain whether his name figures on them. This would cause delay and unduly hamper the proceedings.(43)

It would therefore appear that checking of applicants against existing {ists of war criminals was certainly not routine, and that it was left to the individual officer in the field who, if in doubt concerning an individual, could if he so decided refer the case to the I.R.O. Headquarters of the Zone where a set

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of lists was available, or to the authorities of the country where the individual was residing at the time of the commission of the crime. This latter provision of course ruled out screening for possible war criminals from Eastern European countries which were not cooperating with the I.R.O. Even where the I.R.O. officer took the trouble to consult the ‘bulky UNWCC lists’, the names of war criminals of Baltic, Ukrainian, or White Russian origin did not figure on them since these people were former Soviet nationals and the USSR did not participate in the work of the UNWCC. (as discussed in Chapter I, Part 1 above)

In fact, the Manual made clear that the I.R.O. was not particularly enthusiastic about screening for war criminals. While acknowledging that the Moscow Agreement required “any war criminals found in Displaced Persons Camps to be turned over under guard to the Military Command of the countries concerned upon due request, and evidence…. ” this did not mean, the guidelines asserted, that the

IRO should arrest even war criminals, far less surrender them, except when IRO has been expressly given authority to.do so. The local governmental or occupational authorities should be informed of their presence and it is for them to arrest any war criminals who might be found in the Displaced Persons Camps.(44)

Even in cases where local governmental or occupational authorities were informed, the likelihood of apprehension and punishment was minimal. In cases where an applicant was identified as one whose name was on the UNWCC lists, the I.R.O. guidelines indicated that he should be informed verbally of the reasons why he was not within the I.R.O. mandate, but that the rejection- form should only state “not· of the concern of I. R.O.

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Part II (1), without further comment.” (45) There is no indication here that the official was about to refer the name of the individual to any police authorities. A sample case listed in the manual is worthy of mention: a Roumanian petitioner who claimed to have been deported in 1941 for forced labour in occupied Russia and later to Berlin, produced a different story when questioned again, and in the end admitted to having followed German troops whilst in the Todt Organization (the Reich agency in charge of construction), and this, according to the Manual, was “considered to be a strong presumption that he was actually in the Roumanian Legion of Fascist volunteers”.(46) One is left wondering whether the individual in question was handed over to any· other authority, or whether the more likely course simply ‘let loose’.

The guidelines mention in passing that there were also CROWCASS lists in Berlin at U.S.A. Headquarters. It was clear, however that consultation of these lists was not routine, but rather up to the individual officer’s initiative and decision. With reg_ard to traitors and quislings, defined as “key persons of governments or semi-governmental organizations which were in sympathy with and actually helped the Nazis,” (47) the I.R.O. guidelines handed responsibility for determining which persons were to be regarded as, quislings and traitors to the various governments concerned. The eligibility officer was required to check· whether- the individual Is name appeared on lists of persons wanted for indictment or trial by local governmental or occupational authorities. The I.R.O. officer was not empowered to arrest the individual upon request of another power.

The guidelines with regard to excluding from the I.R.O. mandate any persons who could be shown to have “voluntarily assisted the enemy forces since the outbreak of the Second World War in their operations against the United Nations,” indicated

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that such assistance “must have been voluntary, and given deliberately and of their own free will by the persons concerned, with a specific purpose of aiding the enemy in their military operations against· the Allies”.(48) The guidelines went on to say that “persons who have been conscripted, ( e.g. Balts, Poles, Luxembourgers, etc.) are not to be considered as having voluntarily helped the enemy, even if they fought in enemy forces.”(49) The inference that Balts, for example, who served in the German forces were all forcibly conscripted is not historically correct. Many were conscripted, and many volunteered. One need only consult the German records on the Estonian SS Legion, or the history of the Latvian SS Legion compiled by the veterans themselves. While the guidelines indicated that the eligibility officer ought to obtain information concerning the date on which an applicant took service, in order to determine whether he had been a volunteer or forcibly conscripted, the comment was added that “neither conscription nor voluntarily enlistment are by themselves sufficient proof of attitude toward the enemy”. – Determination of “attitude toward the enemy” was left to the discretion of the I.R.O. officer on duty. It would indeed be surprising, if, in a sample case included in the I.R.O. manual regarding a Latvian petitioner with a blood-group scar indicating membership in the Latvian SS Legion, the I.R.O. officer would have felt the need to question evidence produced that the individual was in civilian life in May 1944 after conscription was imposed, or to question him with regard to the possibility that.he may have belonged to police units in 1941 at the time of the large scale massacres of Jews and ‘partisans’ in Lithuania before returning to civilian life by M·ay 1944.(50)

Actual practice in I.R.O. screening for war criminals and collaborators was superficial, and according to a number of accounts, at times corrupt. One employee of the American DP Commission who worked closely with I.R.O. staff resigned in

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disgust, calling the I.R.O. certification process “a complete racket”. Many of the I.R.O. clerks, he charged, were former collaborators themselves who coached the applicants in the techniques of successful deception or who simply filled out the papers on behalf of applicants, submitting them for rubber-stamp approval by unsuspecting I.R.O. officials.(51)

Canadian officials were aware of these malpractices. A report submitted by the RCMP to the Security Panel in April 1948 described irregularities in the screening practices prevailing in the DP camps. The report expressed particular concern about Communist infiltrators, but acknowledged that Nazis may very well have been receiving help from the I.R.O. in their resettlement, and that, more generally, I.R.O. officials were suppressing information concerning candidates for immigration to Canada. The RCMP report asserted that I.R.O. officials administering the DP camps

do not cooperate in screening DPs presenting themselves for selection. In fact, if a DP is rejected by one country on account of his political or criminal record, the IRO will conceal this fact and have the DP present himself to the screening team of another country.

There are grounds to believe that IRO officials have facilitated the movement of high ranking Nazis from Germany’.
IRO in some camps is also infiltrated by Communists and Communist sympathy, if not membership, seems to be an important qualification if the DP hopes to be selected for movement abroad.

The RCMP have investigated and reported on cases where IRO doctors falsified medical records and switched X-Ray plates in order to facilitate acceptance for movement of DPs who would otherwise have been rejected on medical grounds by National Screening Teams.(52)

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I.R.O. guidelines with regard to the Volksdeutsche declared them ineligible, but indicated that they “should not be excluded as having voluntarily assisted the enemy forces”, but remain “in_ suspense” as Volksdeutsche. By the end of 1948 the Volksdeutsche were declared as eligible for I.R.O. assistance.

The leniency in interpretation of the guidelines in relation to the Balts in particular, whether with regard voluntary or conscripted military service, or with regard to the extent of participation in war crimes, stands in stark contrast to the brief histories of the wartime experience of these group, appended to the same I.R.O. Officers Eligibility Manual. The conclusion one may draw is that there was considerable awareness of the historical facts which for reasons of policy one had the discretion to overlook.

The manual contains damning and by and large historically accurate accounts regarding the criminal activities of pro-Nazi fascist groups in Hungary, Roumania, Ruthenia, the Ukraine, and the “independent state of Slovakia” under German tutelage: the experience of the Volksdeutsche: and the participation of Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians and Ukrainians in massacres of Jews.

With regard to the Estonians, the Manual states that immediately after the occupation of the Baltic States, the Germans re-organized the local civic police into semi-military units called “Schutzmannschaften”, which were mostly composed of volunteers, although some persons were conscripted: that at first these units acted as normal police but that later they were used to fight the Russians and eliminate Jews:

soon found their way into the S.S. Legions… soon after the Germans marched into the Baltic

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States some Baltic. nationals volunteered into the so-called Selbschutz or Partisan units whose self-appointed tasks ·were to help evict the Russians and to persecute Jewish populations.(53)

With regard to the Latvians, the Manual describes the various Latvian units which were formed, including the Schutzmannschaften of which there were about thirty — each three hundred to four hundred men in strength. The Manual asserts that “evidence indicates that a large number of this group were volunteers” and that a number of SS Polizei regiments were formed in 1941 which also consisted of volunteers, and that these, in addition to an unspecified number of individual Latvians, worked in conjunction with the Einsatzgruppen whose functions were “to break the resistance of the populations lying behind the German Armies in the East and to exterminate the Jews in those areas”.(54) As for Lithuanians, the Manual’s historical account covers only a fragment of the story, focusing primarily on the large-scale voluntary migration to Germany in 1941 and the “ill fated attempt” to establish a Waffen-SS for which 30,000 volunteers came forward but which was soon disbanded. (55)

In justification of the I.R.O.’s initial exclusion of Volksdeutsche from its mandate, the Manual’s account states that “many of the Volksdeutsche in countries other than Germany succumbed to the Nazi propaganda and became the fifth column in those countries”, and that native populations embittered against them expelled them after the end of the war.(56)

However, despite these accounts, the I.R.O. lacked initiative and interest in identifying war criminals an attitude perhaps reflected in the introductory section of the same Officers Manual on Eligibility which discusses in rather

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abstract terms the burden of proof for exclusion purposes:

it is clearly a logical impossibility for an applicant to prove the negative proposition that he is not a person who should be excluded (i.e. that he is not a war criminal). Equally, it is a practical impossibility for the Organization to prove that any applicant ,is in fact such a person, except in the rare cases when a person’s name is, for example found on the list of war criminals, (–in fact rarely consulted) apart from the evidence provided by the applicant himself (– which was usually all that IRO officia1s relied on). (57)

Impact of American experience with regard to admission of DPs/ refugees on Canadian government policy

In 1947 and 1948 Canadian officials closely watched developments with regard to DP immigration south of the border. The Canadian Embassy in Washington regularly sent detailed telegrams and reports describing and analyzing the proposed Bills and debates in Congress on the issue, press coverage and public opinion, and implications for Canada. (58) From the time of the introduction of the Stratton Bill in April 1947, which provided for the U.S. to assume “its fair share” in the resettlement of displaced persons in Germany, Austria and Italy, questions were raised in Congress as to whether other countries, such as Canada, were assuming their “fair share”. After considerable public pressure, the State Department issued a press release on June 4, 1947 explaining the rationale for admission of displaced persons to the United States — information which was duly transmitted by the Canadian Embassy to Ottawa. Firstly, it was pointed out, many of the over one million DPs were· strongly anti-Communist. Then four alternative courses of action were presented: forcible repatriation; allowing DPs to fend for themselves; indefinitely maintaining them in displaced persons camps, which would continue their life of uncertainty while dissipating American tax dollars; or resettling them in various countries of the world. The fourth


alternative was obviously the best solution.(59) The Bill introduced in the spring of 1948 was amended after being criticized for its restrictive clauses, and became law on June 25, 1948 as the -Displaced Persons Act, which permitted admission to the U.S. during the two years the beginning July 1, 1948 of 205,000 displaced persons, refugees and 3,000 orphans.

The DP Act was widely criticized as discriminatory, including by President Truman himself who signed only reluctantly. A summary of the U.S. Displaced Persons Bill circulated amongst Canadian government officials stated that the main objections voiced against the Bill were that: it provided for unjust preferences on the basis of nationality and occupation in its stipulation that 40% of persons admitted should be Balts and 30% should be agricultural workers; that the cut-off date of December 22, 1945 excluded the large number of Jewish refugees who had fled from Poland in 1946; and that the “Volksdeutche” provision stipulating that 50% of Austrian· quotas be made available exclusively to “Volksdeutche”, ethnic the combined German and over a two-year period Germans born in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Roumania, and Yugoslavia favoured admission of persons who in many cases were the “advance guard of Nazism” in their countries of residence.(60).

In reviewing developments south of the border, the formulators of Canadian refugee/displaced persons immigration policy saw a reflection of their own policies, and perhaps a reassurance that they were on the right track.

Conditioned by experience and practice at the international level, Canadian policy with regard to the immigration of DPs and refugees from postwar Europe — that is, who was admitted and how they entered was shaped in its

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specific aspects by a long-standing restrictionist immigration policy, confronted by changing public sentiment in Canada, and by a growing lobby from within government circles, the business community, ethnic and religious groups, voluntary agencies and the media to open Canada’s doors to European immigrants. This is the story of the following chapters.

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Part 1: Canadian Immigration and Refugee Policy: 1945 to 1950

The policy position, 1945-1946

Canada’s participation in international discussions on the problem of refugees and in the founding and financing of international relief organizations, such as U.N.R.R.A. and the I.R.O., did not immediately translate into the opening of Canada’s doors to immigration of displaced persons and refugees. Though Canada had experienced an impressive expansion of the national economy during and after the war, the government maintained its prewar restrictionist immigration policy until mid-1947.

At the end of world war II, the Immigration Act of 1910 was still in effect, and continued to be until 1952. Under that Act the Cabinet had wide discretionary powers and could issue orders-in-council to regulate the volume, ethnic origin or occupational standards of the immigration movement.

The classes of immigrants admissible to Canada in May 1946 continued to be defined by a 1931 Order-in-Council (P.C.695), restricting immigration to British ·subjects (“of British descent,” i.e. white): U.S. citizens: wife or unmarried child under age 18 or fiancee of legal . resident in Canada: and 11 agriculturalists having sufficient means to farm in Canada”. This restrictionist policy — based on guidelines in place since the 1923 immigration regulations and further tightened after the Depression was also self-avowedly discriminatory, ranking prospective immigrants in a descending preferential scale, firstly according to ethnicity and country of origin, and only

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secondarily according to occupation. British and American immigrants were allowed unrestricted admission. Most Western European immigrants were in the ‘Preferred Class’ , and most Central and Eastern Europeans, including Ukrainians and other Slavs, were in the ‘Undesirable Class,’ though an exception was made for “farmers with independent means”. Below the ‘Undesirable Class’ was the ‘Permit Class’ requiring a special permit for entry which only the Cabinet could grant. This class included Jews and Southern Europeans. Asiatic immigration was most explicitly and severely restricted.(1)
There were a number of reasons for a continued restrictionist immigration policy, even in the midst of the postwar economic expansion. There was uncertainty, and fear of an economic recession such as had followed World War I. Various other rationalizations and excuses for not relaxing immigration were offered, the most frequent being that all available shipping which was indeed scarce had to be used to repatriate Canadian servicemen and their dependents from Europe. In fact, the most potent factor behind the continued closed door policy was the longstanding tradition of restrictionism of officials of the Immigration Branch, and the difficulty which they and other bureaucrats and politicians had in changing their insular assessment of economic realities and their essentially racist perception of the demographic ideal for Canada.

Discrimination in immigration policy was in fact accepted as a necessary principle, as stated explicitly shortly after the end of the war in a confidential memorandum to Cabinet from A.L. Jolliffe, who had replaced F.C. Blair as Director of Immigration:

Canada’s immigration laws reflect class and race discrimination: they do, and necessarily so. Some form of discrimination cannot be avoided if immigration is to be effectively


controlled in order .to prevent the creation in Canada of expanding non-assimilable racial groups…Many organizations have passed resolutions urging “selective immigration”…it is not possible to have selective immigration on the one hand and no discrimination on the other.( 2)

The type of discrimination practiced by Canadian immigration officials had a direct bearing on the emergence of polices which facilitated the entry of possible war criminals to Canada. As discussed below, the policy of ethnic selectivity favoured the admission of groups of displaced persons who in all probability included war criminals in their midst — the Balts and the Volksdeutche particularly — and, following the lifting of the ban in September 1950 on admitting enemy aliens ( other than Japanese), German nationals.

Other factors, including labour shortages, lobbying by ethnic groups, and changing attitudes and the effect of public opinion opened Canada’s doors to immigrants of Central and Eastern European origin, particularly those who were anti-Communist.

The purpose of the following section is twofold: a) to set out Canadian government policies and practices with regard to admission of possible war criminals, against the .background of the political climate and attitudes regarding war refugees and war criminals in the different regions of Canada; and (b) to draw probable profiles of war criminals who may have entered Canada, given the wartime experience of the group from which the individual emerged, and the extent and nature of the security screening to which they were subjected.

In characterizing the postwar immigration to Canada of groups of nationals from countries where there was participation in war crimes and collaboration with the Nazi regime by the local

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populations and/or bureaucracies, there are clearly no grounds to suggest more than that a small segment of these groups who immigrated to Canada may have been war criminals. The grounds for making a statement about the possible war criminality of a segment are as follows: the majority of the perpetrators of crimes were not apprehended or prosecuted after the war (as established in Chapter I, Part 1 above); screening policies and practices of international agencies were inadequate to the task of weeding war criminals out of the mass of displaced persons moving through the camps (discussed in Chapter!, Part 1 above); and Canadian immigration policy and security screening procedures in the ten-year period of peak immigration from 1947 to 1957 were far from foolproof in keeping possible war criminals from entering Canada (as shown in this and subsequent sections of this report).

Politic Environments and public opinion in various regions of the country with regard to war refugees and war criminals, the 1930s to 1946

Attitudes amongst some segments of the Canadian population towards Nazi Germany in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of World War II were reflected in their postwar attitudes with regard to displaced persons/refugees and Nazi war criminals and their collaborators. Embedded in the broader public, these marginal groups had an impact on the different ethnic communities, which in turn had an impact on the government’s immigration policy both during the war years and subsequently.

The legacy: Fascist groups and Nazi sympathizers in Canada in the 1930s: There were several small pockets of Nazi sympathizers in various parts of Canada in the 1930s, who adopted as their primary expression the anti-semitic component of Nazism.

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In Quebec, a thin current of ideological anti-semitism, established at the turn-of-the-century, was given expression in a number of publications and in· occasional episodes over the following three decades. Such issues as that of the ‘school question’ in the 1920s, which concerned the place of Jews in Quebec’s confessional school system, gave such views greater resonance. The ‘school question’ implicated both politicians and the Catholic Church, which took the position that in a Christian society non-Christians ought not to receive the same civic rights as Christians. In the 1930s, a Hitler-inspired grouping organized by a journalist, Adrien Arcand, and supported by right-wing students and elements in the clergy and the press, led a campaign against Jews, with boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses and declarations in three newspapers edited by Arcand that, as in Nazi Germany, the Jews of Quebec should be deprived-of all civil rights. Until 1939, Arcand and his followers were legally tolerated and sympathetically supported by Le Devoir, by Quebec nationalist organizations such as les Jeunes Canadiens, and indeed, by prominent personalities such as Maurice Duplessis and l’Abbe Groulx.(3)

In English. Canada, discrimination barred Jews from certain residential and resort areas and quota systems in effect at various universities made it difficult for Jews to enter such professions as law, medicine or dentistry. This situation was relatively common until the 1950s.

In western Canada there was receptivity among some ethnic groups in the 1930s to propaganda disseminated by fascist organizers and Nazi agents. Amongst the Ukrainian community, which consisted of a quarter million people and which in the Prairies accounted for roughly 10% of the population, there were some right-wing nationalists who were militantly anti-Communist, and who also manifested anti-Jewish sentiment. They were ready

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recruits for a·fascist movement. (4) It should be noted, however, that with the onset of the war, the Ukrainian National Federation ( the Canadian affiliate of the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists) took an anti-German line, members of its leadership enlisting in the Canadian Army.

German Canadians formed the largest ethnic group in Canada, constituting 15% of the population in the prairies. Of these 70% were Canadian-born; of the foreign-born most were not from Germany but from Eastern Europe. The foreign division (Auslandsorganization) of the Nazi party directed Nazi propaganda overseas to Canada’s half-million Germans via German consuls. S.W. Jacobs, M.P., alerted the House of Commons in 1934 to the fact that the Consul General in Montreal, Dr. Kempf, was distributing Nazi anti-semitic publications and asked the Minister of Justice, H.A. Guthrie, whether Dr. Kempf would be removed. Guthrie replied that he saw “no occasion” for the withdrawal of Dr. Kempf. Of the German Canadians, the Mennonites were particularly receptive to the anti-Communistic element of Nazism, and strong pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish sentiments were expressed in the Mennonite press of the thirties. It was a group of Anglo-Saxon veterans, however, headed by a former British soldier, William Whittaker, which launched an organized Fascist an grouping in Western Canada in September 1933- the brown-shirted Canadian Nationalist Party. Presenting an anti-Communist platform and a program of ‘economic reform’, the Party adopted a para-military character, and published:

a virulently anti-semitic monthly called The Canadian Nationalist. Edited by Whittaker, it was printed by the publisher of a Mennonite church paper, Herman Neufeld; in his own paper, Neufeld praised Hitler, excerpted speeches by Goebbels, and promoted Nazism among the Mennonite flock. ( 5)

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While the leadership of the group remained Anglo-Saxon apart from two Mennonites, the rank and file consisted largely of European immigrants.

The three main German pro-Nazi organizations in Canada had in 1939 an estimated membership of some 3000. German records captured after the war revealed that there were some 250 members of the Nazi Party in Canada. RCMP officials who had earlier identified 134 Nazi Party members, admitted in 1945 that most of these individuals were still in Canada, some having acquired Canadian citizenship during the war years.(6) There is no indication in the files examined that any of these persons were subsequently deported or denaturalized on account of their Nazi Party membership.

While relatively small numbers of Canadians of German or other European origin would have been active Nazi supporters, those who were, were also by and large integral elements of their broader communities. To a degree, they would have influenced these communities in the postwar period with regard to a sense of empathy for European kinsmen displaced by the course of the war, even if they had sided with the Nazis, and with regard to using the communities’ political weight to promote the admission to Canada of their European brethren whether Volksdeutsche, German nationals, or Ukrainians, for example. The role played by Canadian ethnic .groups in lobbying for the admission of refugees/ DPs who had served in Nazi military formations is discussed in detail in Chapters V and VIII of this report.

Official attitudes and policy with regard to immigration of Jewish refugees/DPs, 1933-1948

Policy of exclusion: The terms of reference of this report require, inter alia, treatment of Canadian government policy with regard to wartime and postwar refugees — which would

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include Jewish refugees as well. However, the subject of government policy with regard to Jewish immigration during this period has already been extensively treated in the Abella and Troper study, None is Too Many, (7) and given the scope of this report, it is presented here in brief, only insofar as it is relevant to general postwar immigration policy and practice with regard to admission of refugees/displaced persons, Nazi collaborators, and Nazi war criminals.

Canada’s discriminatory immigration policy from 1933 to 1945 was directed specifically towards Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany and from lands occupied by Nazi Germany. Canada’s record, during this period ·of crisis, was, as detailed by Abella and Troper, singularly negative:

During the twelve years of Nazi terror the United Kingdom opened its doors to 70,000 (Jews), and allowed another 125,000 into British-administered Palestine. Other states, with long histories of immigration, did even less. Argentina took 50,000, Brazil 27,000 and Australia 15,000 between 1933 and 1945 Canada found room within her borders for fewer than 5,000 Jews: after the war, until the founding of Israel in 1948, she admitted but 8,000 more. That record is arguably the worst of all possible refugee-receiving states.(8)

The story is one of indifference on the part of the government, the civil service and indeed much of the Canadian public to the doomed fate and subsequent tragedy which befell Europe’s Jews, and of contempt on the part of those in key government positions towards Canadian Jews who pleaded on their behalf.

There was no groundswell of opposition, no humanitarian appeal for a more open policy. Even the outbreak of the war and the mounting evidence of an ongoing Nazi program for the


total annihilation of European Jewry did not move Canada. Its response remained legalistic and cold. (9)

The policy of exclusion of Jews implemented by a few government officials, in particular by was by F.C. Blair, the Director of Immigration Branch from 1936 to 1943, whose anti-Jewish sentiments found expression in a dogged determination to keep Jews out of Canada. Though it was Blair who drafted and interpreted government regulations and decided on individual requests for admission, it would be, as the research undertaken by Abella and Troper indicates, simplistic and incorrect to blame him alone for Canada’s response to Jewish immigration.

Blair’s ideas were entirely compatible with those of the Canadian government, which kept him in his sensitive position as long as it could.(10)

The decision not to accept refugees was more political than bureaucratic. It was determined by a number of factors.

The economic crisis that curtailed almost all immigration to Canada, the vocal anti-Jewish sentiment of Quebec politicians, the government’s fear of being made the dumping ground in any British or American scheme to resettle Jews, and, most of all, the overriding sense on the part of the prime minister that whatever momentary sympathy might be stirred up for refugees, it would be quickly washed away in the wake of boatloads of Jews landing at Halifax or Montreal. (11)

There were no votes to be gained in admitting Jews.

The record with regard to Jewish immigration in the postwar years until 1948 reflects a continuation, to a significant degree, of the policy of exclusion:

Compared to the total number of postwar refugees admitted into Canada during this period, the 8,000 Jewish refugees pale in significance.

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Jews, who made up close to thirty per cent of the European refugee community, represented less than fifteen per cent of the approximately 65,000 refugees admitted into Canada through March 1948.(12)

One of the numerous episodes described in the Abella and Troper study the case of the child refugees project -­ serves as an illustration of the sustained and meticulously negative approach taken by Canada’s immigration authorities throughout the war years.

Following considerable pressure from Jewish and refugee organizations in Canada, and a precedent set by Britain, the Canadian government agreed in July 1939 to admit for the duration of the war one hundred out of a total of some nine thousand children from continental Europe who had been separated from their families and evacuated to Britain. The project was displaced by one to bring ten thousand British children to safety in Canada. Bypassing the continental European children in Britain was regarded as inconsequential, especially since, as the view was expressed, that in any case over eighty per cent of them were Jewish.

The government was put to the test again with regard to providing a haven for children in the summer of 1942, as· the deportations of French Jews left several thousand children behind in internment camps. Following a vigorous campaign by American and Canadian Jewish organizations and protests from the Catholic church and allied governments against the deportation of the children to concentration camps, the Americans agreed by the end of September to take up to five thousand children. The British government decided in early October to admit all those children in France under sixteen who had a near relation in Britain. On the same day, Thomas Crerar, the Canadian Minister responsible for immigration decided, against Blair’s advice, to

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authorize the admission of five hundred children, with another five hundred to follow “only when we are satisfied that the Jewish community will be able to properly absorb them”. These children would be admitted as “non-immigrants” for the duration of the war, would not be able to bring in their “parents or other relatives at a later date,” and were not to be adopted but placed in foster homes.(13)

Negotiations for implementing these decisions of the Allied governments moved along rather slowly. By November 1942 the fate of some 6,500 French children was sealed, as both Canada and the United States broke off diplomatic relations with the Vichy government and the Germans moved into the previously unoccupied areas of France.

Several hundred of the interned children, however, had escaped from France to Spain and Portugal, occasioning renewed pleading from Jewish organizations. The Americans expressed readiness to accept all those under age sixteen leaving twenty (?) children between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. In response to formal requests from the Canadian Jewish Congress and the American government that Canada accept the twenty, External Affairs indicated that the government had no objection to the proposal. Blair overruled that response on the grounds that the children did not qualify as orphans in that some had parents with them on the Iberian peninsula, and it was government policy not to separate family units. Blair persisted in this position despite protestations from External Affairs and the Canadian National Committee for Refugees that no such objections had been raised in the case of the program to accept the British children in 1940; nor did Blair alter his stance in the light of suggestions that Canada could follow the example of American policy which required parents to promise not to use their children’s temporary admission as a basis for admission for themselves or other relatives at a later date.

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The children’s project re-emerged yet again during the war in late 1943, through the mediation of the I.G.C.R., when it was reported that several thousand French Jewish children in hiding with Christian families were in a precarious situation and that asylum had to be found for them. As Canada was preparing to reply positively, that it would live up to its earlier commitment to provide a haven for at least some children, A.L. Jolliffe, Blair’s successor as Director of Immigration Branch, reiterated the ‘orphan’ stipulation attached, to the commitment and argued that many of these children were Likely to be “found inadmissible on medical grounds.” When the Americans activated a scheme to smuggle French children to Switzerland and elsewhere, Jolliffe insisted that Canada should make no compromises and must adhere to all regulations and conditlons; nor was Jolliffe prepared to entertain the suggestion that Canada contribute to the cost of maintaining the children in Switzerland.- Immigration Branch remained fully determined to keep Jewish refugees out under its new Director as well, despite full awareness by this time of the fate in store for those not sheltered.

By June 1944, most of these children had been deported. Not one had made it to Canada.

Admission was finally approved for one thousand Jewish orphans, the first twenty of whom arrived in September 1947, following concerted efforts on the part of Jewish organizations.(14)

u<>Immigration policy with regard to Jews in the immediate postwar – years:</u>

Discrimination against prospective Jewish immigrants from amongst the displaced persons and refugees continued within the sanctioned policy of ethnic selectivity which conditioned the various immigration schemes developed from 1946 to 1952. Immigration documents from 1953 and 1954 indicate

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severe restrictions on immigration from Israel on the grounds that Communists would likely be included amongst prospective immigrants from that country. (15)

Discrimination with regard to Jewish immigration continued after 1946, as a result of ingrained attitudes and well-established practices of government officials. These attitudes and practices were given further expression in the approach taken towards “preferred groups” such as Germans and Balts, who were likely to have· included — and indeed have been shown to have included in their midst persons who were Nazi collaborators and alleged war criminals. It seems reasonable to assume that a lack of empathy for the victims may have contributed to a lack of interest in seeking out the perpetrators of the crimes from amongst persons deemed to be highly attractive and desirable immigrants. The sections below do bear out connection between discriminatory policy with regard to Jewish immigration and the possible entry of war criminals to Canada. The subject, however, serves only as background to the story of actual policy and practice with regard to admission of persons who were adherents of Nazism and who implemented its criminal policies.

Security Screening, 1945: The earliest postwar documents from the RCMP and External Affairs relating to refugees as a security problem show a preoccupation with Jews as undesirable immigrants. Between November 1944 and July 1945, a great deal of attention waspaid to the security risk liabilities of a number of Jews who had found asylum in the Iberian Peninsula and who were seeking admission to or had already been temporarily admitted to Canada.

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The cases in question had been cleared for receiving immigration visas by the Canadian Immigration Officer ( Cormier) after no unfavourable reports had been received from British security authorities, and most had already arrived in Canada as refugees on a temporary basis. However, in at least five cases, as a result of “information received from sources of a delicate nature” and which “should not be given wider distribution than absolutely necessary”, Jewish refugees were declared to be of “dubious sympathy” and security risks.( 16) In one case, the individual, already admitted to Canada, had been denounced as a French Police informer who, it was charged, collaborated intimately with the occupation authorities and who was
unscrupulous in money transactions. Not only was he, in the view of the Canadian security interrogation officer; a “collaborationist”, but he made a “very bad impression” during the interview as a “highly undesirable type”. In any event, according to the RCMP report, he had been refused a visa by the Americans and the British, and that was in itself reason enough for the Canadian visa to be immediately ·cancelled. In response to Commissioner Wood with regard to this and one other case, the Under- Secretary of State for External Affairs stated that

The information contained in the reports is very disconcerting and clearly indicates that the arrangements made for examination prior to the issuance of visas were inadequate …So far as the X and Y cases are concerned — also in the case of any other persons who may be of dubious sympathy — I assume that all that can be done is to maintain RCMP surveillance until deportation becomes possible and to apply whatever restrictive measures seem to be necessary under the Defense of Canada Regulations. Mrs. X is clearly an enemy alien and should· therefore be dealt with under Section 25, while in the Y case where nationality is doubtful, it would seem that Section 21 might be resorted to.(17)

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Another Jewish refugee., an accomplished communications scientist who took up residence in Toronto, and who was formerly a German national who had become “stateless”, was subjected to RCMP scrutiny as a result of information from “sources of a delicate nature”. A lengthy report on the RCMP interview with him, during which he appeared to “minimize his own contribution to the German cause in the war of 1914-1918,” pointed to the fact that between 1933 and 1938 he was allowed to travel freely in and out of Germany, that he was able to publish books in his own name under the Nazi regime, and that he managed to secure a new German passport in 1940. This gave the RCMP cause for suspicion that he ‘collaborated with the enemy’. Moreover,

During interrogation this person displayed a particularly arrogant manner and was uncooperative in the extreme. He appeared to deliberately forget many details of his experiences and when pressed to elucidate some question, he became impertinent, which attitude discounting the possibility of his being a German agent certainly indicates that he cannot be looked upon as whole-heartedly supporting the United Nations’ cause.(18)

Three other cases of RCMP investigations of alleged Jewish collaboration with the Nazi enemy show what would seem to be anti-Jewish prejudice.

Another refugee from Portugal, desirous of remaining in Canada after the war had, also according to information from “delicate sources”, “apparently fairly intimate knowledge of the dealings and doings of certain alleged swindlers and crooks”. The subject was described as “highly educated…quiet and mentally alert”, and his. wife had a Doctorate of Political Economics from Berlin: nonetheless, he was judged to be

a man who is not an asset, his motives are purely self-seeking and throughout his interview he showed no hint of loyalty to the Allied

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cause. He is a “slippery” customer and it is believed that he wishes to settle in Canada because he sees here the prospect of quick and easy money. He fought against the Allies as a member of the Hungarian Army in the last war and there is no evidence that he has changed his. sympathies towards Germany proper. (19)

The interrogator concluded that though he may not be an enemy agent himself, he was “so mixed up in the set of enemy agents in Lisbon that he is potentially dangerous”.

Another refugee was deemed undesirable because his brother was reported on the Allied Security Black List as an enemy agent. The report mentions that most of the subject I s close family had been ghettoized· in Hungary and then deported. Yet the RCMP’s conclusion was that

This man’s case is regarded as serious because of his acquaintanceship and correspondence with a suspected German collaborationist…we are considering him a potential source of danger to the security of this country.(20)

These episodes stand in marked contrast with the lack of concern in the course of the following few years, about sympathy for or direct collaboration with the Nazis, and with the virtual non-existence of security screening of persons much more likely to have included Nazi collaborators and war criminals in their midst than the Jewish refugees who had found asylum during the war in the Iberian Peninsula.

Public opinion and official perceptions of the DPs/refugees, 1945-1947

Polls and mainstream media opinion: Several Gallup polls in 1946 showed that while the business comrnunity, ethnic groups and liberal elements in Canadian society were pressing for

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increased immigration, the general public did not favour absorption of large numbers of refugees, especially of Eastern European and·Jewish refugees. The April 1946 Gallup poll showed that

those favouring immigration from Europe or giving it qualified approval accounted for thirty-one per cent of the sample. Sixty-one per cent were opposed. Seventy-one per cent of those polled in Quebec were opposed.(21)

Amongst those who approved, selectivity was a deciding factor. In the October 1946 Gallup poll, 60% classed the Japanese as undesirable, followed by — not the other major wartime enemy, the Germans — but the Jews.(22)

By the summer of 1947, a Gallup poll showed fifty-one per cent of Canadians agreeing that Canada needed immigrants, eleven per cent supporting immigration of the “right type” and thirty per cent declaring that Canada needed no immigrants.(23)

The English-language press was largely in favour of government initiatives to expand immigration, but emphasized the need for selectivity so as not to allow into Canada “unassimilable alien types”.(24)

In Quebec, French language newspapers carried editorials expressing concern that there were no guarantees restricting British and European immigration to Eastern Canada. Some alluded to dark and powerful forces behind the intensive pro-immigration campaign which aimed at perpetuating the English majority of the country. There were also, however, arguments in the Quebec press for small-scale immigration on humanitarian or economic grounds, though it was recommended that this be tightly controlled as to occupation and ethnic origin.

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The ethnic press: .. The ethnic communities in Canada followed with great interest the postwar developments in Europe as they affected their kinsmen, and formulated suggestions with regard. to the provision of relief supplies in Europe and resettlement in Canada for the refugees and displaced persons. The ethnic press reflected these preoccupations.

The Mennonite press in 1946 carried reports by C.F. Klassen, who was later to play a central role in lobbying for admission of Mennonites to Canada, describing the escape of Mennonites from Prussia to Denmark and the Western zones, their life in refugee camps and their appeals for aid.(25)

As in representations before the Senate Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour and before the House of Commons ( see below), two opposing camps presented views in the Canadian ethnic Press with regard to the situation of Ukrainian DPs and the issue of repatriation. A Polish pro-Soviet weekly presented the perspective of “anti-fascist Ukrainians” who

believe that Ukrainians in Germany can be divided into three groups. First, those who were forced to go there; second those who were brought there under false pretenses: and thirdly, those who were voluntary collaborators with the Germans. For the first two groups, the doors are open to go back to their homes. And the third is the one which Ukrainian fascists in Canada are worried about.(26)

The pro-Soviet Ukrainian press in Canada carried numerous articles attacking Ukrainian refugees in Europe and Ukrainian nationalists in Canada. ( 27.) At the same time, non-Communist Ukrainian newspapers were publishing long lists of addresses of Ukrainian refugees in Western Europe who were seeking to establish contact with their kinsmen in Canada.

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When the Communist Ukrainian perspective made its way into English-language dailies, the anti-Communist Ukrainian press denounced the campaign to

discredit “Ukrainian Independents” with such labels as “bandits”, “Hitlers’ hirelings”, “quislings” and so forth. The aim of such propaganda, according to one editorial, was to discredit the struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom. And the sad part of it is that an effort is being made to identify the movement with anti-semitism, Jewish pogroms and robberies with the intention of convincing Anglo-Saxon public opinion that Ukrainian refugees must be turned over to the Soviets.(28)

Collaboration with the Nazis and service in the German armies, in fact fairly extensive, though the reasons for this were complex, was very much played down, in fact hardly mentioned in mainstream Ukrainian newspapers. In reaction to a Communist Ukrainian resolution branding Ukrainian refugees as Nazi collaborators, the Ukrainian newspaper stated that during the German occupation of the Ukraine, the Ukrainian people failed to produce a ‘quisling’ , and for this reason the Bolsheviks had no evidence to support their accusations. With regard to the SS Division “Galicia”, the editorial stated that the whole Division surrendered at the first opportunity to the British in Italy where they were still .located, and not in Germany ( 29)

In a message which it was hoped would reach government ears, another mainstream Ukrainian journal printed in bold type that “Three hundred thousand Ukrainian Canadians are waiting for the Government declaration similar to the one of President Truman”. ( 30)

House of Commons’ perceptions and recommendations with regard to immigration of refugees/DPs, 1945-1947: During this period, the House of Commons heard arguments for and against

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opening up immigration and admitting refugees and displaced persons.

A number of MPs spoke of the need for manpower in agriculture and mining and the benefit which would accrue to the Canadian economy from increased immigration. (31) Some MPs did not hide racist prejudices with regard to European immigrants, asserting that priority be given to British ex-servicemen and British slum dwellers over other Europeans. ( 32) For political reasons, with a view to not upsetting the French-English balance in Canada, and because of ingrained prejudices, Quebec representatives in the House tended to favour restricted immigration. Liberal MP Pierre Gauthier argued that  we should first think-of our young children, of our incapacitated soldiers, and veterans: Once their case is settled … a policy not of the open door but of restricted immigration, insisting on the most careful selection of the immigrants who are to be allowed to enter “our beautiful Canada”. Liguori Lacombe, independent MP from Laval – Two Mountains, insisted that there was no room in Canada for any immigrants.(33) MPs who served as spokesmen for the Ukrainian community argued that it was imperative that Ukrainian DPs be saved from repatriation, and that as anti-Communists they would make good citizens and a worthy contribution to Canadian life.(34)

A number of MPs spoke in the House in an effort to raise the government’s awareness of the displaced persons problem and the need for action. In February 1947, Alistair Stewart, MP for Winnipeg North, criticized Canada’s meagre efforts on behalf of European refugees, and in particular, discriminatory immigration policy towards Ukrainians, Poles and Jews. (35) A week later, w. Ross Thatcher, M.P. for Moose Jaw, lashed out at the

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appalling lack of humanitarian interest in the displaced and starving peoples of Europe… “I believe that Canada is pursuing a selfish and exclusive immigration policy which under the most liberal interpretation is self-destructive and internationally dangerous, (and characterized by)…smugness, selfishness and narrowmindedness…”(36)

While acknowledging difficulties in the way of expanding immigration, such as scarce transportation and housing, Thatcher, convinced that Canada needed a long term immigration policy, challenged the government to come up with a statement on Canada’s future immigration policy.

In March 1947, in one of the most comprehensive and eloquent addresses to the House on the issue, David Croll, one of the very few Jewish MPs in the House in the 1940s, foreshadowed a number of significant developments in immigration policy over the next few years. After criticizing the government’s lack of vision, and its inadequate immigration policies, he proceeded to propose a way forward. He stressed the uprooting and privations experienced by Europe’s refugees and displaced persons as a result of the war, including the plight of wartime foreign labourers in Germany, and the current condition of “enforced idleness…resentment and restlessness” in the camps. He spoke of the refusal of Poles., Balts and Ukrainians to be repatriated to Communist regimes, and the tragic homelessness of the Jews: Croll looked to the IRO as a solution to the problems posed by war refugees and displaced persons and urged Canada’s active participation in “the great social task before us.” He insisted,­ however, as did the IRO in its constitution, that -doors be closed to war criminals and traitors. Croll agreed with the government that

the refugee problem…an inevitable legacy of war is an international problem and it must be given an international solution. The United

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Nations, on the basis of their available space and their economic stability, must.be prepared to offer immediate haven to a million refugees. We must all do our share.(37)

Croll, moreover, tried to spell out what Canada’ s share might be. On the basis of room available and of Canada’s strong economy, Croll suggested that a minimum of 100,000 people could be taken into the country, who if properly selected, would strengthen rather than weaken the economy. In addition to close relatives and orphaned children who should be taken in on humanitarian as well as national-interest grounds, various types of needed workers could be selected 5000 domestics were needed, for example, and manpower was desperately needed in mining, agriculture, textiles and other industries. The problem, in Croll’s view, would be one of organization:

We must send our immigration teams to Europe at once with instructions to go ahead at full speed and with the fullest support from the government agencies concerned. This is not the time for administrative delays or departmental complexities. We are faced with an emergent situation which calls for the same bold planning we threw into our war effort. Present facilities patterned on our pre-war set-up are inadequate for the task. We must set up a large efficient immigrant processing department with ample powers. There will be labour department officials to designate what kind of people were wanted and where they can best be employed. There will be a medical group to examine refugees on the spot, including the use of
X- rays. There will be an administrative group to screen and document refugees and a transportation group to move them from the camps to Canada. There will be a reception group to receive then on arrival and distribute them to their destinations, and educational groups in the provinces must seep them in Canadianism.(38)

Most of these suggestions were in fact implemented in the course of the next few years.

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For MP Walter Tucker, a spokesman on behalf of Ukrainian DPs, the fact that DPs were in the camps was in itself proof that they were desirable, since by refusing repatriation they proved themselves to be anti-totalitarian and anti-Communist. Referring to a delegation of representatives of the Lutheran, Roman and Greek Catholic, Orthodox, and Mennonite churches who came to see Mackenzie King and Mr. Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources) to request a place of refuge for their brethren, Tucker designated the refugee problem a “national question, a question of Christianity”.(39)

Views presented to the Senate standing Committee on Immigration and Labour: The Senate Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour, reactivated in April 1946 with a mandate to review Canadian immigration policy and to determine as Senator Arthur Roebuck put it “whether Canada wanted, or needed, or could absorb vast numbers of foreigners”, was also asked to determine

the type of immigrants which should be preferred, including origin, training and other characteristics: the availability of such immigrants for admission: the facilities, resources and the capacity of Canada to absorb, employ and maintain such immigrants: and the
.appropriate terms and conditions of such admission.(40)

The Committee was chaired for two years by Senator Thomas Murdoch and subsequently by Senator Cairine Wilson, who had been the ardent organizer of the Canadian National Cornrnittee on Refugees (C.N.C.R.), one of the most active organizations pressing for liberalization of immigration policy. Great emphasis was placed in the briefs and hearings on the desirability or undesirability of admitting the various groups of DPs available for immigration to Canada. One influential spokesman was Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Hicks, who was with the Military Government Attachment

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working with DPs in Holland -and in Germany in 1945-1946. He provided a breakdown of the types and categories in July 1946, and again in May 1947, with characterizations as follows:

A. Baltic Peoples.
(a) Estonians. Mostly farmers and their families were an intelligent, cleanly and sturdy group of people.
(b) Latvians. A mixture of professional people from cities and farmers from rural areas. Mostly families. Well educated and a very fine type.
(c) Lithuanians. Predominately farmers and their families. Also a fine people and akin in many respects to the Estonians.
B. Poles. The majority were peasant farmers in family groups. Not more than 20 per cent were city dwellers of whom many were professional people. They were in general a sturdy people, but with a much lower standard of living than most of the other people with whom we had to deal. They contained a small minority of ruthless, dangerous bandits who were a continual menace to· law and order. These were mostly criminal types who had been taken from jails in Poland and put in concentration camps by the Germans. The Poles formed by far the largest group of people left in Germany.
c. Ukrainians. Predominantly farmers and their families. They were a sturdy lot, and more cleanly and more easily controlled than the Poles.
D. Yugoslavs. Almost exclusively male, and members of the Yugoslav army. The majority of those remaining were of officer or non-commissioned officer status. In general, they were a fine breed of men and most of them orig1nated in small towns and villages.
E. Czechs. There were very few left in Germany. A few hundred Czech Jews, mostly young women, who had not returned to Czechoslovakia.
F. Jews. There were still approximately 10,000 left in my area. They were predominantly of Polish origin and were not interested in returning to Poland. In the main, they were ex-concentration camp inmates and were largely unattached, i.e. not in family groups.


Personal Views.- The· Baltic peoples, Ukrainians, the majority of the Poles, and of the Yugoslavs left in Germany would make excellent settlers and ultimately, good citizens, in Canada. (41)

Lieutenant Hicks also pronounced himself as favouring the immigration of Volksdeutsche to Canada but declared categorically that he did not regard the estimated 10,000 Jewish DPs as desirable immigrants.(42)

Salient in the presentations and briefs presented to the Senate Standing Cammittee were ·the distinct ethnic preferences for groups liable and likely to have included war criminals and collaborators in their midst. Enemy alien background certainly did not detract from the desirability of preferred groups. Disapproving somewhat of the admission of the Polish veterans to Canada, the Honourable Mr. McGuire complained that “we are looking for immigrants, but we do not get any better immigrants than Poles”. His advice was that Canada should admit Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and Italians — “who should not be kept out of Canada because they were on the other side of the wall”.(43) England, it was noted, was mentioned as already admitting Germans and Italians.

A number of presentations to the Senate Standing Committee gave strong assurance that the DPs were “thoroughly screened by UNRRA as to their political views. They· are definitely anti-Nazi and· most certainly anti-Communist in every sense of the word.” (44) Another important report on screening of DPs was s bmitted to the Committee by T.J.. Keenan, an UNRRA officer in charge of screening in Kiel, Germany, where there were four large Ukrainian DP camps.(45) After describing the screening process instituted by UNRRA, he assured the Committee that “Canada can freely accept any displaced persons from UNRRA Assembly Centers” without fear of acquiring collaborators.(46)

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These assurances were, in fact, not warranted (as discussed at pages 87 to 91 above). Keenan urged that Canada open its doors to the DPs, mentioning the fact that the Allied Control Commission in Germany was “anxious to dispose of the DPs in the UNRRA camps as quickly as possible”. Apart from Canada’s economic needs, Keenan pointed to the moral obligations, in order of priority, to survivors, to former slave labourers, and to refugees of the smaller democratic nations, fleeing totalitarianism.

A category which did “not rate a high priority on the grounds of our moral obligation” for Keenan but who “should prove the most acceptable groups as immigrants” were the young men of Baltic origin conscripted into the German army: “they are well disciplined; they keep their own camps in good order; they are willing workers and are easily instructed in any new line of work. Emphasizing the attractiveness and the assimilability of the Balts, Keenan declared:

These refugee peoples resemble most closely the United Empire Loyalists who were driven from their homes to start life anew in the wilds of Canada. Of all the peoples that I have met abroad, this group would fit into our Canadian scheme of things the most readily, and would contribute the most to Canadian culture and to Canadian appreciation of the democratic way of life.(47)

He recognized, ·however, that bringing these people to Canada would entail irregularities since they were not eligible for admission under present immigration regulations:

because of what these people are, they will never reach Canadian economic grounds without a vast amount of perjury on the part of both themselves and the interviewing officials. If we are to get any of these refugee peoples to Canada, we must do so under a special scheme

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devised to meet their peculiar circumstances … Thus, we have two groups that do not fit into Canadian immigration policy without a specially planned scheme. (i.e. enemy aliens and Balts who served with the Nazi armies) (48)

While encouraging the immigration to Canada of Balts who served in the Nazi armies, Keenan gave the Senate Committee a very negative assessment of the Volksdeutsche:

Not only did these jackals share the plunder of the German arms, but also they took a lead in the liquidation of Jewish people in their native countries. When they killed Jewish people they were allowed to keep the jewelry and the small change while the factories and the good homes went to their Gestapo masters. These are the Volksdeutsche. They are people born in other countries of German blood, or of pretended German blood for many who aped the Germans were given the same “rights and privileges”! The Volksdeutsche were urged in radio broadcasting by Hitler himself to “come home to the Fatherland.” Hitler promised them Polish property and German citizenship even though their families had been born “in other countries for generations …” These Volksdeutsche have been displaced by their own greed and by their loyalty to the Fatherland. They are to-day making every effort to confuse themselves with the genuine displaced persons who are in the UNRRA Assembly Centres, awaiting resettlement.(49)

Spokesmen of German ethnic origin interceded on behalf of the Volksdeutsche from the Baltic countries. Robert Keyserling described to the Senate Committee the war time plight of forced evacuations of these people, lauded their qualities and emphasized the support accorded to them by various church groups, including the Catholic. ( 50) At. this time, as Keenleyside had pointed out to the House one year earlier, there were already channels in place for bringing Volksdeutsche to Canada, namely through the church organizations which were established specifically for this purpose. ( 51) ,

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Another series of presentations emphasized the excellent qualities of Balts which would make them ideal Canadian citizens, and the need to act quickly so as . to be able to pick these choice DPs and not be left with riff-raff, such as Jews. In response .to a question about the number of persons in the DP camps, Mr. Van Ark responded to the Senate Committee-in 1948

Pardon me for giving you a rough figure: 400,000 altogether, not speaking about the Jewish elements. Of the Gentiles, I would say there are 400,000. You have the pick today. You know there is talk about the United States government having a program of 400,000 per year. You know that gentlemen, do you not? (52)

Historical briefs on the Baltic refugees described the 1940 deportations to Siberia under Soviet occupation and large scale evacuations in fall 1944 when Balts fled the advancing Russian armies to Sweden and to the British and American zones in Germany. Given that the incentive was to elicit support for Baltic immigration and to make a completely positive impression, no mention was made in those briefs to the 1940 to 1944 period of German occupation, of service in the German armed forces or of collaboration with the Nazi killing campaign.(53)

Two years before the lifting in September 1950 of the enemy aliens ban on German nationals, the Senate Committee heard from one Senator, preoccupied with cold war considerations, that there should be.a change in policy:

We are letting Russia beat us in the “cold war”. If we are going to hold up the peace treaty with Germany and prevent this country securing any young Germans for this country, Russia is still winning the “cold war” against Canada. I do not think we can get any finer type of immigrant into this country, as they are “displaced persons” in the very true sense of the word. Their country has been given away.

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The experience we have had with people who employed the German prisoners is that they were a very, very superior type of workman.(54)

The Senate Committee heard two sets of opposing voices with regard to Ukrainian DPs. The pro-soviet Ukrainian and Polish spokesmen reiterated the Soviet line that the DPs in Germany were either war criminals or collaborators, or persons free to return to their homeland. They criticized Canada’s policy of ethnic preference, which substituted

immigration of people of a particular religious or political background for a policy of broad immigration based on Canada’s needs and perspectives. We submit that this type of “selective immigration” is contrary to Canada’s democratic traditions and insofar as it serves as a mask to cover the bringing over to Canada of the pro-Nazi remnants in Europe it is subversive and fraught with dangers to Canadian democracy and security.(55)

The Ukrainian Canadian Committee and several MPs who served as spokesmen for the broader Ukrainian Canadian community (Hlynka, Zaplitny, Tucker) rebutted the soviet-inspired presentations with the argument that it was the Soviet aim to brand anti-Communist Ukrainians as war criminals and Nazi collaborators.

Perceptions of the various groups of DPs and opinions about what government immigration policy should be in their regard were aired at the public hearings of the Senate Standing Committee — held annually through 1951; reports of and about the proceedings received wide press coverage and focussed public attention on the immigration issue.

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Impact of ethnic preferences on immigration policy and practice with regard to DPs/refugees

In the course of 1945-1947, perceptions in government circles with regard to the desirability of the various ethnic groups seeking admission to Canada crystallized. By mid-1947, when the principal immigration schemes began to operate on a significant scale, preferences were translated into decisions, at various official levels, to either admit or prohibit given categories of individuals.

As government officials were being sensitized to the issue of displaced persons and refugees, some groups, such as Slavs and even more so- Jews, continued to be considered as undesirable immigrants. Arguments from persistent lobbying groups for admission of. Volksdeutsche, Mennonites and Germans were- favourably received, even while the thrust of screening for Nazis and war criminals was directed towards them. Balts, who may very well have included war criminals in their midst, since circumstances repeatedly permitted them to evade screening for war criminal background, were the group about whom there were the fewest qualms and the greatest regard. DPs from the Baltic states succeeded in making a most favourable impression on American and Canadian visitors to the DP camps. One influential Canadian spokesman on behalf of the DPs was Lieutenant General Maurice Pope, head of the Canadian military mission in Germany, who advised in March 1946 that Canada ac quickly in selecting DPs so as to have the opportunity of selecting the most desirable ones.(56) The intended inference was made explicit in a memorandum attached to Pope’s letter prepared by Colonel S. Morley Scott, which reviewed British and American actions on behalf of refugees and assessed the groups of DPs available for immigration. Scott’s recommendations were that since inevitably some refugees will have to be admitted to Canada, that a

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‘Jew-Gentile’ proportion be determined, and that action should be taken quickly before the cream of Gentile DPs was skimmed off by others.(57) The message was made more explicit yet in the autumn of 1946, in a report by Scott on his inspection tours of the DP camps. The report ·ranked the DPs in descending order of pref.erence, beginning with the Balts and ending with the Jews, who were described as ‘lazy’ and ‘black marketeers’. He commended Ukrainians “unimaginative, industrious, conscientious peasants, very religious and without initiative” -­ as persons who would provide Canada with hard workers, who were less “ingenioµs and inventive” than Balts, but not given to the “haughty, temperamental and visionary” nature of the Pole and not nearly as “aggressively, self-assertive” as Jews.(58)

Massey, the Canadian High-Commissioner in London, similarly did not much like Jews or Poies. He too was very impressed by the Balts. After visiting a DP camp in Germany which was under the control of Canadian army authorities, Massey reported that In this camp there were about 1,500 Balts of all ages and of both sexes, most of them from Latvia…! am deeply impressed by the quality of these people who appear to be .industrious, clean, resourceful and well-mannered. The camp itself was a model of self-help, and I could not help feeling that of all the Europeans I have seen, these Balts would make the most admirable settlers.(59)

Government officials’ perceptions of the DPs could not but have been conditioned, and indeed reinforced, by these reports from official observers on the scene.

The evolution of immigration policy, 1946-1947

Pressure on the government to review its its immigration unskilled labour policy mounted as the need for skilled and unskilled labour increased. Pro-immigration arguments which began to gain

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currency included the following; that a large population would ensure continuing expansion of the economy; that mass production of goods would create new jobs; and that the immigrants could occupy uninhabited ·regions of the country, thereby improving national security and enhancing maintenance of a national identity. The pressure for modification of Canada’s immigration policy came from within government, from business leaders, the media, and, particularly, from ethnic and religious associations whose members wished to sponsor close relatives and co-religionists from displaced persons camps in Europe.

External Affairs officials especially, exposed to the international dimension of the DPs/refugee problem, felt a growing urgency for the government to undertake some action on behalf of DPs/refugees. That position was made clear in an October 1946 memorandum to Cabinet from Secretary of State for External Affairs, Louis St. Laurent:

The delegation might find itself in an embarrassing position if, in a discussion on the eventual disposition of refugees, it could refer only to Canada’s action in the past in admitting a few refugees or in revising the immigration regulations so as to admit the relations of residents in Canada. On the other hand, if it were possible to announce a practical plan for the resettlement of even a small number of refugees, the delegation might be able to influence in a very constructive way the consideration of the refugee question. (60)

In response to the growing pressures for a change in immigration policy, both from within and outside the government, a number of initial steps were taken in 1946-47 by the Cabinet and senior officials of concerned Departments Mines and Resources, Labour, External Affairs, Health and Welfare. An order-in-Council was passed on October 26, 1945 regularizing the status of some 3,500 European refugees who had entered Canada during the war years. These included civilian internees brought

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from Britain in 1940, and other Europeans, including a small number of· Jews transported to Canada from Portugal and Spain in 1944.

Interdepartmental ,consultations and proposals: The next stage, regarded by some as stalling, was one of preoccupation with long-range planning on immigration. Early in 1946, a Cabinet subcommittee was formed to consider the entire question of postwar immigration to Canada. Eventually a series of committees and subcommittees at the Cabinet, parliamentary, and departmental levels were established to monitor and regulate the immigration movement, the displaced persons/refugee movement in particular. An inter-departmental committee was created to consider the domestic implications of increased immigration. The recommendations of this Committee were expected to lead to policy decisions sometime i 1947.(61)

In a preliminary report, in April 1946, the Interdepartmental Committee pointed out that thousands of applications for admission to Canada were being received from British subjects and from continental Europeans who were displaced persons or refugees or persons dissatisfied with postwar conditions in Europe.

Amongst these prospective immigrants, it was noted, were some who “wish to bring substantial funds with them to this continent”.( 62) The
Interdepartmental Committee was of the opinion that desirable immigrants should be brought into Canada, but that only limited measures could be undertaken because of the scarcity of shipping space and the unsettled situation in Europe which would hinder re establfshment in a short time of an expanded immigration service.

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The Interdepartmental Committee therefore cautiously recommended as a short term measure admission of a limited number of approved persons for whom there was transport and who would be maintained and housed by relatives .The revisions to existing regulations proposed by the Committee consisted of a) expansion of the admissible close relatives class to include parents, unmarried children eighteen years of age or over, unmarried siblings and orphan nephews and nieces under age sixteen of Canadian residents and (b) provision for persons entering with sufficient capital to establish an essential industry. The Committee also recommended that a travel document establishing the identity of the holder be accepted in lieu of a passport ·for displaced persons not in possession of valid passports.(63)

Except the for the provision for persons with sufficient capital, recommendations were implemented. An order-in-council in May 1946 widened the categories of admissible relatives, and the government recognized provisional travel and identity documents acquired from appropriate international agencies in lieu of regular passports. In another step, the Prime Minister announced on November 7 emergency measures to bring refugees and displaced persons to Canada.

The move to admit first-degree relatives of persons in Canada, irrespective of whether. they were DPs or not, was intended to appear generous, but in fact there was still considerable scope for refusals within the scheme. While relatives from northern and western Europe soon began to arrive, applications from DP relatives in less preferred categories were simply filed away for a year or so, on the grounds that one had to await “the setting up ” of Canadian immigration offices in Germany, Austria and Italy which the Immigration Branch was in no hurry to do. When two immigration inspection teams were eventually assigned in March 1947 to the countries where DPs were

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assembled, they were deliberately understaffed, and included officials well-imbued with Immigration Branch’s tradition of restrictionism. Jews in particular were subjected· to “a full battery of tests, interviews, security checks, examinations and reviews” which resulted in almost none being approved.(64) IRO officials complained about the Canadians’ “extravagant and -unnecessary demands for detail” during this period.

One of the 1946 revisions — the recognition of travel documents for identity purposes had some bearing on the possible entry of war criminals to Canada. An April 1952 Canadian Visa Control memorandum from Bremen noted that until August 1951 people immigrating to Canada from Germany were issued by the Combined Travel Board (CTB), (Allied) Control Commission Germany ( CCG), with temporary Travel Documents (T.T.Ds.) which took the place of ordinary passports, and that

Applications for T.T.Ds. were made to the CTB not by the person concerned but in bulk py the Sponsoring Organization viz: – International Refugee Organization (IRO) or the Canadian Christian Council for Resettlement of Refugees (CCCRR).(65)

According to the document, checks were made with British and American intelligence sources before the T.T.Ds were issued. However, as discussed in various parts of this report, IRO screening practices, the CCCRR’s career and reputation with regard to membership in Nazi organizations and the unreliability of British and American intelligence checks would have permitted T.T.Ds to find their way to undeserving persons, at times with falsified information.

Retention of·German POWs in Canada: By arrangement with British authorities, German POWs were sent to work in Canada in the course of the war years. In May 1946, shortly before the time approached for their return to British authorities, there

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was a reluctance to have them leave because their labour was needed on Canadian farms.(66} In September 1946 discussions
focussed on the possibility of retaining a certain number. Of the 4207 German POWs in Canada at the time, it was reported that 60 per cent would very much like to stay. There was some hesitation, however, that

it may be very difficult for the Minister of Immigration to answer complaints from relatives and others who would point to the fact that former enemies were being allowed to remain in Canada as civilians, whereas, persons from Allied countries wishing to immigrate to Canada were not allowed entry.(67)

The retention of German POWs was discussed in conjunction with the proposed admission of the Polish veterans from the U.K. for work on Canadian farms. The retained POWs, it was felt, could be used for the much needed labour that winter in lumber camps. Cabinet therefore decided on December 3, 1946 that some two hundred POWs, selected for their “economic utility to the country”, be permitted to remain in Canada on the same terms accorded the Polish veterans then entering the country, provided that they were deemed ‘politically sound’ by Defence and Military Intelligence (D.M.I.}. It was also agreed that at least 500 and probably more would be found suitable both politically and from an employment point of view.(68}

No doubt many of these POWs were “politically sound”. There was exceedingly great pressure and haste, however, in carrying out the D.M.I.s screening. The list of those considered politically sound was to be drawn up by December 14 at the latest, and D.M.I. in fact reported before December 9 that 745 of the POWs were politically sound, and that of these 738 had volunteered to remain.(69) One may question the type of screening and checks which would have been possible in so short a time. Their terms of admission being analogous to those of the Polish

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veterans, one would assume that those POWs who so opted could have applied for immigrant status if they were still in Canada in September 1950 when the ban on admissions of enemy aliens was lifted.

    The Polish Veterans scheme:

Canada’s restrictionist immigration policy continued until mid-1947. In one, exceptional, bolder initiative, which was to set the precedent for the ‘bulk labour’ schemes developed in the following years, admission for non-immigrant farm labourers was approved in July 1946 by an order-in council for some four thousand Polish ex-servicemen who had served with the General Anders’ army and who found themselves in the United Kingdom at the end of the war. After a two year period, these individuals were free to discontinue or renew their contracts. The majority chose not to do so applied for immigrant status and migrated to urban centres.( 70)

The Polish immigration scheme emerged at a meeting of High Commissioners in London on April 12, 1946 at which British officials had urged that action be taken to resettle the veterans of the Polish Free Army, and committed themselves to absorbing a certain number of these Poles in Britain. Massey, though expressing a definite dislike for Poles, recommended that Canada admit some 4000 Poles who, in his view, would provide a replacement for the departing German POWs who had been working on Canadian lumber camps and farms. Ottawa approved the scheme one month later, and the program was _in place by mid-July. It was made known that Cabinet had instructed careful security screening to insure that no “subversives” slipped through with this group. In testimony before the Deschenes Commission, however, Joseph Robillard stated that in his first assignment with Immigration Branch — the processing of 2000 soldiers from Anders Army, there was “no security screening”. If they worked on farms for two years in Canada, they would be granted immigrant status.(71)

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There was some negative reaction, expressed by several MPs in the House of Commons, to the admission of the Polish veterans, revealing a definite bias against Poles and others, but also some concern about “admitting people who fought with the enemy forces during the war”. MP John Blackmore asked why these soldiers were being allowed in, and wondered whether they were displacing “good British names”, as had already happened in parts of the West. He queried further whether they were fascists? Were they Protestants, atheists, Roman Catholic or Judaistic? on
which he commented:

We have enough internationalists already[???] I have had unfortunate experiences with groups of people who settle in communities and cannot be changed into Canadians, who insist on keeping their own language and culture and going on from generation to generation. That is not good.(72)

J.A. Glen, the Minister of Mines and Resources, responded that these Poles in fact fought against Nazism — but as a precaution they would be spread across the country. Similarly, T.L. Church, MP for Broadview, also expressed resentment at the fact that Poles were being brought in at a time when there was a lack of ships for bringing in British immigrants. Furthermore, he objected to the government bringing in Polish soldiers who were volunteers “on the side of Germany” fighting against British and Canadian forces in Italy, as “was shown in the British House of Comrnons”.(73)

Though it would have seemed unlikely that Nazi collaborators would have found their way into the Polish Free army, there were allegations made before the Senate Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour by a spokesman for pro-soviet Polish groups in Canada, that General Anders recruited ‘Fascist’ Poles who had served in the Wehrmacht.( 74) In fact, as a desperate measure, the Germans in late 1944 recruited Poles not necessarily Fascists — into the Wehrmacht. A former Polish

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Minister Plenipotentiary defended the Polish veterans before the Senate Committee, declaring that they were forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht or the Todt organizations and took the first opportunity to escape to join the Allies.( 75) There were later stronger allegations made in the United States largely unsubstantiated about war criminals amongst the Polish soldiers.(76)

It may be presumed that these allegations have never been investigated. It was also held to be most unlikely that there would have been communists in the group since its members were particularly adamant about not returning to Soviet-dominated Poland after the war. Jewish members of the Polish army were carefully screened out. Of the first 1,700 Polish veterans to arrive in Canada it was reported that only one was a Jew.(77)

Immigration policy and programs for DPs, 1947-1952

Changes in 1947:

The initial measures which opened the doors to a very limited number of displaced persons and refugees did not satisfy the pro-immigration forces. As post-war prosperity became more evident and the need for manpower more pressing, support for broadening immigration policy increased. The immigration debate, meanwhile, intensified, following considerable discussion in the media and . the numerous representations and briefs which came before the Senate Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour.

External Affairs officials, particularly those who had been stationed in Europe, were more keenly aware of the dimensions of the European refugee problem, and a number of MPs, sensitive to the concerns of the ethnic groups, urged the liberalization of Canada’ s immigration policies. Other persistent voices for a liberalized immigration policy continued

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to come from the business and banking communities who argued that unskilled or semi-skilled immigrants who would be employed in agriculture, in the extraction industries and in construction would permit native-born Canadians to embark upon more appealing vocational opportunities. They argued, too, that increased population would lessen transportation and production costs. The media, particularly the Toronto Globe and Mail, was by this time very critical of the government’s restrictionist immigration policy. By 1947, the opposition to increased immigration was on the defensive.

Organized labour continued to express concern that an influx of immigrant labourers might displace Canadian workers, and advocated increased immigration only if it did “not introduce skills already plentiful in Canada.” The shortage of manpower in natural -resources, construction and related industries, however, led to meetings in December 1946 between representatives of these industries with officials of the Department of Labour and Immigration Branch. As a result, with the opening of additional processing stations in Europe in January 1947, Canadian immigration teams were processing not only sponsored relatives but also miners, lumbermen and construction workers, though on a limited scale. The Departments involved in the Interdepartmental Committee on Immigration were by early 1947 submitting their assessments and recommendations with regard to immigration policy. The report prepared by the Department of Labour asserted that prospective immigrants would engage in the types of manual labour generally eschewed by Canadians, and that the economy needed increased population. The report recommended the admission of 50,000 immigrants annually — a number which the Department judged could be readily absorbed into the economy.

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The report from External Affairs focussed on Canada’s international obligations and image: on humanitarian considerations: and on reasons and need for speedy action so as to be in a position to select the best immigrants.

Immigration Branch balked somewhat at these developments, which seemed to threaten its jurisdiction, and there was some tension between the various departments, each of which approached the issue from its own perspective and interests.(78)

Ethnic preference, meanwhile, continued to be a very weighty consideration and continued to dictate a restrictionist policy. The· pros and cons of implementing a quota system for immigrants of various national backgrounds, in such a way as not to appear discriminatory, but in effect to retain selectivity, was raised in a February 1947 memorandum to Cabinet.(79)

A 14-page undated, unsigned “Confidential” study offering “Draft Proposals for Immediate Measures to Regulate Immigration into Canada” stated that, as the American experience had shown, the quota system could solve the problem of increasing immigration, while controlling numbers and qualifications, assuring a predominance of British, American and desirable European immigrants, and avoiding a basis of selection expressed
in terms of racial or national discrimination. This. could be achieved, the study advocated, by basing the quota system on the racial origins of the Canadian population rather than on the proportions of the foreign-born, “in order not to disturb too radically the present population balance”.(80) For public relation purposes, the study recommended that total figures for quota immigration not be publicized, so as not to arouse opposition. With regard to DPs, the study tentatively suggested that either for a short period of one year (or two years), or up

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to a specific total, “it would probably be desirable to have a special non-quota group to cover displaced persons…on the grounds of the emergency character of the situation. (81)

The . Minister of Mines and Resources (J .A. Glen) then recommended, in a March 1947 Memorandum to Cabinet, that admissible relatives now include DPs and that special provision be made for the admissions of persons coming under group labour movements, such as farm labourers or domestic servants, and under assured sponsored employment. Glen further recommended that an Interdepartmental committee on Immigration be established to assure smooth implementation of these provisions.(82)

The various pressures and recommendations culminated in a landmark statement by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on May 1, 1947 which drew the main lines of postwar immigration policy for Canada. The policy statement was drafted by Gordon Robertson, Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister, and redrafted by J. W. Pickersgill, Mackenzie King’s special assistant, before being submitted to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The opening words of the statement set out the main lines of a careful policy of selectively increasing immigration based on economic development needs and ethnic preference:

The policy of the government is to foster the growth of the population of Canada by the encouragement of immigration. The government will seek by legislation, regulation and vigorous administration, to ensure the careful selection and permanent settlement of such numbers of immigrants as can be advantageously absorbed in our national economy.(83)

An important condition for “population growth through immigration” was that no “fundamental alteration” was to be made in the character of the Canadian population. In this regard,

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large-scale immigration from Asia was specifically rejected, but the implication of this principle for other non-preferred ethnic groups — such as Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians — was not missed by immigration officials in the years immediately following.

Pressure from MPs, transportation companies, public servants, and, especially religious and ethnic groups in Canada finally had an impact. While humanitarian considerations shaped some people’s perspectives with regard to the more than a million displaced persons and refugees in Europe, it was the economic and political considerations which finally led to the adoption by the government of some concrete measures. The arguments that the expanding economy needed additional manpower and that an increased population would provide a large consumer market for goods produced in Canada persuaded C.D. Howe, a dominant figure and the Minister of Reconstruction responsible for Development, and to become an outspoken advocate of increased innnigration, including immigration of DPs. On the advice of the Interdepartmental Committee on Immigration and Labour, the Cabinet issued several orders-in-council which, over a period of. fifteen months starting from June 6, 1947, raised the quotas for entry of DPs from 5000 to 40,000, many of whom ·moved to Canada via the bulk labour scheme. These quotas did not include persons· from DP camps who were sponsored by close relatives in Canada. While national economic self-interest motivated the change in Canadian. government policy with regard to immigration from mid-1947 onwards, discrimination on ethnic grounds was to determine which individuals would in fact be admitted.

The development and introduction of special immigration programs, 1947-1952

Apart from the regular flow of immigration structured in terms of the established categories, three principal special immigration programs or ‘schemes’ operated from 1947 through

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which the vast majority of the displaced. persons and refugees entered Canada over the following five year period. These programs, implemented in close cooperation with the IRO or with accredited church organizations, included the close relatives scheme, the sponsored labour/bulk labour scheme, and the church sponsored programs, which, in fact, linked up with the first two schemes.

Prospective immigrants whose applications had. been approved by Ottawa for any of these schemes were processed by mobile teams functioning with rather inadequate facilities throughout the British and American zones in Western Europe, assisted by the L LC. R. and later the IRO. I. G.C.R. or IRO officers would locate and assemble DPs whose applications were already approved, and Canadian teams would then proceed to medically examine and politically screen them. The IRO would then transport them to transit camps from which oceanic transportation would be arranged, expenses being covered by· the IRO — which was funded in part by the Canadian government.

By August 1947 some 16,000 displaced persons were approved under the close relatives scheme and some 10,000 under the bulk labour movement.(84) In August 1947, after the establishment of the Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees, arrangements were also already under way to apply these immigration schemes to admissible persons who did not come within tne mandate of the IRO, such as Volksdeutsche, German nationals who had opposed the Nazi regime, German fiancees of Canadian servicemen, and German and Austrian wives and minor children of legal residents of Canada.

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a) The Close Relatives Scheme:

The Canadian government was under continuous pressure immediately after the war from ·Canadian residents who wished to bring close relatives £rom the DP camps to Canada. One of the first measures taken in broadening immigration policy was the expansion of the category of admissible close relatives in May 1947 to include — in addition to wives and children under age 18 and fiancees parents, unmarried children over age 18, siblings, spouses, fiances of both sexes, and orphaned · nephews and nieces under age 16 of Canadian residents able to receive and care for such relatives. A further extension in September 1948 made provision for dependents of DPs who had already arrived. As soon as these relatives arrived in Canada and became legal residents, they were in a position to apply for other admissible relatives.· After the first Canadian immigration office opened in Germany in 1947, the delays _in the close relative immigration movement, due to administrative problems in Europe and scarci y of transport, diminished.(85)

Emotional requests on humanitarian grounds vied with the government’s longstanding official policy of· “maintaining the existing ethnic and racial composition of the country”.(86)

After the expansion of the close relatives category of admissible immigrants and Mackenzie King’s announcement in the House that applications would be received from close relatives of European refugees, over 30,000 applications reached Immigration Branch, of which a considerable proportion were for Volksdeutsche refugees whose Canadian families sought their admission to Canada.(87 ) An important consideration for the government in this regard was that Canada had a commitment to assist in the resettlement of persons internationally regarded as being permanently displaced by war- in other words, persons who came

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under the protection and jurisdiction of the IRO and its predecessors. Ethnic Germans, however, were outside the IRO’s mandate, and, as many had acquired German nationality during the war, their status as ‘enemy aliens’ was also at issue, as were allegations regarding their active collaboration with the Nazi regime.

Canadians of German extraction constituted at this time the largest ethnic minority in Canada after English and French Canadians. Because the Volksdeutsche were not eligible for DP status and were therefore not afforded access to the IRO’s facilities and transportation arrangements, and because of uncertainty about their status, applications from Canadian residents on behalf of close relatives who were ethnic Germans piled up at Immigration Branch, much to the annoyance of their prospective sponsors in Canada.

Very quickly, however, efforts on behalf of the Volksdeutsche were effectively organized by Canadian German ethnic organizations and church groups, with some high-level support in clearing obstacles. The role of church groups in Canada, especially the CCCRR, in influencing changes in Canadian immigration policy, particularly with regard to relaxation of restrictions on former members of the Nazi Party and of Nazi organizations, and in bringing large numbers of ethnic Germans and German nationals to Canada from 1947 to 1955 deserves attention in its own right, and is described at pages 154 to 161 and in Chapters V and VIII below.

b) The Bulk Labour Scheme

The most extensive of the immigration programs for bringing DPs to Canada was the sponsored labour program and its broadened version, the ‘bulk labour’ scheme.

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The ‘Polish’ resettlement scheme, which had proved successful, did not solve the still acute shortage of labour in some basic industries, and was soon looked upon as a model for bringing – in other groups of labourers to Canada. The Deputy Minister of Labour reported on December 6, 1946 that as of December 1, 1946 there was a shortage of approximately 45,000 men, mostly in the lumber and mining industries. It was estimated that Canada should absorb some 20,000 heavy labourers a year for the next five years.(88) One solution offered was the· placement of selected groups of workers from the DP camps in Europe in industries which needed labourers.

An Interdepartmental Immigration-Labour Committee was established on March 27, 1947 to advise the Cabinet Committee on Immigration with regard to immigration of displaced persons and others.(89) The repeal in April 1947 of the order-in-council which had prevented contract labour from being brought into Canada, permitted the Department of Labour to assume an important role in these programs. Represented on the Immigration-Labour Committee were the Immigration Branch and the Departments of Labour, External Affairs and Health and Welfare, with the Deputy Minister of Labour acting as chairman. The Committee’s mandate was to monitor the admission of DPs under various labour programs, and to approve the admission of given numbers of DPs according to existing labour requirements.

The process involved in the ‘bulk labour’ scheme was simple: potential employers such as logging, lumbering or mining firms — would forward an application to the Department of Labour requesting that a specified number of labourers be brought into Canada under pre-arranged employment contracts covering wages, housing and basic conditions. A committee consisting of government and industry representatives would then decide on the

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number and types of workers. who could be readily absorbed, following which a selection team would travel to the DP camps to screen and process people who might fit the pre-selected occupational categories, with the help of IRO officials. Dr. Hugh Keenleyside, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources (in effect, of Immigration), who played a central role in the implementation of the scheme, described the procedure as, follows in the House:

The manufacturer, industrialist or group of industrialists, in Canada who need labour, make a request to the Department of Labour, or to the Immigration Branch, for assistance from the DP camps, stating the number they want, the conditions under which they will be employed, and when they will be ready to take them. That request is then screened by the inter departmental committee known as the Immigration Labour committee, on which the Department of External Affairs, and the Department of National Health and Welfare are also represented. If the screening shows that the request is a sound one, looking at it from the standpoint of both employer and employees, the Immigration-Labour Committee recommends that it be accepted. Approval is sent overseas by the Immigration Branch to our officer in Germany, who is in charge of our selection teams. These selection teams consist of an immigration officer, a labour officer, and a national health officer, and also a representative of the RCMP for screening on security grounds. The team, having received an application for the admission of say a thousand wood workers, go to the camp or camps·, where they think the workers are most likely to be available, announce that Canada is prepared to give employment to a thousand persons in that category and receive applications from the individuals who want to come to Canada on those terms. The screening is then proceeded with. As the thousand persons are obtained they are put on the first available ships and sent over here. The movement is carried out at the expense of the International Refugee Organization.(90)

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C. D. Howe, at the time also Acting Minister of Mines and Resources, played a central role in keeping up the momentum behind the bulk labour movement. In a June 1947 memorandum to Cabinet he recommended Cabinet approval for the admission of 1400 woodworkers, 2000 craftsmen for the clothing industry and 2000 persons for domestic work in homes, hospitals and similar institutions.(91) Further recommendations, such as those
contained in another memorandum to Cabinet from Howe in September 1947, provided for 5000 men for heavy industry, construction and lumber camps and 2000 women for domestic work.(92) Single girls who· came in under the domestic scheme could soon apply for the admission of their entire immediate families as ‘close relatives’ , and it was common practice for the entire family to be pre-examined with the single girl. Additional proposals for ‘bulk labour’ immigration came from Keenleyside, who recommended further numbers of woodworkers, domestics and groups of Estonians.(93)

The bulk-labour program was soon expanded to include other types of labourers and specialized agricultural workers, such as sugar-beet farmers who came in family groups for settlement.in western Canada. According to statistics presented to the Senate Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour, some 47,000 workers were brought to Canada in these group movements between 1947 and 1951. Once in Canada as legal residents, these persons were in a position to bring in other immigrants under the. ‘close relatives’ scheme, resulting in the admission of over 100,000 DPs to Canada through the labour immigration program.

Following the precedent· set in the Polish scheme, Canadian employers and government· officials discreetly excluded Jews from this large scale movement of DPs through the ‘bulk labour’ or ‘sponsored labour’ programs — with the exception of the specialized programs organized in Jewish circles for tailors and furriers. This fact, specifically confirmed by IRO officials

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at the time of an investigation of discriminatory practice in the DP camps, led to charges that it seemed easier for war criminals to get into Canada than for Jews. Canadian officials may have rationalized- their discrimination against Jews in bulk labour recruitement. on the grounds that Jewish DPs, who suffered most at the hands of the Nazis, were perhaps least suited for intense physical labour of the type required by the schemes.

Gentile intellectuals and professionals were similarly discriminated against. It is difficult, however, to understand why Jewish girls were recruited in the ‘Domestics Programs’ for placement in Jewish homes and institutions.

The processing of ‘bulk labour’ immigrants was a very. pressured operation. Sponsoring employers in Canada wanted the numbers they were requesting without delay, and the demand for labourers was far greater than Canadian officials’ ability to complete transportation and processing arrangements. This had a definite impact on the security screening process (as discussed at pages 190 to 202 below) . Immigration through this channel slowed down somewhat in the summer of 1948 as the demand for labourers was more or less fulfilled, and the Displaced Persons Act opened up immigration to the United States, making Canada only a second choice for many potential immigrants. In competition with the U.S. for European immigrants, Canadian officials urged that regulations be relaxed and that action be taken without delay so- that displaced. persons could be selected in accordance with stated ethnic preferences.

The ‘ bulk labour’ movement, which was a special program, an exception to existing immigration legislation rather than part of a normal immigration flow, did not escape criticism from both pro and anti-immigration forces. One Canadian daily newspaper referred to the· bulk labour program as a “paltry” scheme allowing employers to recruit labour on a plan of

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“semi-servitude, utterly at variance with Canadian notions of human rights and freedoms.”94) Others argued that the government was treating the DPs as “an economic commodity rather as people requiring humanitarian programs”.(95) The Canadian Labour Movement and the CCF disapproved of-the government schemes which they saw as undercutting wage rates and potentially displacing Canadians from positions of employment. The IRO Director General expressed some criticism of the Canadian government’s immigration policy with regard to DPs/refugees, referring to the ‘bulk labour scheme’ as 11looking upon the refugees as just so much labour fodder”.(96) What he criticized in particular was the stringency in medical requirements and in rejection criteria for political reasons. With the primary goal being the resettlement of as many DPs as possible, as quickly as possible, the IRO pressured the Canadian government to open its doors more widely and to exercise greater leniency in security screening of individuals.

c) Church Sponsorship:

There was dissatisfaction with the existing close relatives scheme and with the bulk labour schemes amongst relatives of those who were still outside the IRO mandate — in particular, the Volksdeutsche and certain Baltic groups who were excluded from the IRO mandate because they were ethnic Germans or because they had served with the German armies. Assisted by voluntary agencies and church groups, an estimated 800,000 refugees of Germanic origin or of German nationality provided a large pool of prospective immigrants to Canada and elsewhere.

A number of Canadian ethnic and religious groups — in particular, Lutheran, Mennonite, German Baptist and catholic groups organized relief assistance from 1946 on for their co-religionist DPs who were outside the IRO mandate. When in

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late 1946, Robert Keyserlingk applied for registration, under the War Charities Act, of the Baltic Relief Fund, it became clear that the fund was intended only for Balts of Germanic ethnic background who had acquired German nationality during the war, and who subsequently found themselves “stateless” and in Germany. C.H. Payne, Deputy Minister of the Department of National War Services and External Affairs officials Pearson and Gordon Riddell were perturbed by the misleading nature of the name of the fund.

We made the objection quite strongly that the term “Baltic” was misleading and that either Keyserlingk should make it clear that his Fund included non-Germans from ·Baltic areas or. he should change the title.(97)

After persistent representations from External Affairs, the group finally changed its name to “Baltic Refugees in Central Europe”, which was also considered to be misleading. However, because of “the support which Keyserlingk had”, Payne stated that he was unwillingly to pursue the matter any further. The source of that support is alluded to in a letter from Keyserlingk to Payne, in which he mentions that he

had opportunity to discuss this whole aspect privately with His Excellency Viscount Alexander who is quite familiar with that situation and has been following it very closely. He has mentioned to me that references about the Balts could be referred to him, naturally in his private capacity only.(98)

A letter from Viscount Alexander to Louis St. Laurent, then Secretary of State for External Affairs, makes clear the high-level interest on behalf of German Balts. Seeking advice regarding a message he had drafted in response to Keyserlingk’s request for support for the Baltic Relief Committee, the Governor-General stated:


I am not only willing, but should like to help in any way I can, because I know many of these Balts and have good friends amongst them of many years standing.(99)

The strategy followed by the German Canadian religious/ ethnic organizations was to impress upon government officials the plight of their brethren in Europe, to gain government approval for delivery of supplies to the camps inhabited by ethnic Germans, and then to press for their admission through close relatives or sponsored labour immigration programs.

Thus, for example, the Canadian Lutheran World Relief Society received in February 1946 government., authorization to distribute relief supplies to Lutheran refugees — these being primarily of Baltic Germanic origin and then lobbied successfully for the admission of a number of Lutherans as close-­ relatives or sponsored labourers. Later, from 1948 to 1955, the group lobbied government officials, either independently or through the CCCRR with which it was affiliated, for relaxation of restrictions on enemy aliens, Waffen-SS and SS members.(100)

Baptist groups in Canada similarly organized aid for their refugee brethren in Europe. From the summer of 194 7, H. Streuber, a leader of the Baptist community from Winnipeg, initiated a program to assist Canadian relatives in the preparation of the IMM 55 forms {for sponsored immigrants) on behalf of Baptist ethnic German relatives in Europe. (101)

The Canadian Christian Council for Resettlement of Refugees (CCCRR)

In June, 1947·, T.O.S. Herzer, a key figure in the mobilization of efforts on behalf of ethnic Germans and German nationals, brought the various interested groups together with representatives of transportation companies and government

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officials, and founded the Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees (CCCRR) with the specific task of promoting and assisting the immigration to Canada of refugees who were outside the mandate of the I.G.C.R. or the IRO.(102)

The story of the CCCRR, an umbrella organization representing Baptist, Lutheran, Mennonite and Catholic church groups of predominantly Germanic origin, is closely linked to changes in government policy with regard to- admitting enemy aliens, and former members of the-Nazi Party, of the Waffen-SS, and of other Nazi organizations. (The career and impact of the CCCRR on Canadian immigration policy is described in Chapters V and VIII of this report).

During the period of peak immigration from 1946 to 1955, 169,073 immigrants of German ethnic origin, of whom 132,265 held German citizenship, came to Canada (see p.220 below). By 1953 some 30,000 ethnic Germans and German nationals came to Canada with the assistance of the CCCRR.(103) The CCCRR’s leadership enjoyed an excellent rapport with senior government officials and with immigration and security screening officers in key positions in Europe, as well as with the colonization departments of the Canadian railways. The organization was therefore in a position to act effectively to circumvent or to effect change to regulations on behalf of prospective German immigrants and was, as well organized to make concrete arrangements for actively bringing them to Canada. In his testimony before the Deschenes Commission, Joseph Robillard, Chief of the Canadian Immigration Mission in Germany and Austria in the early 1950s, attested to the immigration officers’ considerable dependence on voluntary agencies, a principal one being the CCCRR–for information on prospective immigrants.(104)

Following the Rauca investigation, when names of alleged war criminals were brought forward from Germany, Department of Justice memoranda indicated that a number of the

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individuals under investigation had come into the country in the same manner as Rauca — some, indeed, on the same ocean passage with Rauca as refugees sponsored by the CCCRR.

The CCCRR, 1947-1949: The CCCRR was founded in June 1947 as a result of the efforts of Herzer, the Director of a CPR land subsidiary and an active Lutheran layman. Herzer had consulted with H.C.P. Cresswell, Chief Commissioner of the Department of Immigration and Colonization of the Canadian Pacific Railways, concerning the plight of ethnic German immigrants to Canada, contacted the various German ethnic groups interested in resettling Volksdeutsche refugees in Canada, and lobbied Immigration Branch officials in this regard. The founding meeting, held June 23 and 24 at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, brought together representatives of the churches –including the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, the German Baptist Immigration and Colonization Society, the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, and the Catholic Immigration Aid society with representatives of transportation companies and government officials. The stated purpose of the CCCRR was “to assist in the immigration to Canada of those refugees who do not come within the mandate of the IGCR or the IRO” primarily ethnic Germans and German nationals.

The agenda of the group was ambitious: to take over, under its own jurisdiction, a considerable number of steps of the immigration procedure, including chartering of ships and establishing its own overseas mission in Germany which would contact nominated immigrants, provide Temporary Travel Documents (T.T4Ds),’ and undertake preliminary medical examitiation and screening for prospective immigrants.(105) Remarkably, within a few months, these aims were largely achieved. The argument

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presented was that the barrjer with regard to Volksdeutsche refugees was simply that they were technically not Displaced Persons, and that as a result

there had been no refugees, no people of the so-called “Volksdeutsche” corning on the various ships unless they had somehow been able to convince the authorities overseas, principally the IGCR that they were, technically, Displaced Persons. Now that these refugees are legally admissible to Canada if nominated by relatives the problem has arisen as to who is to process them. Mr. Herzer stated that it had been proposed overseas that since IGCR could not process these refugees, being restricted to the handling of Displaced Persons, a committee should be set up – similar to IGCR to undertake this work.(106)

Initially, government officials hesitated in offering official recognition and assistance to the CCCRR, lest a precedent be set for other religious organizations.(107) In November 1947, however, Cabinet approved the following formula to explain the CCCRR’s relationship to the government:

From time to time the Canadian Government, through its Department of Mines and Resources, accepts the offer of cooperation and assistance from Canadian voluntary welfare organizations for the purpose of seeking out and assembling for inspection prospective immigrants who are admissible to Canada under the Canadian Immigration Regulations. These persons for the most part are not Displaced Persons within the mandate of PCIRO, although some of them do come within the mandate. The Canadian Government would appreciate any assistance and cooperation which can be afforded to these Bodies by the Control authorities (PCIRO, etc) in order that they may carry out the above-mentioned tasks more effectively.(108)

The CCCRR also received governmental authorization to have church representatives go to Germany in order to locate Volksdeutsche refugees who had close relatives in Canada. These


representatives would assemble, process and present potential immigrants for medical inspection and political screening by Canadian immigration teams, in many instances providing a pre-screening service undertaken by their own staff. A rumour that the Allied Control Commission for Germany was about to label the Volksdeutsche as German nationals, which would render them ineligible for admission to Canada as enemy aliens, intensified the efforts of these representatives and their staffs. H.H. Erdmann, the Lutheran representative on the CCCRR, spent much of 1947 in Europe assessing the situation and arranging for a reception camp for Volksdeutsche refugees in the British zone. (109)

Though large numbers of Volksdeutsche refugees were assembled with remarkable efficiency and speed, refugees falling under the IR0 mandate still hadpriority for transportation arrangements. The CCCRR then pressed the government to help bring the already visaed refugees to Canada more promptly. CCCRR representatives met with government officials and proposed three possibilities: that the Canadian government urge the IR0 to include the Volksdeutsche in its mandate; that the Canadian government itself absorb CCCRR operations in Germany; or that financial assistance be provided to the CCCRR to carry out the administrative and transportation arrangements more efficiently. The Canadian government’s response was that it would consider financial assistance, but warned that this assistance should not be interpreted as cons ti tu ting governmental sponsorship of the overseas program of the churches, since such sponsorship would involve “assuming responsibility for the acts of this and similar associations, recognized by the Department of Mines and Resources for immigration work in Germany”. ( 110) A possible ·intent of this precaution was to preclude other such organization engaged in immigration work in Germany — such as the Ukrainian Canadian Committee or the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society — from applying


for similar government assistance. The government also set aside space for 400 Volksdeutsche to be brought in monthly on the Beaverbrae, acquired as part of the reparations assessment with Germany.

After visiting refugee centres for Volksdeutsche and German nationals in the British and American zones of Germany, Herzer presented in January 1948 a brief to the Minister of Mines and Resources describing the difficulties experienced by refugees declared ineligible for IRO assistance. By this time one hundred Volksdeutsche had already been brought to Canada as a result of .the “utmost cooperation of the IRO, the Canadian government, British occupation authorities, officials at Canada House, Cunard and CCCRR staff”.(111) The government’s designation of the Beaverbrae for CCCRR’s use had greatly increased the prospects for bringing to Canada far greater numbers of refugees who were outside the IRO mandate.

Herzer complained, however, that there were not enough Canadian Inspection Officers available for processing the large number of prospective immigrants outside the IRO’s jurisdiction. He therefore suggested that the CCCRR provide some of their own people who might be attached to the Canadian inspection teams. He pointed out that more than half of the refugees approved under the Close Relatives Scheme were ineligible for IRO assistance, and that the government should assist the CCCRR, a voluntary organization with limited resources, in facilitating the way for what had become the majority of immigrants coming under the Close Relatives schemes — an undertaking which, Herzer stated, was in any case essentially a Canadian domestic issue.(112)

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and Austria, and recommending, that Cabinet approve a $100,000 grant for the CCCRR’s operating expenses in 1948.(113) The Cabinet accepted Glen’s recommendations, stipulating that the CCCRR bring in 5000 immigrants during 1948. It was decided, however, to omit specific reference to the fact that the immigrants in question would be for the most part of German ethnic origin, and to replace reference to the specific agency employed (i.e. the CCCRR) by “such agency as you may approve”.(114) After several months, the recommendation was revised in August to accord a $100,000 grant over 10 months, stipulating a minimum of 700 immigrants per month.(115) The CCCRR’s fulfillment of its undertaking to the government to bring in the stated number of immigrants gained it a renewal of the grant at the rate of $10,000 per month for the next 12 months starting in April 1948.

As the numbers of those eligible under the close relatives scheme began to dry up, the CCCRR, in a further initiative in late 1948, petitioned the government to permit bringing to Canada “brethren of the member religious organizations” who were without close relative sponsors in Canada. The CCCRR fe.lt that they could now broaden their scope, given that the Baltic Volksdeutsche were by this time included within the IRO mandate, permitting them to concentrate on remaining Volksdeutsche and German nationals. Ari important consideration both for the CCCRR and the government was the financial advantage of filling the Beaverbrae to capacity for the regularly scheduled monthly sailings.(116)

One avenue for broadening the scope of the CCCRR was suggested to the government in January 1949 by one of the affiliate groups of the CCCRR the Canadian Lutheran World Relief Organization which proposed that the volunteer organizations engage in the selection of immigrants from amongst refugees outside the IRO’s jurisidiction on an occupational basis. The proposal was that each of the affiliate organizations

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of the CCCRR select 1000 young persons under a blanket permit and on the organization’s guarantee of employment, or on sponsored applications, and that these persons could then be in a position to bring in their families under the ‘close relatives’ scheme. It was also suggested that the close relatives categories be further expanded to include nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles and cousins.(117) The Mennonites group similarly requested that it be authorized to select immigrants on an occupational basis.(118)

In response to these representations the government’s Immigration Labour Committee dismissed the prospect that the close relatives class would be enlarged “merely for the purpose of affording entry to groups brought to Canada by religious organizations”.( 119) However, with regard to authorizing these organizations to select immigrants on an occupational basis, the Committee responded positively, but suggested that in order to allay criticism, applications brought forward through the religious organizations should be cleared through the Dominion – Provincial Farm Labour Committee or the National Employment Service.(120) It was felt that in this way the active role of the CCCRR in .the bulk labour schemes could be camouflaged. In mid-January 1949, the CCCRR received permission to bring five hundred farm and wood workers to Canada with the promise that additional movements would be permitted if the initial group proved to be successful. At a meeting in February 1949, CCCRR executive officials proudly announced the official recognition of their new status as not merely a relief agency, but an immigration agency working in conjunction with the Canadian government:

Whereas at voluntary religious interested ineligible its inception it was made up of agencies representing various groups and ethnic communities, primarily in the welfare of refugees under the IRO, it has now become the

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official agency for groups interested in relief and immigration, appointed and recognized in the participating church bodies.(121)

The special status accorded to the CCCRR by the government opened the door for thousands of Volksdeutsche “expellees”, and — after the lifting of the ban on enemy aliens, and, to some extent beforehand as well — for German nationals to come to Canada. The accommodation of the CCCRR by the government and the support given it were, as far as my own research indicates, unique. The government for its part took pains to ensure that this did not become a matter of public knowledge.

The crucial role played by the CCCRR in influencing the government to relax restrictions on admission of German nationals and of former members of the Nazi Party and of various Nazi organizations is described in below in Chapters V and VIII of this report.

Immigration of Balts to Canada:

As discussed above, from the earliest reports on the DP camps in Europe, Canadian officials pointed to the Balts as most desirable immigrants. Their wartime plight was described as having been caught between German and Soviet forces, opposing both Soviet expansion into the Baltic region in 1940 and the Nazi invasion which followed — a statement which was in fact accurate when applied to some, but not all Balts. Collaboration with the
German armies in the Baltic states was played down. Balts under the IRO mandate in Germany and Austria were amongst the first DPs selected by teams from the U.S. and Canada. However, those who were in Sweden or Denmark were outside the IRO mandate and facilities for processing them and arranging for their immigration to Canada were lacking. passionate anti-Communism.(122)

Stressed above all was their

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The majority of postwar Baltic immigrants came to Canada under the bulk labour scheme. As discussed below {p. 201 ff.), a number of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians (as well as Volksdeutsche and Poles/Ukrainians) with SS tattoo marks entered Canada in 1947 under the bulk labour scheme with the knowledge of Canadian officials, at a time when immigration guidelines clearly prohibited the admission of persons who had served with the enemy forces.Time constraints on this report have permitted only a fragmentary development of the account of the immigration to Canada of Balts who had collaborated with the Nazis. Treatment of the subject was further constrained by the lack of access to important sources: access to archival collections of the Lithuanian community deposited with the Public Archives in Ottawa was denied to this Commission of Inquiry. Recently, the Multiculturalism Directorate of the Department of the Secretary of State has sponsored the publication of accounts of Estonian and Lithuanian immigration to Canada by scholars from these communities.(123) The focus in these studies is not on the possible entry to Canada of Nazi collaborators or war criminals but rather on the broader immigration stream of bona fide DPs and refugees.

In addition, to inadequate screening and irregularities relating to admission under the bulk labour scheme, several aspects of the Baltic immigration story are noteworthy in that they involved waiver of normal screening and approval procedures and requirements: the relaxation of restrictions with regard to former members of the Baltic Waffen-SS {discussed in Chapter VIII below); the cases of the Estonians who came via Sweden and the Estonian ‘boat people’ {discussed immediately below); and the immigration to Canada in the mid-1950s of Latvians who had resettled in South America after World War II (discussed in Chapter VI and X below).

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The Estonians in Sweden: Some twenty-five thousand Baltic refugees who took refuge in Sweden, were welcomed by the Swedish government which was prepared to arrange for their integration into Swedish society. These included some 23,000 Estonians, 4000 Latvians and 400 Lithuanians. Many Balts, however, were uneasy about remaining in Sweden, fearing that the the Swedish government, which had recognized the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States in 1940, might be vulnerable to Soviet pressure to expel them for repatriation. Many therefore
sought to be resettled in Canada or elsewhere.(124)

The case for the immigration of Estonians to Canada was favourably received by members of the Senate Committee on Immigration and Labour and by a number of important officials in particular by Hugh Keenleyside, the Deputy Minister of the Department of Mines and Resources. Though not under the IRO mandate, the Estonians in Sweden were eligible to immigrate to Canada if applications were received on their behalf from close relatives or employers in Canada. However, there were no Canadian immigration processing teams in Sweden, and it appears, in order not to arouse the soviets, the Swedish government was reluctant to permit the establishment of a Canadian immigration team to recruit Balts in their country.(l25) Keenleyside’ s proposal, adopted by the government, was that prior approval be given for the entry of up to five thousand Estonian refugees (though it was estimated that only two to three thousand would want to come to Canada), with the necessary processing to be carried out by an enlarged legation staff at Stockholm. Transportation costs would be covered by the IRO, though IRO ships would not be used so as not to upset the Soviets. Because the Estonians in Sweden insisted on choosing their own employment and on travelling to Canada in family units, only 115 visas were issued to them by February 1949. However, many more came through in the course of the rest of that year.(126)

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The ‘boat people’ episode was quite irregular: groups of Estonians on a number of small boats arrived at Canadian ports between August 1948 and 1949 without being medically inspected or visaed. Though by regulation no one was permitted to enter Canada as a landed immigrant without first having been processed by Canadian officials in the applicant’s last country of residence, in this instance inspection machinery was set up on an ad hoc basis in order to process the group of illegal entrants. The government then admitted then, waiving current immigration restrictions by special orders-in-council in each case. In 1948, 519 such ‘boat people’ arrived in Canada; 951 arrived in 1949, and 123 in 1950. Only twelve were declared ineligible. With the liberalization of immigration policy in 1949, many more Estonians came in over the following two years.

Keenleyside’ s interest in the admission of Estonians had a personal dimension. He had welcomed an Estonian girl into his home, who had made an excellent impression on the household, to the extent that she soon married Keenleyside’s son. Of note in relation to the immigration story is that this girl later worked at the IRO’s Canadian Headquarters in -Hull, and was in a key position to . influence facilitation of admission of other Baltic immigrants.(127)’

Public Sentiment with regard to Displaced Persons and Alleged War-Criminals, 1947-1951

Treatment in the press and in the House of Commons: Reaction to the first large group of DPs, the Polish veterans, was ambivalent, as discussed above. In the course of 1947 the issue of whether they had fought on the German side which in fact, with few exceptions, they had not, and quite the contrary was true — was raised in the House on several occasions, putting the government on the defensive.(128) Views expressed by MPs, and

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in the English-language media; reflected a determination to “keep Canada British” and resentment at the possibility that “foreign ideologies” might overtake “our ideas and ideals of government”.(129)

There were of course other streams of opinion. A number of MPs applauded King’s May 1, 1947 statement on immigration policy, complaining that the statement had been too long delayed. Davey Fulton urged that one should “not place too narrow an interpretation upon the words ‘enemy aliens’ .(130) There were also expressions of dissatisfaction with the too limited scope for action by the international refugee agencies on the grounds that these agencies excluded the Volksdeutsche from their mandate.(131)

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Speaking on behalf of Ukrainian DPs in the House in 1947, Anthony Hlynka accused the government of discriminating against Ukrainians in its admission practices, and recommended that immigration regulations should be revised to accommodate not only people with muscle, but also intellectuals, of whom there were some 2000 amongst the Ukrainian DPs seeking admission to Canada.(132)  There continued to be, however, various expressions in the House of unease about and opposition to Slavic and Jewish immigration. In response to Hlynka, MP Herridge referred to a report by a commander of Canadian forces in Germany, which he opined would lead the House, if members could read the report, to “fully appreciate the kind of people they are dealing with in this instance”.(133)

In the course of 1949-1950, MPs spoke up in the House on behalf of  ‘well-educated’ Latvians and Estonians as desirable immigrants, and, on a number of occasions, urged the lifting of the ban to admission of German nationals. Prejudice against other DPs still prevailed. In the view of one member, “the proper mode of immigration” would be to bring

immigrants from Italy, England, Scotland, Norway and Holland…I am not in favour of dumping DPs into this country. This process of admitting so many DPs is not going to be successful, from the Canadian standpoint. About twenty or twenty-five percent of them will be good Canadians, but I have grave doubts about the other. seventy-five percent.( 134)

A Quebec member observed that DPs were

a drain on society’s resources and also take away jobs from natives. We, the people of Chicoutimi country, want to keep Canada for Canadians. Instead of spending millions to bring over from Europe fur merchants, dealers in ladies-wear manufacturers and ready-made garments…(135)

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Reaction to the de Bernonville case and to the admission of former members of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS: The subject of war criminals as a Canadian domestic issue was issue was brought to the attention of the Canadian public between 1949 and 1951, principally as a result of two developments. The first was the case of French Nazi collaborators who found a haven in Canada, and, in particular, the deportation proceedings instituted against Jacques de Bernonville, which received considerable media coverage. (The de Bernonville case is treated in Chapter XII, Part 2 below). The second development, which also received much publicity, was the admission of the Ukrainian Halychyna Waffen-SS Division as a group, after their sojourn in the U.K. (See Chapter XII, Part 3 below).

The de Bernonville case pitted important elements of Quebec’s social and religious hierarchy against English Canada, placing a French-Canadian Prime Minister in a delicate situation. Canada’s leading Yiddish-language newspaper, the Daily Eagle, was of course highly critical. MP Alistair Stewart was warmly commended for speaking against granting residence to former French Nazi collaborators.(136) The German language newspaper, Der Nordwesten, also took an interest. It published Stewart’s speech, and protested that former French Nazis were permitted to enter, while anti-Nazi Germans were being kept out.(137) In a parallel development, when Karl Murin, the former secretary of Josef Tiso (President of the Nazi ‘Independent state of Slovkia’) was admitted, a Winnipeg German newspaper similarly expressed indignation that Nazis like Murin were being admitted, while Reichsdeutsche [Reichsdeutsche, literally translated Germans of the Reich] continued to be barred. [The case of the Slovak collaborators is treated in Chapter XII, Part 5 below.]

Great offence was taken by Jews and others, at Frederic Dorion’s speech in the House of Commons in favour of de Bernonville, in which he commented that had de Bernonville been a

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‘Communist Jew’ rather than ‘a good French Catholic nobleman who served his country’, such a fuss would not have been raised.(138)

The possible admission of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS group aroused reaction from the Jewish community, which in fact influenced the government to briefly delay its decision on admitting the group. Mainstream newspapers of the Canadian Ukrainian community defended the ” so-called Ukrainian Division” then in the U.K., and supported their admission to Canada, saying that the members had been forcibly drafted into·service, and that a number had relatives in Canada prepared to sponsor them.(139)

The Communist Ukrainian press still maintained its earlier line of attack on Ukrainian DPs, criticizing Canadian immigration authorities for having a screening system which permitted the entry of “German bandits, child slayers, robbers and all kinds of Hitler rubbish.”(140) The Communist Lithuanian press, similarly, accused Lithuanian DPs of killing Jews during the German occupation.(141)

The issue of the entry of French collaborators and the admission of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS coloured the political campaigns of the contenders in the July 1949 federal bi-election in Winnipeg North, and generated a “campaign within a campaign” in the Jewish community. The contenders were Alistair Stewart, the incumbent CCF member of Parliament, who spoke in the House on numerous occasions on behalf of DPs and a more open immigration policy; Peter Taraska, the Liberal candidate, who was of Polish descent; and Joseph Zuken, a Corrnnunist candidate of Jewish descent. In support of Stewart’s campaign, the Jewish War Veterans ran an ad in the Jewish press featuring Stewart’s speech in the House against Nazi collaborators, and attacked the Liberal Government for discrimination against Jews and for harbouring de Bernonville.

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Zuken’s campaign ran ads in the Jewish press attacking not only the Liberal government, but also Peter Taraska who was described as a supporter of declared anti-semites in the Ukrainian and Polish communities, and as approving the government’s policy of admission of Nazi collaborators. A Zuken ad asked:

Why did Mr. Taraska in April of this year present and introduce a delegation to Prime Minister St. Laurent and Winnipeg which…urged the admission to Canada of the members of “Division SS Haylchyna”? This SS Division was a fascist military unit organized by the Hitler ‘ High Command. Its members are guilty of crimes against the Jewish people and humanity.(142)

In fact, Taraska was very much involved behalf of Polish, Ukrainian and ethnic in representations on German groups seeking admission of their kinsmen to Canada. His papers at the Provincial Archives of Manitoba contain considerable correspondence from the years 1947 to 1949 with the various affiliates of the CCCRR and with Polish and Ukrainian organizations and individuals, as well as with Immigration Branch, regarding immigration matters. In the end the Liberal Party’s Jewish Election Committee for Taraska rallied behind him, rejecting Zuken’ s accusations as slanderous. Alistair Stewart won the election.(143)

The Valdmanis Story: A cause celebré which kept Eastern European immigrants in the public eye was the case of Dr. Alfred Valdmanis, a prominent Latvian who was recommended to the Minister of Mines and Resources by Deputy Minister Keenleyside for immigration to Canada. Keenleyside reported that Valdmanis had been imprisoned by the Russians in 1940, and again by the Germans as an anti-Nazi in 1943; that following the war he worked for two years with the Allied Occupational Forces on refugee and DP matters, and that he had then joined the IRO as


Assistant Chief of the Division of Planning and Field Services. Keenleyside recommended that Valdmanis be engaged to assist Immigration Branch in handling DP immigration on a part-time basis, as he had also been offered a teaching position at Carleton College.(144) The request was granted and Valdmanis took up residence in Ottawa, but soon accepted a teaching position at McGill University.

In a lengthy presentation to the Senate Standing Committee in April 1949, Valdmanis reiterated the story conveyed by Keenleyside, and pleaded on behalf of immigration to Canada of anti-communist Balts, and in particular on behalf of Baltic Waffen-SS members, who were rehabilitated and released in December 1945 and January 1946, because, he explained, they had nothing to do with the SS.(145)

The pro-Communist Polish ethnic press responded to Valdmanis’ presentation to the Senate Committee with an article claiming that as a former advisor to the wartime President of the Bank of Germany, Valdmanis “was infected with Nazism”.(146)

After assuming a position as Director of Economic Affairs with the Newfoundland government, notoriety struck Valdmanis as the respected New York Yiddish daily, Der Tag (and, as well, the Communist Toronto Yiddish weekly, Wochenblatt) carried articles in 1951 about his “fascist and Hitlerite” past, and charged that he had killed Jews in Latvia and had been a Quisling member of the Latvian government during the German occupation.(147)

Following character references from officials of Jewish organizations and a retraction from der Tag, the matter should have been laid to rest. But, as reported in the Montreal Gazette in November 1951, feelings continued to run high against him.

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Conservative MP W.J. Browne. (St. John’s west) charged that Valdmanis was bringing National Socialism to Canada, that he was “b hind the importation of a steady stream of German industries and technicians into the island-province”.(148) Tlle Gazette correspondent recounted the contents of Valdmanis’ presentation to the Senate Standing Committee on Immigration, and was particularly perturbed by his involvement in Germany’s wartime economic planning, his pleading for immigration to Canada of Waffen-SS members, and the hefty $25,000 salary he was drawing from the Newfoundland government.

The documents on Valdmanis in the Pickersgill papers then skip to September 1956, when the Legal Division of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration addressed a memorandum to the Minister recording that Valdmanis was granted citizenship in March 1954, and that he was arrested by the RCMP in Newfoundland a month later and sentenced to four years at hard labour. after pleading guilty to a charge of defrauding the Newfoundland Government of $200,000. There were no grounds, however, according to the Department’s legal advisor, for revocation of Valdmanis’ citizenship, since he had not obtained his certificate of citizenship by false representations, fraud or concealment of material circumstances, nor had he been convicted of any offence involving disaffection or disloyalty to Her Majesty.(149) It should be noted that there were never allegations that Valdmanis had been involved in war crimes. He had intitially collaborated with the Nazis in the economic domain, and apparently fell out of favour with the Nazis at a later stage. Interest in his story in this report relates to the prominent role he played in the resettlement of refugees/DPs both with the IRO in Europe and later in Ottawa, as well as in the impact he would have had on Canadian public perceptions of the DPs/refugees.

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CHAPTER IV Security Screening of Prospective Immigrants to Canada, 1945-1950

Despite Canadian government awareness and concern about the possibility that persons undesirable on security grounds were amongst those seeking admission to Canada, a number of factors militated against thorough security screening of prospective immigrants in the decade following the war, and whatever stringency was introduced in security screening was directed towards persons considered to be current security risks — that is, Communists and Communist sympathizers — rather than persons whose past actions may have been reprehensible, but who were regarded as presenting no current danger to Canada’s security.

Security Screening, 1945-March 1947

According to immigration regulations in effect immediately following the war, prohibited classes included: persons guilty of crimes involving. moral turpitude; persons advocating -Or affiliated with organizations which advocated overthrow by force of the Government of Canada or the assassination of public officials; persons guilty of espionage or of -high treason or who assisted His Majesty’s enemies in time of war; and enemy aliens.(1)

Government officials, particularly at External Affairs, were aware that persons who had been involved in Nazi war crimes or who had collaborated with the Nazis, might seek to enter Canada with the DP immigration stream.( 2) During this period restrictions in immigration guidelines on enemy aliens and hence on a major category of persons amongst whom war criminals may have been found — appear to have been very tight, limiting admission to the wife and unmarried child of a legal resident of

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Canada, and the fiancee of a Canadian serviceman. However, an April 1946 amendment to the immigration guidelines (P.C. 1373), provided for the admission to Canada of enemy aliens who could establish that they “were opposed to an enemy government.” Such persons could then be considered for the general admissible ‘close relatives’ categories.

Almost immediately after the war, the Director of the Immigration Branch complained to External Affairs that his office was being flooded with applications from former residents of Continental Europe now in Canada for the admission of relatives from Europe, the majority in Displaced Persons camps. Striking a note of caution in this regard, a confidential External Affairs report warned that amongst the numerous applications received in Ottawa it would be difficult to distinguish between “the genuine political refugee and the political agitator” who had collaborated with the enemy. As an illustration, the report referred to applications already received on behalf of

Ukrainian nationalist leaders, Skoropadsky and Melnik, who operated from Germany and apparently under German auspices in the pre-war yearso These men are regarded, with some justification as traitors and war criminals by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. There must be numerous other persons, amongst the thousarids of Ukrainians, Poles, Yugoslavs and others who found themselves in Central Europe either during the outbreak of the war or during the German domination of the continent, who have similarly compromised their status as refugees by cooperating with the enemy.(3)

The author of the report then further warned immigration authorities against any lowering of immigration barriers to Nazi sympathizers since any “desire to continue their political activities (in) their new homes, might have highly undesirable consequences.”

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Concern about the .possibility that Nazis and Nazi sympathizers might enter Canada was soon overtaken by yet greater security-related apprehensions about the possible infiltration of Communist agents. The revelations in 1945 concerning Igor Gouzenko, the Soviet cypher clerk stationed in Ottawa, was a turning point in the development and focus of Canada’s security intelligence activities. Gouzenko’s disclosures that the Soviet Union had organized an extensive espionage network in Canada, which operated largely through the recruitment of civil servants and scientists, alerted the Canadian government to the urgent need to strengthen defenses against Soviet espionage and clandestine Communist involvement in political life. In direct response to these revelations, the Canadian government introduced in 1946 a programme of security screening in the federal Public Service to ensure as far as possible that persons with access to secret information were trustworthy.(4) The broader international political atmosphere was already quite conditioned by the deepening Cold war: the Gouzenko case, indicating that Canada itself was being targetted by the Soviet Union, greatly increased security consciousness with regard to the impending immigration wave from Europe.

At an informal External Affairs departmental meeting on February 6, 1946, at which recommendations emerged advocating action on behalf of refugees and adoption of the IGCR proposal that member countries widen ‘close relatives’ immigration programs, attention was given to the security issue. After asserting that collaboration with the enemy and sympathy with or adherence to Fascism, Nazism, and other undesirable political tenets should constitute grounds for rejection of a prospective immigrant· in a security examination, special note was taken of the fact that- “there were no adequate local arrangements abroad for the security screening of applicants for passports and

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visas”.(5) It was therefore proposed that processing functions then assumed by the U K. Passport Control Service on behalf of Canada should be incorporated into the Canadian passpo_rt and visa granting machinery abroad, with possible reinforcement by RCMP personnel for screening purposes. These proposals began to be implemented only over a year late and then not very adequately, as discussed below.

After several months of discussion of the issue amongAll Pagesst External Affairs, Immigration, and RCMP officials, Cabinet considered the concerns expressed about security screening, and established the I Security Panel I as an advisory body to the government. The Panel, consisting of senior offi·cials from the departments most concerned including External Affairs, Immigration and the RCMP was charged with the task of coordinating government policy on security issues. (A sub-panel was established in 1953 to assist the Security Panel in elaborating the details of security policy). At the first meeting, on June 24, 1946, the Panel concurred with External Affairs’ view that there was a need for more adequate machinery for security screening abroad, and began to seek ways in which to accommodate this need. (6)

At the second meeting of the Panel on July 8, 1946, G. de Glazebrook, representing External Affairs, pointed to the two major gaps in establishing a security screening policy: a) the absence of screening machinery abroad, and b) the absence of policy with regard to refusal of visas on security grounds. As a temporary solution to the first problem, Glazebrook suggested that, until such time as the Canadian government formulated its own long-range policy on security screening, Canada should rely on British screening facilities. This suggestion was accepted by the Panel. With regard to the second problem, it was agreed that an inter-departmental sub-committee would draw up a clause for

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inclusion in the new immigration regulations which would list the categories of persons to be deemed undesirable on security grounds. A first draft of this clause provided for the rejection of “Nazis, Fascists, and those who held beliefs subversive to democratic government” phrasing which some of the Panel members found too sweeping.(7) A new draft, subsequently approved, specified the prohibited classes, including

Persons who are, or at any time have been, members of the Nazi Party or of the Fascist Party or of the Gestapo or of the Schutzstaffel or of the Sturm Abteilung or of any organization or party auxiliary to or supporting Nazism or Fascism or persons classified as war criminals by the United Nations War Crimes Commission.(8)

In conjunction with these discussions the RCMP circulated a brief to Immigration and External Affairs officials describing the Nazi
and Fascist Parties and their affiliated organizations.(9)

Cabinet, however, on the grounds that it was difficult to draft a suitable clause, rejected the Security Panel’s recommendation to include in the proposed Bill to amend the Immigration Act an additional category of prohibited persons to deal with members of Nazi and Fascist parties, war criminals and similar groups.(10) Instead, the Cabinet instructed the Panel to deal with the problem “by departmental administrative action
rather than by legislation.”(11) The Cabinet’s decision not to establish firm ·and explicit rejection criteria by legislation in effect permitted considerable flexibility in changing, re-interpreting and in using wide discretion in applying the criteria in individual cases in the following years.

At its fifth meeting on August 19, 1946, the -Security Panel proceeded to discuss means — other than legislative now ruled out by Cabinet to provide the basis for security

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screening. The Panel emphasized the importance of security screening “since deportation, in the case of displaced persons who proved to be undesirable, would be impracticable.” ( 12) The recommendation which emerged was that the resources of the RCMP be made available to the Immigration Branch for security examinations in the originating country of prospective immigrants. Following upon this recommendation, the Commissioner of the RCMP, S.T. wood, suggested to the Minister of Justice, Louis St. Laurent, that four RCMP officers working from the London office of the British Passport Control Department would be sufficient to carry out the security screening task.(13)

By October 1946, immigration screening for Canada in Europe was being carried out by a few RCMP officers Sgt. Hinton and his staff — based in London with the cooperation of the Passport Control Department of the Foreign Office. The inadequacy of these arrangements to accommodate the large numbers of applications coming forward to the Canadian processing team soon became all too obvious. The load and the resulting delays and backlog so overwhelmed the screening process that the Director of Immigration Branch advised the RCMP that security screening should be eliminated in applications submitted prior to November 10, 1946 where the prospective immigrants were resident in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, or Greece. (14) Applicants from these countries, particularly from Belgium, France and the Netherlands, may well have included war criminals and collaborators. Though they still required vetting by Sgt. Hinton in London, he was to report back not to Immigration but to RCMP Headquarters, so as not to delay the.movement of immigrants from these countries in other words, these immigrants would likely arrive in Canada before being cleared by security screening officials, and once in Canada — according to documents from the period there were no appropriate deportation provisions to be applied against them.

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There was a sense of resignation with regard to these failings and the problems encountered in trying to keep undesirables out. RCMP officials stated at the time that in the proposed system some undesirable people might slip through to Canada, and acknowledged, prophetically enough, that “under present regulations…it would be practically impossible to deport such individuals”, but expressed hope that immigration officials would revise the Immigration Act in due course so as to give greater possibility for deportation in such cases.(15)

The backlog of applications and the limited screening facilities available led the Security Panel to progressively reduce the amount of screening which would be required, rather than to strengthen the facilities for screening to meet growing. needs. At the tenth Security Panel meeting on January 30, 1947, it was agreed that at the rate of twenty-five to thirty checks per day, the existing machinery could not even handle the number of applicants coming through the close relatives scheme; that given Cabinet approval on the previous day of amendments to the Immigration regulations extending the categories of admissible immigrants to include, inter alia, agricultural workers brought forward by the C.P.R. and C.N.R. Colonization Boards, a
substantial increase in the number of persons _applying for admission was anticipated; and that therefore screening should be waived, at least temporarily, for certain additional categories (16). The proposal of the Director of Immigration Branch was accepted, that “with the exception of displaced persons and other immigrants from enemy countries, for whom screening would be continued as at present, the Immigration Branch-(should) immediately discontinue withholding decisions on cases where admissibility apart from screening· is established.” (17) This policy had the effect of pushing through all applications then before Immigration Branch, as well as those

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coming forward as agriculturalists, without requiring screening reports from Sgt. Hinton in London prior to their arrival in Canada.

While immediate and concrete recommendations were advanced concerning the elimination of categories of applicants for whom screening would be required, the Panel discussed in general terms the need for expanded facilities — particularly for places from which most undesirables were deemed likely to come such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The concern, clearly, was primarily with possible Communist infiltration. It was at this point that a memorandum to Cabinet from the Security Panel, dated February 4, 1947, opposed the abandonment of security screening as “a highly dangerous course”,

This is particularly true of persons coming from countries within the Soviet sphere of influence where evidence suggests that emigration can only take place with the permission of the government concerned and there seems little doubt that in any movement of persons, a proportion will be included from these areas who will be instructed to pursue the aims of their government upon taking up residence in Canada.(18)

In the memorandum, two alternatives were offered, for further reducing the security screening load while maintaining vigilance with regard to the danger of Communist infiltration. These were a) to limit screening to individuals coming from Eastern Europe, or b) to institute a system of “spot checking” which would not interfere with the entry into Canada of immigrants otherwise acceptable, providing for examination of, at the most, twenty per cent of expected immigrants. Either of these approaches, it was suggested, would be preferable to abandoning security examinations entirely; maintaining a screening -service would provide a basis for later expansion if necessary.( 19) In its response to the Panel on February 7, the Cabinet stated that,

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in the circumstances the security screening of aliens applying for entry into Canada as immigrants (should) be required only in cases in which it was felt that the information available to immigration authorities needed to be supplemented by special security investigations.(20)

An undetermined number of immigrants during this period could therefore have entered Canada without any security screening. A suggestion offered by Cabinet was that the Security Panel explore “the possibility of improving screening facilities through increased cooperation from the U.K. and U.S. sources”.(21) Strengthening Canada’s own security screening facilities had low priority.

In contrast with its earlier reluctance to legislate exclusion of Nazis, collaborators and war criminals, Cabinet agreed on March 6, 1947 that the Immigration·Branch be authorized to refuse admission, without having to give any reason for such action, when security investigation indicated that the prospective immigrant was a Communist.(22)

The prohibitions which broadly obtained applied to ‘Communists’ and ‘enemy aliens’, simplifying the work of screening officers when it came to the issue of the various ranks of German Nazis who were ‘enemy aliens’ and facilitating the entry of non-German DPs who may have collaborated in Nazi war crimes, but who were able to convince officials that they were anti-Communistic and that they did not serve in enemy armed forces during the war.

While Cabinet and the security Panel were deciding on policy framework and guidelines, RCMP officers in the field were increasingly frustrated by the inadequacies of the screening system in terms of facilities, personnel and information sources. Sgt/Mjr. J. Murray, an RCMP officer whose

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duty was to screen DPs in Germany, travelled in 1947 from camp to camp, and since he did not establish an office, carried his security reports and documents with him in a briefcase. After a year of proceeding in this way, he reported in March 1948 that his car had been broken into and all his documents stolen. Initially, Murray had intended to check applicants to Canada with British intelligence sources and the Berlin Documentation Centre, but soon reported to Ottawa that he had discovered from British intelligence that

no information is available from records, or otherwise, regarding these DPs prior to their arrival in Germany other than what information they have been able to obtain from questioning these people together with any records of their conduct since being placed in DP camps.11(23)

In another letter from an I.G.C.R. camp in Germany, Murray reported that he was experiencing difficulties, that without adequate facilities or help, he
had screened forty persons whose records were very meagre, that he had to rely primarily on personal interviews, and that in the end he cleared them all. Reporting from the DP Division of the British Army on the Rhine on March 12, Murray stated that it was difficult to obtain help from British intelligence sources, since MI Division was at the time itself overwhelmed by the necessity of checking for the British government 100,000 names at the rate of some four thousand names per week. Again, security screening was limited to whatever information came out in the course of a personal interview with the prospective immigrant:

There are so few records available to check against people so ‘I have been interviewing everyone on the list and that to my mind is the only way to screen them…there is nothing available regarding their records prior to their coming to Germany.(24)

Towards the end of March, Murray reported to Hinton in London that all the DPs being processed for screening were already in possession of a DP card, entitling them to UNRRA assistance. As discussed above (at pages 86-90), UNRRA’s screening for war criminals was hardly foolproof, or indeed trustworthy. If possession of a DP card at first offered Murray some assurance, he soon became wary of the possibility, and indeed likelihood of irregularities, such as the doctoring of documents by DP clerical staff in the camps:

From what I was told this seems to me to be the only way to get as much information as we can concerning all Displaced Persons at the moment … this is by visiting each camp. One reason given is that all records are held at the different camps and cannot be sent forward with the DP reporting to Mulenburg as UNRRA Staff is being cut and that most of the work being done clerically at the moment is being done by DPs, and that should they be able to get hold of the files the chances are any information detrimental to the party concerned might be removed from the file.(25)


His own checks, however,  did  not take him much further: “I  have not  considered having these persons checked through the Nazi records in Berlin as this  takes anything  from six weeks to two months before a reply is  obtained”(  26) In another report, Murray observed that the BDC had  thirteen million names and that it  was very difficult to check an individual without        appropriate information regarding full name, place and date of  birth– basic information for which authenticated documents were often lacking. With regard to a pre-screening by UNRRA,    Murray reported in April 1947  that the only information that  the RCMP  officer  could  obtain about  DPs  was  their  record whilst they were in the UNRRA camps. But even these records were not easily obtainable.

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Despite ·the persistence and knowledge of irregularities, it continued to be assumed to some extent that international refugee resettlement agencies such as the I.G.C.R. or UNRRA had in fact pre-screened persons ruled to be within their mandate. In Ottawa, this assumption was reinforced by presentations to the Senate Standing Committee from Canadian UNRRA officials.(27)

During the 1945-1947 period then, when the flow of immigration was relatively light in comparison to what was to follow, the machinery in place for security screening of war criminals amongst prospective immigrants to Canada was already remarkably inadequate. This problem became progressively more severe with the liberalization in immigration policy which followed.

Security Screening, 1947-1949

Summary of immigration situation during this period: From the spring of 1946 to the spring of 1947 several significant developments in immigration policy took place:inspection facilities in Europe were restored ( as of January 1, 1947); the classes of admissible close relatives were expanded (May 28, 1946 and May 1, 1947) to include spouses and fiances of both sexes, parents, siblings and children; the provision for “agriculturalists with independent means to farm in Canada” was extended to include farm labourers, miners and loggers (January 30, 1947); and “sponsored labour”/”bulk labour” immigration schemes were developed, modelled on the admission in July 1946 of 4000 Polish veterans of General Anders’ army for agricultural work in Canada.

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Following considerable pressure from ethnic organizations, church influential government groups, the officials, and media and a number of order-in-council of June 1947 (P.C. 2180) authorized the admission of 5000 individuals from displaced persons camps in Europe. A series of amendments raised the quota for admission of DPs to 20,000 in September 1947, to 4o,·ooo by the end of 1948, and to 60,000 by the early 1950s. In September 1948, the ·cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy recommended that French citizens coming to Canada as immigrants be considered on a similar basis to that of British and U.S. immigrants. Though not many French immigrants were anticipated, given the restrictions imposed by the French government on its citizens, it was felt that an order-in-council putting in effect such a recommendation “might help to mitigate certain Canadian criticisms”.(28)

It is incorrect to assume that only non-Germans were being processed for immigration from January 1947 to September 14, 1950, when it was decided to treat German nationals on the same basis as any other European nationality. Ethnic Germans who acquired· German nationality during the war were admissible under the general ‘close relatives’ provision. While German nationals were until September 1950 still in .the category of enemy aliens and formally inadmissible, a number did enter Canada legally from 1946 by means of an April 1946 provision for those who were opposed to .the Nazi regime, and under the close relatives provision as ‘special cases’ admitted by orders-in-council. Arrangements and admissions of German nationals before September 1950, and of former members of Nazi organizations in subsequent years, were generally kept quiet. As a result, there are inconsistencies and contradictory statements in government documents relating to the subject.(29)

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The enemy alien ban was lifted for nationals of Finland, Hungary, Italy and Roumania in July 1947, following the signing of peace treaties with these countries. This meant that prospective immigrants from Hungary and Romania, where involvement in war crimes and collaboration was particularly significant and extensive, were to be considered on the same basis as any other European applicants. A January 1948 Circular Document from the Secretary of State for External Affairs to the heads of the Canadian Missions abroad stated further that nationals of Finland, Hungary, Italy and Roumania who had served in the armed forces of their own countries during the war were not to be refused admission to Canada on account of such service, unless recorded in the official list of war criminals.( 30) As discussed in other parts of this report; that list was in fact seldom consulted.

Immigration Branch circulars from March 1948 also indicate that citizens of Austria were no longer being classified as ‘enemy aliens’, since Austria was now recognized as an autonomous state, liberated from German occupation.{ 31) In fact, membership in the Nazi Party in Austria was proportionately
higher than in Germany itself, there was virtually no prosecution for war’ crimes in Austria, and many convicted German Nazis sought haven in Austria.(32)

Canadian inspection facilities in Austria were very limited. In addition to responsibility for processing of Austrian prospective immigrants, one team was covering Five IRO processing centreslocated in Austria. Rather than establishing a new team, it was proposed that one of the teams operating in the British zone of Germany be sent to Austria.

Screening Procedures, spring 1947 to 1949: In March 1947, two Canadian Immigration inspection teams were sent to Germany, each consisting of one Immigration Inspector, one doctor

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(Immigration Service, Department of National Health), and one RCMP officer for security screening. Immigration officer O. Cormier was put in charge of the teams, and assumed responsibility for overall Canadian immigration operations in Germany_ and Austria.(33) These mobile or “flying” teams, functioning with very inadequate facilities, processed in DP camps throughout the British and American zones persons who were nominated by Immigration Branch as close relatives of Canadian residents, or for ‘bulk labour’ programs. I.G.C.R. or IRO officers would locate persons whose applications were approved in Ottawa and pass them them on for medical and political screening by the Canadian teams. If approved by the Canadian team, the IRO would assume responsibility for maintaining the prospective immigrants and for transporting them to Canada.(34)

Instructions dealing with applications for immigration to Canada, issued on May 30, 1947, described in detail the procedures of submission of applications on form IMM 55, completed in Canada by the sponsor on behalf of the prospective immigrant in Europe for whom security screening was required.(35) The prospective immigrant then filled out an IMMo.s.8 form which focused on current occupational skills. (Further discussion of immigration application forms and questions with regard to wartime military history is at Annex 3 of this report.)

The screening process involved three stages: Stage ‘A’ the medical examination; Stage ‘B’ — the security screening; and Stage ‘C’ the final interview by the immigration Visa officer. The IGCR assumed the role of assembling DPs coming within it mandate for examination by immigration teams from countries of resettlement. Special mention was made in the May 1947 instructions of the fact that the IGCR did not include within its mandate

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nationals of enemy countries (Germans, Austrians, Italians, Roumanians, Hungarians, (or) … regardless of nationality, war criminals, quislings, or traitors, or any persons who have assisted enemy forces or those who have fled from Germany or into Germany from their places of residence in order to avoid falling into the hands of allied armies, etc.(36)

There was, however, some scope for leniency in deciding on the DP status of indi iduals processed:

It is not always possible to determine whether or not the proposed immigrant is a Displaced Person coming within the IGCR mandate and in doubtful cases application· is to be dealt with as misplaced Persons.(37)

Moreover, there was total reliance on British intelligence for security checks: The screening arrangements provided that any form 55 for DPs wishing to immigrate to Canada would simply be passed over by the security screening officer to the British M.I., who checked with their records and arranged for the same to be checked in Berlin, the form ultimately being returned to the RCMP in Ottawa suitably marked and with a report if necessary.(38)

Problems and Gaps in screening, 1947-1948
In addition to reliance on international refugee agencies and British intelligence information regarding displaced persons, other problems existed as follows:

a) Special categories not examined by security officer: non-DPs and group–labour movements: The situation with regard to security screening at the time when a number of immigration schemes were in full operation, and when stringent immigration

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restrictions began to be progressively lifted, is summed up in a Security Panel document of March 30, 1948, which outlined five types of immigrants corning in under the specialized programs or by orders-in-council:

(i} Near Relatives – Sponsors resident in Canada.
(ii) Near Relatives – Displaced persons. Sponsors resident in Canada.
(iii) Displaced Persons – Brought in under special employment categories.
(iv) Agriculturalists Selected by Railway Colonization officials.
(v) All other immigrants not falling within the first four categories and subject to admission by special Order-in-Council.(39)

The document states that DPs were interviewed verbally in the camps and whatever papers they had available were examined. However, other prospective immigrants including near-relatives of sponsored residents in Canada, agriculturalists selected by Railway Colonization officials, and all immigrants admitted by special Orders-in-Council — “are checked against the records of our contacts but the applicant himself is not examined by the security investigator” .(40) According to this document, acceptance or rejection on security grounds was final– the implication being that just as there was no provision for appeal from rejection, there was no recourse to reverse a decision for admission once an applicant was accepted.

Guidelines with regard to the screening of aliens required security clearance for DPs from Russia, Germany, Austria and and prospective immigrants Italy prior to their being granted visas. One category, however, stood apart from the general screening requirements — agriculturalists, and persons entering through the ‘bulk labour’ immigration schemes or pre-selected by the IGCR. Aliens in the U.K. or elsewhere in Europe who came forward as agriculturalists were dealt with “either individually through applications on Form 55, or in bulk

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movements in conjunction with.the Department of Labour (described above at pages 150-155). Such aliens could come forward under arrangements with the Colonization Department of one of the Canadian railway companies, and if recruited overseas for group movements, such as industrial labour or as agriculturalists, without a Canadian connection, the transportation company or organization recruiting the prospective immigrants was required to furnish the immigration officer in Paris, Brussels or The Hague with the barest of information: name, place and date of birth, citizenship, and current address.(41)

Security screening of the first groups of agriculturalists and of immigrants coming through the close relatives scheme before April 1947 was therefore either waived completely, or limited to personal, usually very brief interviews by the Canadian screening officer.

With regard to DPs on IGCR lists, Sgt. Hinton indicated in April 1947 that the RCMP was being bypassed in the screening process since the Canadian immigration teams were receiving forms 55 concerning those DPs directly from the IGCR, which thereby had considerable input into the screening process.(42)

A recorded instance of the approval by Canadian officials of the admission of twenty men with SS tattoo marks through the bulk labour scheme in September 1947 when immigration guidelines clearly prohibited admision of persons who had served in the enemy forces — is described later in this chapter (at page 201-202).

b. Overload of applications and unreliable documentation and sources: overload of applications and reliance on unreliable sources were determining factors in weakening security screening in the field. Even though screening was regarded as increasingly important, in order to guard against possible Communist infiltration, there were simply too many applications to process

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and too small a staff in place in Europe to carry out thorough security screening. Hinton reported, rightly or wrongly, on April 16, 1947 that with respect to some of the Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Roumania, there was not much “fifth column” action there, and that it was too much bother to screen the very numerous applications coming from former inhabitants of those countries.(43)

c. Preoccupation with Communists: That security screening concerns were increasingly shifting towards preoccupation with Communists and towards leniency with former members of Nazi organizations was evident at the Security Panel meeting of April 2, 1948, where discussions centred on security investigation of government employees, particularly with respect to members and associates of the Communist Party, and on an illegal traffic of Soviet passports issued in France. Colonel Laval Fortier (Associate Commissioner, Overseas Services, and from 1950 to 1960 Deputy Minister
of Citizenship and Immigration), who played an important role in Canadian immigration policy in the postwar decade, noted that “there was a good deal of evidence to support the contention that Communistic elements were trying to introduce undesirables into the immigration stream.”(44) It was for this reason that it was decided that screening facilities had to be improved, and that security investigation of. prospective immigrants had to be strengthened, (see pages 182 above and 224-226 below).

d. Personal discretion of security screening officers and almost total reliance on interviews: Guidelines governing rejectio of appiicants or the waiving of requirements for security ‘investigations left a good measure of discretion to security and immigration officers. In a memorandum of July 22, 1948, an RCMP officer expressed the view, for which he found


complete endorsement from immigration officials, that rejection on grounds of enemy nationality should be left to Immigration officers and not be regarded as “rejection on security grounds” — the reason being that a rejection on security grounds did not allow for an appeal, whereas a rejection from a visa officer did allow for an appeal. The widest scope for the security officer’s personal discretion in deciding on rejections came, however, from the almost total reliance on interviews with applicants in eliciting information on their background.(45)

e. Waivers of Security Screening, 1948: A series of waivers widened further the scope for entry of possible war criminals. Visa officers were instructed that in special cases the nationality clause could be waived, opening the doors to enemy aliens. Security investigations were waived, for example, for priests and nuns sponsored by the Catholic Church in Canada, waivers extended in May 1948 to include “Brothers” and “duly ordained Ministers of religion and other persons whose normal and full-time vocation is devoted to the service of a recognized religion.” (46) This permitted evasion of screening for some collaborators and quislings, such as members of the Iron Guard who came to North America to assume positions as priests at various Roumanian Orthodox churches -under the guidance of Valerian Trifa; and to persons who might have entered Canada disguised as clergy, as de Bernonville did.(47) The much-discussed role of the Vatican in assisting former Nazis to resettle in other countries suggests additional possibilities. (One Vatican-related case for which research for this report has found documentation is that of Karol Sidor, a former commander of the Hlinka Guard and prominent politician in the German satellite state of Slovakia, in 1939 (discussed in Chapter XII, Part 1, below.)

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Remarkably, the RCMP. decided not to officially notify Immigration officers overseas that certain groups were not being subjected to security screening — lest reasons should arise at a later date to reverse such decisions. An additional result was that these waivers were not scrutinized by Immigration officers. The procedure advised simply returning form 55 after the sponsor in Canada had been cleared, marking it “sponsor cleared for security — security screening overseas unnecessary”.(48)

f. Absence of questions on application forms with regard to wartime military service: No provision was made in any of the application forms before 1953 for information with regard to military service or POW standing, or even for a record of employment during the war years.(49) It is difficult to explain this omission, other than that indicates the very low priority attached to eliciting Nazi or collaborationist background for immigration purposes during this period. Applicants may have been asked about military service orally. The informal nature of such interrogation, done most likely at the discretion of the individual officer, would have given little incentive to security officers to seek to verify the applicant’s verbal statement of the facts. In any event, it is most improbable that persons seeking admission to Canada would have admitted to concentration camp duties or war criminal activities. In contrast with U.S. procedures, moreover, there would not have been, as a matter of course, a written record of the applicant’s response, against which later evidence or possible contraindications could have been checked. The absence of such a written record has proven to be one of the major obstacles in recent efforts to find ready legal means to deal with war criminals who became Canadian residents or citizens.

g. No fingerprinting: A further gap in the screening system resulted from the Canadian decision not to fingerprint prospective immigrants, in contrast with American practice and despite a CROWCASS directive in this regard.(50)

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h. No consultation of official lists of suspected war criminals: The neglect to consult and the decision not to circulate the lists of suspected war criminals, compiled by CROWCASS and the UN War Crimes Commission, which Canadian authorities had been receiving since 1946-1947, was a particularly blatant gap in security screening for war criminals and members of criminal Nazi organizations.(51) These lists were not transmitted to Canadian security screening officers in Europe, who in turn did not feel obligated to consult them.

Rejection criteria, 1948-1949

Lists of criteria for rejection of applicants on security grounds outlined in 1948 and 1949, included following:

(a) Communist known or strongly suspected; Communist agitator or suspected Communist Agent;
(b) Member of SS or German Wehrmacht; Found to bear mark of SS Blood Group ( Non German -­ since Germans were already excluded as enemy aliens);
(c) Member of Nazi Party;
(d) Criminal (known or suspected);
(e) Professional gambler;
(f) Prostitute;
(g) Black Market Racketeer;
(h) Evasive and untruthful under interrogation;
(i) Failure to produce recognizable and acceptable documents as to time of entry and residence in Germany;
(j) False presentation; use of false or fictitious name;
(k) Collaborators presently residing in previously occupied territory;
(l) Member of the Italian Fascist Party or of the Mafia;
(m) Trotskyite or, member of other revolutionary organization.(52)

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A Cabinet Directive of October L949 {Circular no. 14) stated that rejection criteria should include:

Communists, members of the Nazi or Fascist Parties or of any revolutionary organization, ‘collaborators’, and users of false or fictitious names or documents.(53)

Secrecy surrounded these guidelines. The list of grounds for rejection was not intended for immigration officers in the field but only for the most senior officers of the RCMP, who could, if requested, communicate to senior officials in the Immigration Branch the precise reasons for rejection on security grounds in individual cases. The stated reason for the secrecy was that valuable information sources had to be protected. An added consequence, however, was that scrutiny of the discretionary process was precluded. Restricted distribution of the criteria permitted the Immigration Branch freer exercise of its .powers of discretion with regard to admission of prospective immigrants who might have served in the enemy forces, but who could persuade authorities that they were compelled to do so.

Security screening problems related to special immigration schemes, 1949

An RCMP document, dated March 29, 1949, outlines problems in security screening under the different immigration schemes in effect at the time.(54)

a. The 14-day procedure:. Under the ‘close relatives’ scheme, according to this document, DPs were screened by direct interview, in Germany, Austria, Sweden, etc. and usually did not come forward before their security report was completed. However, persons other than DPs, sponsored by a relative or other individual in Canada, and who met immigration requirements other than for security clearance, needed only to pass through “the 14-day procedure”, whereby Immigration authorities could approve

– 198 –

the application after 14 days elapsed, whether or not security screening had been completed — and, according to the March 1949 document, it practically never was. Given the backlog of some 3,000 cases at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa and a backlog of 13,365 cases in London, it was felt at that time that a year and a half was required to catch up with the screening required. All applications in London were to be checked by British contacts against their files. As British contacts could handle only approximately 30 to 35 cases a day, the backlog rapidly increased, while the volume of applications received from Immigration continued to expand. Frequent requests from Immigration Branch to expedite certain cases, many of which were from Eastern Europe, added further to the backlog. As a result, many individuals who would have already entered Canada would not have been cleared for security, and once they were in Canada there were “apparently no legal provisions under which the persons involved can be deported as they have already been granted a permanent landing.” (55)

b. Misleading information from the IRO: For persons entering under the bulk labour immigration scheme, the March 1949 RCMP document records that a major security screening problem was caused by lack of cooperation and misleading information from certain IRO officials:

There have been cases of men who have applied to come forward with a group on, for instance, the Mine Workers’ Scheme and have been turned down for security. Some of these men have immediately departed for another section of Germany and made application to join, for instance, a group of lumber workers coming forward to Canada and the IRO file at the point where they made previous application does not follow them forward. on arrival at the new point of application, IRO officers make up a new file which does not disclose that the man has been previously rejected on security grounds. He is by now better prepared to face interrogation and quite

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frequently is passed·. Similarly there have been cases of men having been rejected as DPs and who, under similar circumstances have made application to come forward under a Labour Scheme and have been accepted due to there being no record of their previous screening.(56)

As a result, the RCMP proposed circulation of a ‘black list’ . However, re-application by rejected individuals could take place within days, long before the names could be entered on the black list and circulated to all security officers.

c. Pressured situations: Under the C. N. R. and C.P.R. schemes, cases were forwarded to the London RCMP office, but since they were marked for “Preferred Attention”, due to the fact that shipping space was usually available for them because of the C.N.R.. or C.P.R. connection, they were screened ahead of other cases leading to yet a greater backlog, and to more individuals entering Canada prior to completion of security checks on them.

d. Inadequate security information from Eastern European countries: With regard to screening of applicants from behind the Iron Curtain, it was felt by the RCMP that, with the exception of Czechoslovakia where good sources still obtained, screening was impossible because no adequate security information was obtainable in the country of origin. After noting that Communist organizations abroad were doing everything possible to infiltrate Communists into Canada, and that “other groups were doing the same for former Nazis and Nazi collaborators in planned and at times successful operations, the March 29, 1949 analysis of problems in security screening concluded that screening was “incomplete and ineffective:”

If immigration is to continue at its present volume, it must be clearly understood that security risks are involved and must be accepted. Security screening will necessarily

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be incomplete and it cannot be assumed that an effective screen exists through which all persons coming to Canada must pass.(57)

e. >Reliance on British and American intelligence: The solution to the weaknesses in Canada’s security screening arrangements was not considered to lie in increasing the number of Canadian security officers, since Canada did not maintain an overseas intelligence/security organization, and was dependent upon the records of friendly countries who did collect and collate such information. Therein lay another problem: It has been established — in connection with Klaus Barbie’s links to American intelligence agencies and prewar and postwar links between British intelligence and fascist or pro-N1azi groups in Eastern Europe — that American and British intelligence agencies assisted former agents, including Nazis and collaborators, to find resettlement opportunities abroad for services rendered to these agencies. Canada’s reliance on these agencies for security screening information would have made it a likely dumping ground for various classes of agents, whether with or without the knowledge of Canadian authorities. (Documented cases of such use are treated in Chapter XII, Part 5, below).

It would therefore appear that, in addition to the regular immigration flow, several special categories of persons who were eligible for entry to Canada in early 1949 could have included person with war criminal background -and who would have entered Canada with relative ease, as far as screening for possible war criminal background was concerned: a) DPs coming within the mandate of the IRO and who could be made eligible under any, of the bulk labour movements, provided they had been selected as suitable for a particular type of employment, and that other medical and civil immigration requirements were fulfilled; b) DPs sponsored by close relatives, or farmers in a position to offer such sponsorship; and c) Germans, Volksdeutsche and others sponsored by close relatives residing in Canada.

– 201 –

Incident indicating SS tattoos not a bar to entry via bulk labour program: In September 1947, a U.S.. Army Transport chartered by the PCIRO left Bremerhaven, Germany with 832 DPs who had signed labour agreements to take up employment in Canadian lumber camps. Immediately prior to their departure, Mr. Legis, a PCIRO Escort Officer, handed to Canadian immigration officials a list of 25 DPs on board who on medical examination just prior to leaving Germany were declared to be “special medical cases” that is, they had SS blood group tattoo marks under the left arm. Mr. Legis relayed this information by coded message to the Transport Commander in New York suggesting that further investigation be conducted by the Canadian authorities when the ship docked at Halifax.

Canadian officials were determined to handle the reported situation in a discreet manner so as to avoid any publicity or delay in the handling of the passengers. RCMP officers along with PCIRO and U.S. Army Transport representatives therefore boarded the vessel about one hour before it was due to arrive in Halifax and examined the men. A detailed RCMP report on the 25 men stated that 5 did not in fact have SS tattoo marks. Included amongst the 20 who did have SS tattoo marks were 7 Volksdeutsche from Soviet territory, 5 Poles/Ukrainians, 3 Latvians, 3 Estonians and 2 Lithuanians. Of these, 12 had removed or had attempted to remove the marks while the remainder left the marks intact.

In interviewing the men, the officers found that

with the exception of one, who claimed that he ‘-had been forced to serve in the German army for two days, all denied ever having served in any of the German armed forces other than to have been taken to Germany for forced labour.(58)

Despite expressed doubts about the truthfulness of at least four of the men regarding service with the Nazi armed forces, there was little further probing about their background.

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All were cleared and their admission to Canada was approved on the grounds that

Nothing was brought to light from the interrogation which would -indicate to any of those present that any of the 25 DPs in question had been former German Storm Troopers or had any subversive tendencies and, with the exception of Nos. 2, 21, 22 and 25, who due to their actions at the time of being interviewed gave some indications by movements of their body, etc., when spoken to and who at first stated that the marks under their arm had been obtained by accident, thereby giving some indication that they may have been in the German Army at sometime or other nothing was noted or found that appeared to warrant the detaining (of) any of the 25 men at Halifax, thus they were permitted to disembark with their respective groups according to schedule.(59)

It is noteworthy that in the incident described above, SS tattoo marks were either somehow not detected, or not reported by Canadian security, medical and immigration officers in Europe, but rather by a PCIRO official.

It may be noted, too, that those Balts, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and others who had served in Nazi-organized auxiliary police and local militia units which carried out numerous killing actions in 1941-1942 but did not subsequently serve in the Waffen-SS units, would not have borne SS-tattoo marks and would have had much greater facility than Waffen-SS members in concealing their wartime collaboration with the Nazis.

Security screening procedures and problems, 1949-1950

Security screening guidelines required all immigrants subject to security screening to fill out application form IMM 55, which immigration offlcers were to forward to the RCMP in Ottawa.

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Prospective immigrants from Iron Curtain countries, from Israel, from Central and South America (other than native-born citizens of those countries), and from other countries outside Europe (apart from South Africa) could not enter Canada before being cleared for security. Israel in particular was regarded as a likely stepping stone for Communist infiltrators. In the case where a sponsor was cleared for security, but security screening was still required for the proposed immigrant, a form letter ‘B’ advised the applicant that the proposed immigrant needed to apply to one of the Canadian Immigration offices in Europe for a visa — in Brussels, Rome, Karlsruhe, Salzburg, London, Stockholm, Paris, or The Hague. Bona fide refugees and displaced persons, however, who had resided outside the Iron Curtain countries since January 1, 1949, could apply for a visa in the country where they were then residing. In both these cases it was not necessary to await a report that the applicant was cleared for security before approving the application. If found to be undesirable on security grounds after arrival in Canada, these landed immigrants were most unlikely to be deported.

It was emphasized in the instructions that in order to protect sources providing security information, reasons for refusal of visas to prospective immigrants on security grounds should not be disclosed. The October 1949 Cabinet Directive stipulated that.

under no circumstances should the reasons for withholding permission to enter Canada, in the case of displaced persons and prospective immigrants be attributed to security grounds. The ‘,only information to be given out in these cases should be a simple statement, without explanation,
that a visa has been refused.(60)

As in earlier instances, secrecy could also be used as a tool to prevent scrutiny of the exercise of discretion on the part of officials in Ottawa and immigration and security screening officers in the field.

-203A –

Security screening instructions of October 17, 1949 provided for waiver of screening for, inter alia British subjects, citizens of France born in and residing in France, and citizens of the United States. It would appear, however, from the minutes of the Security Panel meeting of April 27, 1950, that immigrants from France were still being screened — not for Nazi background but for Communmistic leanings which lead Colonel Laval Fortier, the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to argue that because of the· “relatively low percentage of rejections amongst French citizens applying for entry into Canada”, that immigration arrangements applying for French citizens should be equalized to those applying for British citizens.(61) The view was then expressed at the meeting that British subjects intending to settle in Canada should also be subject to security screening for political leanings, underlining the extent of preoccupation with possible Communist infiltration.

Following discussions between senior officials of Immigration Branch and the RCMP, it was agreed that in the cases of immigrants who. were allowed to enter the U.S. and who were now applying for entry to Canada, that no screening would be required since it could be assumed that they already screened by U.S. authorities. The result was an additional category of persons for whom security screening was waived — aliens legally admitted
to the U.S. for permanent residence.(62)

These security screening guidelines provided additional loopholes with regard to the possible entry of war criminals to Canada: for persons who infiltrated into the U.S. with the general flow of DPs, for those who managed to obtain South African citizenship, and for French-born citizens of France.

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CHAPTER V Relaxation of Restrictions on the Admission of Volksdeutsche and German Nationals.

Role of the Canadian Christian Council for Resettlement of Refugees

As discussed earlier, Volksdeutsche immigrants, mostly in the category of ‘admissible close relatives’, began to enter Canada under the auspices of the CCCRR in December 1947, with two groups of fifty persons each entering before the end of that year. The number of Volksdeutsche immigrants increased dramatically after January 1948, when the government set aside, at first 400 and then 780 spaces on the S.S. Beaverbrae, specifically for the CCCRR’s immigrants. By the end of 1949, over ten thousand Volksdeutsche entered Canada without hindrance under this arrangement.(l) Documentation for Volksdeutsche from the Baltic states and from Eastern European countries was sparse, and Canadian screening officers accepted Temporary Travel Documents (TTDs) issued by the Combined Travel Board (CTB), usually without checking official German sources in order to determine whether German naturalization had been received. Furthermore, the IRO in 1948 had decided to grant DP status to Volksdeutsche who had taken on German citizenship in 1945 or later. The attempt to distinguish, in the conditions obtaining in- Germany. in the early years following the war, between_ those who voluntarily took on German citizenship during the war, and those upon whom it was forcibly conferred, was problematic.

As described by the CCCRR’s chairman (Herzer), the question of rejections of Volksdeutsche on account of German citizenship had not been a problem before the summer of 1949, particularly in the British zone, because of the excellent rapport the CCCRR enjoyed with the CTB (Combined Travel Board)

– 205 –

which provided TTDs upon request. According to Herzer, in a case where a Canadian visa was later refused, the TTD was returned. There was a sudden change in the situation, however, in July-August 1949. TTDs were being refused in the American zone to Volksdeutsche who had assumed German citizenship, on the grounds that such persons were not eligible to enter Canada under current regulations. In addition, Canadian visa control officers abroad and officials at various district offices of Immigration Branch began to reject applicants on the grounds that they were German nationals and therefore inadmissible. It has not been possible within the time available for this report to explore the reasons for this sudden switch to stricter application of guidelines with regard to Volksdeutsche and German nationals. However, it .may be noted that the change coincides with adverse American reports about a group of Mennonites (discussed below at pages 212-213), as well as with generally stricter screening procedures designed to keep Communists out.

Herzer complained about this development in a September 1949 brief to the Minister of Mines and Resources (Gibson), as well as in an audience with the Prime Minister, and then again more urgently in a December 20 cable addressed to St. Laurent, in which he deplored the numerous rejections of Volksdeutsche who, after fleeing from Eastern Europe in 1945, “had either assumed German citizenship or had this doubtful honour conferred upon them” ( 2) . Herzer argued that apart from the imposition of hardship on Volksdeutsche refugees, and the Christian and humanitarian call for action on their behalf, the close relatives movement of Volksdeutsche was beginning to dry up, and that as foreseen, it had become difficult to find enough non-German nationals to fill the quota for the Beaverbrae’ s next sailing.(3)

-206 –

St. Laurent responded that he would bring the matter to the immediate attention of the Minister of Mines and Resources (Gibson). In February 1950, Herzer elaborated his arguments in a brief to the new Minister of Mines and Resources, Walter Harris, adding the political factor that Canadian sponsors of these Volksdeutsche were becoming quite disgruntled, as well as the practical argument that immigrants destined to enter under the labour quotas were not being admitted, even though their passage was being financed by religious organizations. (4)

Change in government policy with regard to German nationals, 1949-1950

According to formal immigration regulations, German nationals were still inadmissible to Canada in late 1949, unless they were able to· demonstrate that they had been opposed to Nazism, or came within the limited ‘admissible close relatives’ category allotted to enemy aliens, or had joined, unnoticed, the stream of Volksdeutsche, who, while still legally inadmissible if they had acquired German citizenship, had been entering with considerable freedom under CCCRR auspices since December 1947.

In the course of 1949, as the CCCRR intensified its lobbying efforts for the admission of German nationals, government policy was being adjusted to meet the pressure to relax restrictions in this regard.

The problems of overloaded screening facilities, and the impossibility of obtaining security information from Eastern European countries, was considered at the Security Panel Meeting of April 5, 1949. It was noted at that meeting that of some 60,000 DPs considered for entry into Canada, approximately 1,000 were rejected for security reasons; and that of the backlog of

– 207 –

some 13,000 cases then under r.eview by British authorities, some 11,000 were from Eastern European countries — for whom security screening was deemed virtually impossible.(5)

Norman Robertson, then Secretary to Cabinet, who chaired the Security Panel meetings, was well aware of the problems in security screening which arose in the course of the previous year. Yet, in a memorandum to the Prime Minister he supported the decision reached at a Cabinet meeting on April 4 to modify policy with regard to admission of enemy aliens, to permit their entry if they were friends or relatives of a Canadian resident prepared to sponsor them, and if they were approved upon examination. (6) Robertson noted that in the absence of the Minister of Mines and Resources at the time when the decision was taken, the Deputy Minister of Immigration (Keenleyside) had expressed misgivings about the decision which “would put German nationals in a better position than nationals of other countries, since there are more examination centres in Germany”.(7)

The rationale which carried the decision was that:

In view of the delay in concluding a peace treaty for Germany, and of the desire of persons resident in this country to have relatives and friends from.Germany admitted, it seems doubtful whether the policy of exclusion should be maintained indefinitely. The distinction between nationals of a former enemy country with which a peace treaty has been signed, and those of one with which a treaty has not been signed, does not seem realistic as a basis for policy over a period of years.(8)

St. Laurent’s comment on this memorandum was that in his understanding, it was not a change in regulations that was intended, but .”that individual cases might be brought to Council for special decisions in respect of each.11(9) This was an

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approach which had been favoured before and which St. Laurent was to favour again with regard to possibly controversial cases which would be resolved by orders-in-council.(1O)

An account of the CCCRR’s career, by one of its leaders, William Sturhahn, records that it was Louis St. Laurent, as Secretary of State for External Affairs, who at a 1949 meeting of government officials countered questions .raised by Hugh Keenleyside with regard to admission of refugees who were German citizens with

a brief and decisive statement which swung the total mood of the conference towards a positive approach and which reaffirmed the government policy that refugees of German ethnic origin should not be barred from admission to Canada.(11)

Background to St. Laurent’s support is provided in an anecdote describing an encounter in 1947 between St. Laurent and T.O. F. Herzer, the originator and chairman of the CCCRR.

After one of the first sessions of church and ethnic representatives with Government immigration officials in Ottawa there appeared to be an atmosphere of defeat among the· members. The efforts to secure approval for the formation of the Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees during a day-long session seemed to have met constant opposition by Mr. Hugh Keenleyside, who was quite anti-German and would not hear of having these Nazi-Germans come to Canada. Mr. Herzer and a number of colleagues feeling defeated, on their way from Ottawa to Montreal, were going over the day’s events. Mr. Herzer noticed a private car attached to the C.P.R. train. His inquiry of a porter revealed that it was the private car of ‘the Hon.. Mr. Louis St. Laurent, then Minister of External Affairs of the MacKenzie King cabinet. Mr. Herzer pulled out a card, wrote a few comments and asked the porter to take it to Mr. St. Laurent’s car. Only a few minutes later the porter returned with the invitation to Mr.

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Herzer to come for a cup of tea to the private car. No one has recorded the conversation, but when Dr. Herzer returned to his colleagues he had victory written all over his face. The Minister would request an immediate meeting with the immigration people and suggested that the delegation return to Ottawa as soon as possible. The result was a meeting in which the air was cleared. Mr. St. Laurent gave a strong endorsement to a positive immigration program for Volksdeutsche, and even made positive suggestions of the formation of the Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees.(12)

In contrast with ·the stiffness and formality extended to representatives on behalf of less preferred groups of immigrants, the foundE:E. . of_ the CCCRR recall garden parties in 1951 in Dr. Herzer’ s backyard where Col. Laval Fortier, Deputy Minister of Immigration, would meet with the Premier of Manitoba, the District Superintendent of Immigration in Winnipeg and members of the CCCRR directorate and .other members of church bodies. CCCRR organizers received similarly warm receptions from Walter Harris, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration between 1950 and 1954, and himself an active member of the Baptist church and very sympathetic to the accomplishments of the CCCRR, on behalf of fellow Baptists in particular, who according to Sturhahn, -extended to the CCCRR a standing invitation to visit him in his office whenever we were in Ottawa.(13) Laval Fortier, Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration from 1950 and Joseph Robillard, Chief _Canadian Immigration Missions for Germany and Austria from 1951, were both considered frlends and sources of ready assistance for the CCCRR.

.., The sense that some camouflaging of the Cabinet decision to admit German nationals was necessary was made evident in a subsequent request for clarification from Immigration Branch as to what was intended(14) as well as in a P.C.O. note to Norman Robertson, which with some circumlocution stated that:

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It seems clear that some clarification is needed of what Cabinet intended to decide, since it is now possible to do what the Prime Minister apparently thought they were intending to make possible.(15)

In reporting on the change in policy with regard to the admission of sponsored German nationals, the wording was carefully chosen so as to minimize the impression that a significant concession was in the making:

The Cabinet agreed that no change be made in general policy concerning enemy nationals, with the exception that in cases raised by persons resident in Canada, they might be informed that prospective immigrants might be allowed entry if they could present themselves for examination by an inspection team and were recommended for admission.(16)

It was an informal change in policy which was to be conducted by orders-in-council, and it is therefore not surprising that some immigration and screening officials were unaware of it, and continued to reject German nationals.

German nationals could, then, according to April 1949 government policy, be admitted by orders-in-council, so long as they were sponsored by Canadian residents (not necessarily relatives) and had passed an examination by Canadian officials in Europe.

At Immigration Branch it was felt that this new development would entail problems, In a memorandum to Cabinet dated April 30, Immigration Branch reported a backlog of several thousand applications from across Canada for admission of German nationals. The Minister of Mines and Resources was seeking guidance as to whether the Department should notify all the applicants of the change in policy, or whether it should apply only to those who made further representations to Immigration

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Branch or the Minister. Problems were foreseen in suddenly having to deal with a large number of “special cases”, and there were difficulties in carrying out the examination of German nationals in Germany since there was only the one examination centre at Karlsruhe to deal with German nationals. Karlsruhe, moreover, was located in the American zone and German nationals could not travel freely from zone to zone. Approval of large numbers of cases would also entail further delays in the RCMP’s security screening.(17)

In the light of these problems, which had been brought to the government’s attention earlier by the CCCRR, it would have appeared to government officials to be eminently sensible to cooperate ·with the CCCRR in the processing of applications on behalf of German nationals.

The various snags in the way of admission of German nationals to Canada, such as the CTB’s more stringent approach in issuing TTDs, and decisions taken by Canadian screening officers in keeping with the main line of immigration regulations regarding enemy aliens — to reject Volksdeutsche who had assumed German citizenship, led the CCCRR and its affiliate organizations to intensify efforts to normalize the status of German nationals
for admission to Canada.

The government responded positively, if somewhat cautiously. A proposal placed before Cabinet in September 1949 concerned modification, by means of legislation, of immigration policy with regard to German nationals, so that German close relatives would be admitted on the same basis as close relatives of other nationalities. The comment of the Secretary to abinet in this regard was that it would be sound to permit some extension of the admissible close relatives category for German nationals but that “there is something to be said for not going

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all the way at once”.(18) . He suggested that the age of admissible children could be raised from eighteen to twenty-one or twenty-five, and the age of admissible parents could be lowered from sixty-five to sixty or fifty-five, but that German nationals not yet be accorded the same open basis as immigrants who were not enemy aliens.(19)

The concern was undoubtedly political: worry about public reaction to an official change in policy in this matter. In any case, Canadians of German origin who wished to bring in their kinsmen including those who were German nationals could already take the route of applying for ‘special cases,’ under the auspices of the CCCRR or under the informal ‘sponsored relatives and friends’ provision.

In addition, uncertainty was generated with regard to some Mennonites.  In the course of the summer of 1949, Immigration Branch was receiving numerous applications from sponsors of Mennonites seeking admission to Canada. The problem in admitting them was that many of them were German citizens and thus enemy aliens.  An IRO document examined by Canadian officials pointed out that Mennonites were outside the IRO mandate, unless it could be shown that they registered as Volksdeutsche in order to avoid repatriation or that they were compelled to take on German citizenship under duress. Arguments proving eligibility on these grounds were generally accepted and some ten thousand Mennonites were found to be within the IRO mandate in August 1949. However, in August 1949 a letter from IRO Headquarters in Geneva to the IRO Canadian office in Hull reported on information received by U.S. Intelligence sources from the Berlin Documentation Centre, just as a group of Mennonites was about to embark for the U.S., that the majority of the Mennonites in question had in fact received German citizenship before the end of world war II, and that the reason

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given that they took on German citizenship in order to escape repatriation was therefore without foundation. Furthermore, there was reliable information that no duress was exercised on Mennonites applying for German citizenship in particular camps during the war, and, according to the BDC reports, a number of Mennonites had served in “reprehensible” German units, such as the Waffen SS and the sn.(20)

The ·recommendation of the IRO official in this matter was that all new cases should be checked against the records in the BDC, but those already ruled to come within the IRO mandate on the basis of pr vious information and instructions, and who had received visas to countries of resettlement, should be accepted without review. This recommendation was made with particular reference to Canada, since guidelines for admission of Mennonites to the U.S. required that a review take place whether or not visas had already been. issued. It was also pointed out that the Mennonite Central Committee, which was doing the processing for resettlement, had not provided the information that many had in fact volunteered for German citizenship between 1942 and 1945 and that some had served in the SS and SD. Hector Allard, head of the Canadian IRO office in Hull, passed on this information to Jolliffe, who in turn passed it on to the Canadian Immigration Mission in Karlsruhe.(21)

Meanwhile, C.F. Klassen of the Canadian Mennonite Board visited Jolliffe to express concern about these IRO instructions, which were holding up the movement of Mennonites. He presented the argument that the Mennonites were tricked into German citizenship by being asked to sign blank forms when they were in the camps in Germany — for which, he said, turned out to be applications for German citizenship. Jolliffe was skeptical about this explanation, but subsequent developments with regard to the admission of German nationals soon opened the doors to


Volksdeutsche other than those already, corning in as exceptional cases or under the ‘close relatives’ scheme since 1947. ( 22 )

In February 1950, Herzer addressed a brief to the Minister of Mines and Resources, requesting that restrictions on Volksdeutsche immigration be relaxed so as to overcome the problem of rejections.(23) Herzer then informed Harris of impending changes to the Displaced Persons Act in the United States which would ignore the German citizenship question altogether, and put the U.S. a step ahead of Canada in recruiting Volksdeutsche immigrants.(24)

The government was responsive. A formal change in policy with regard to immigration of ethnic Germans and German nationals was effected through an Order-in-Council (P.C. 1606) issued on March 28, 1950. The main provision had the effect of removing from the class of prohibited enemy aliens a) displaced persons and refugees who acquired German citizenship by naturalization after September 1, 1939; and b) German nationals who were spouses; children and siblings of any age, together with their spouses and unmarried children; parents of any age; orphaned nephews and nieces under age 21; and fiancés of both sexes of legal Canadian residents.(25)

There was also provision made earlier in January 1950 for temporary non-immigrant entry of German nationals who were businessmen engaged in international trade or persons likely to “make a contribution to the intellectual, scientific, commercial or cultural life of Canada.(26) Transit visas for non-immigrant German nationals were also possible. This route precluded screening, and the question arises as to whether some may have stayed on illegally.

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The fundamental change in policy with regard to German nationals took effect through a September 14, 1950 order-in-council (PC 4364) which removed German nationals from the category of prohibited enemy aliens, placing them on a p r with other prospective immigrants for admission to Canada. In justification of the change of policy, Harris presented in a memorandum to Cabinet the following factors:

The restrictive provisions of P.C. 1606 have the effect of depriving Canada of substantial numbers of German immigrants whose professional, technical or industrial skills would be a valuable asset to the national economy.

It is averred that German immigrants who came to Canada in earlier years have become an important, industrious and loyal element of the Canadian population.

Under the Immigration Regulations of the United States German nationals are no longer treated as enemy aliens and have been allotted a generous quota.(27)

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Chapter VI Immigration and Refugee Policy, 1950s

The new Department of Citizenship and Immigration had opened its doors in January 1950, with the intent of implementing the government’ s broad policy mandate to attract immigrants to Canada, particularly those who could fulfill the growing demand for labour in the _primary industries and for manpower in some professional and skilled occupations. While large numbers of European immigrants were keen to come to Canada, many of them,
for various reasons enunciated in Canada’s immigration regulations, were not eligible. As a result of economic considerations, and in response to continued pressure from ethnic, religious, and pro-immigration organizations, such as the Canadian National Committee for Refugees (CNCR), the narrow existing categories for admission were revised and the old restrictive Immigration Act was replaced in 1952. An order-in-council of June 9, 1950 (P.C. 2856) had enlarged the admissible classes of European immigrants to include any person

who satisfies the Minister that he is a suitable immigrant having regard to the climatic, the social, educational, industrial, labour or other conditions or requirements of Canada: and that he is not undesirable owing to his probable inability to become readily adapted and integrated into the life of the Canadian community and to assume the duties of Canadian citizenship within a reasonable time after his entry. ( 1)

This new, broader set of criteria applied to all prospective immigrants, including German nationals after their removal from the ‘enemy aliens’ • category in September 1950.

The Immigration Act of 1952 governed Canadian immigration procedures for the following twenty-five years. -Elaborating on the basis of the June 1950 order-in-council, the 1952 Act gave the Governor-in-Council all-embracing power to prohibit or limit the admission of persons by reason of:

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1. Nationality, citizenship, ethnic group, occupation, class, or geographical area of origin;
2. Peculiar customs, habits, modes of life, or methods of holding property;
3. Unsuitability having regard to the climatic, economic, social, industrial, educational, labour, health, or other conditions or requirements existing temporarily or otherwise, in Canada or in the area or country from or through which such persons come to Canada; or
4. Probable inability to become readily assimilated or to assume the duties and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship within a reasonable time after admission.(2)

Despite the negative wording of the 1952 Act, immigration to Canada was in fact being encouraged and restrictions regarding admissible categories were progressively relaxed. In February 1952 Cabinet approved a program for the movement of 145,000 immigrants, 18,000 of whom were to provide general labour as woodworkers, in mines and in other industries and 18,000 were to become farmworkers. In the first 9 months of that year 135,296 immigrants arrived; the expected total immigration for 1952 was 165,000, the bulk arriving from Europe. Comparatively large-scale immigration from European countries, where participation in ‘crimes against humanity’ during World War II had been extensive, continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s (see Annex 2 to this report).

The 1952 Act specified prohibited classes of immigrants and laid down conditions for the arrest, detention and deportation of immigrants and would-be immigrants, as.well as for examinations, inquiries and appeals. section 5 of the Act listed the classes of persons who were prohibited from admission to Canada. The following were considered security risks:

( 1) persons who are or have been…members of or associated with any organization, group or body of any kind concerning which tnere are reasonable grounds for believing that it promotes or advocates…subversion by force or

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other means…except persons who satisfy Minister that they have ceased to be members or associated with such organizations, groups bodies and whose admission would not be detrimental to the security of Canada;

(m) persons who…are likely to engage in or advocate subversion by force or other means…
(n) persons concerning whom there are reasonable grounds for believing they are likely to engage in espionage,1 sabotage or any other subversive activity…
(q) persons who have been found guilty of espionage….
(r) persons who have been found guilty of high treason or treason against or of conspiring against Her Majesty or of assisting Her Majesty’s enemies in time of war…(3)

Section 19 of the Act (renumbered section 18 in the 1970 Revised Statutes of Canada), which was. concerned with persons already in Canada, made subject to deportation, on security grounds, persons who fell within the following categories:

(a) any person, other than a Canadian citizen, who engages in, advocates or is a member of or associated with any organization, group or body of any kind that engages in or advocates subversion by force or other means of democratic government, institutions or processes, as they are understood in Canada;

any -person, – other than a Canadian citizen who, if outside Canada engages in espionage, sabotage or any activity detrimental to the security of Canada;(4)

The focus was clearly on excluding members of still active organ1zat1ons considered subversive, and persons considered current security risks —
namely Communists. Though provision was still made for exclusion of persons convicted for treason against Her Majesty or “of assisting Her Majesty’s enemies in time·· of war”, restrictions with· regard to admission of persons


who served with enemy forces during World War II were progressively relaxed in the 1950s, as discussed in Chapters VIII and X below. The exception made for admission of persons who “have ceased to be members of or associated with such organizations, groups or bodies” reflects the new approach with regard to former members of now defunct Nazi organizations.

Though RCMP officers were first assigned to security screening duties overseas in 1946-l947, it was not until 1959 that there was speqific statutory authorization for such a function by the RCMP, ‘with the addition of the phrase “outside of Canada” to Section 4 of the RCMP Act.(5) As a result of the relative -informality of their status until 1959, RCMP security screening officers abroad often felt compelled to comply with decisions of both immigration officers in the field and immigration officials in Ottawa.

The 1952 Act vested virtually uncontrolled discretionary power in the Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration. The Minister had the last word on cases, and could reverse decisions of his officials or indeed and even of the Immigration Appeal Boards which might be created under the provisions of the Act. The Minister could admit any individual by Minister’s permit for a twelve-month period and extend that permit indefinitely, subject only to the obligation to report the fact to Parliament annually. He had, in fact, total authority over admissions, and total authority in relation to deportation over those immigrants who were not yet Canadian citizens. Immigration files from J.W. Pickersgill’s period as Minister (1954-1957) provide examples of a number of former members of the Waffen-SS who were admitted to Canada by Ministerial permits before 1956, when restrictions on entry to Canada were lifted for all but major offenders and camp guards. There are of course many examples of cases continuously rejected before 1956, invited to reapply and finally admitted in 1956.

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Immigration from Germany: The most remarkable immigration wave to Canada for the greater part of the 1950s was from Germany, as noted in September 1960 by Escott Reid, Canadian ambassador in·Bonn:

In 1959 the biggest single group of persons receiving Canadian citizenship papers was German. Sinee the war, Germany has been our second most important source of immigrants. Germany remains the third most important motherland of the Canadian people.(6)

As shown in Table 6 below, immigration of Germans increased dramatically towards the end of 1950. As soon as Germany was placed on an equal basis with other European countries with respect to immigration to Canada, Canadian immigration officials made special efforts to stimulate immigration from that country, and the CCCRR was at the government’s disposal to effectively assist in that migration. Immigration of German nationals and ethnic Germans continued on a significant scale until the late 1950s, as shown in Table 7.

Tables showing German Immigration


Until the mid-fifties, the CCCRR continued to its lobbying efforts on behalf of Waffen-SS members and on behalf of neo-refugees from Eastern Europe. The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) — not to be confused with the CCCRR — engaged in humanitarian endeavours on behalf of ‘hard-core’ refugees (physically disabled or unsuitable for employment in Canada) still lingering in DP camps, developed the ‘Approved Church Program’ with the Department -.of Citizenship and Immigration. Immigration officials. however, ‘ maintaining the view that immigration policy must be governed by economic considerations, were much less forthcoming in responding to the CCC’s efforts than they had been to the CCCRR’S large-scale immigration endeavours, government officials expressing concern in a number of instances that the CCC might be ‘overstepping its jurisdiction’ in it attempts to bring ‘hard-core’ refugees to Canada.(9)

As discussed in other sections of this report, there were gaps in Canada’s screening system in the early 1950s quite sufficient to permit war criminals, and members of designated Nazi organizations to enter Canada through regular immigration channels — in many instances legally, particularly after October 1955 when restrictions were lifted on former members, including voluntary members of the Waffen-SS, SS, SD, SA, and Abwehr.(See pages 290-296 below).

There were, however, as late as 1955, still clusters of other groups of refugees in DP camps for whom the issue of possible war criminal background was raised. A report on the suitability and desirability of refugees of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic origin, as well as recent refugees from Yugoslavia, residing in refugee camps in Germany, Austria, Trieste and Italy was submitted to the government in January 1956 by Dr. V.J. Kaye, Liaison Officer with the Canadian Citizenship Branch. Kaye’s

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findings were that, apart from the newly-arrived Yugoslavs, most were “older” refugees who had served with the German armed forces during the war, and many had been convicted of “various crimes of varying degrees of seriousness”(10) They were not considered suitable or desirable for immigration to Canada — but it needs to be added that this was not only on account of their criminal records, but for medical reasons, age, and lack of appropriate skills.

The response from the government to appeals for admission of German farmers who fled from East Germany was more positive. Though there was some reluctance to admit such persons on a large scale in 1953, even after Chancellor Adenauer personally interceded on their behalf in a meeting with the Prime Minister, it was decided to accept some, despite the. security risks involved in admitting persons from the Eastern zone because of the urgent demand for workers in Canada. In 1956 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Jack Pickersgill) recommended that Canada take as many of these East zone Germans as possible, and that for a six week period all screening be waived on their behalf.(11)

Latvians from South America: Between mid-1947 and 1952 some 45,000 Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians came to Canada from Europe as sponsored close relatives, as farm labourers, or under the allotted quota for DPs whose services were sought by Canadian employers. A number of these immigrants had served in the Nazi forces and bore SS tattoos, but as of 1948 screening officers were advised by RCMP headquarters not to attach importance to these tattoos and to focus instead on determining whether they had voluntarily joined the Nazi military formations, or were instead to be deemed to have been conscripted (see pages 235-237 below). As of 1950, former Baltic Waffen-SS members were also admissible to the U.S. Many Latvians and other Balts opted to resettle in South America after the war.


The relaxation of Canadian immigration regulations in 1950 as a result of Order-in-Council P.C. 2856 (see p. 216 above) received considerable publicity in the local and foreign language press in Argentina, giving rise to a flood of applications in 1951-1952 for immigration to Canada, largely from persons of Italian origin, but also from a substantial group of Poles who had served with General Anders, and from Latvians, Germans and others who came to South America after the war.(12)

In December 1952, Victor Kalins, the Secretary of the Latvian- Congregation of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Toronto wrote to C.E.S. Smith, Director of Immigration Branch, seeking admission for some 3000 Latvians in South America who did not feel welcome there because the climate and the way of life is much different to that of their home countries”.(13) The Immigration Branch’ s response was that it was not government policy to encourage immigration of newly resettled Europeans in South American countries since

for the most part, they are countries of immigration and, like Canada, they are endeavouring to increase their own populations. In addition, we are unable to obtain information required to complete immigration examination of persons residing in South American countries and we are, therefore, unable to process all applications submitted in Canada by close relatives.(14)

In fact the Immigration Branch’s policy at this time with regard to prospective immigrants from South America was restricted to close relatives and ‘cases of exceptional merit’ — interpreted as cases for which there were humanitarian considerations or where there were exceptional qualifications, that is, which “in the opinion of the Immigration Branch Headquarters would be to the social, cultural and economic benefit of Canada”. This guideline applied to both sponsoord and unsponsored immigrants. (15)


Kalins continued to lobby immigration officials in Toronto and Ottawa in 1954 and 1955 on behalf of the Latvians in South America, initially on behalf of 10 particular cases for whom the decision had been “complete rejection”. (1 ) In September 1955, after a meeting with Kalins, representing the Latvian Federation in Canada, and with Rev. Lusis of the Latvian National Association in Canada, the Minister of Immigration (Pickersgill) decided to give a more liberal interpretation to ‘meritorious cases’ and to approve admission of European refugees who had established themselves in South America following World War II in cases where “satisfactory settlement arrangements are provided for the immigrant and when his admission will not adversely affect the Canadian labour market by displacing a Canadian resident”.(17) All these cases were to be decided at the Minister’s discretion and approved at Immigration Branch Headquarters. The list of the persons admitted under Ministerial approval in this instance had been attached to several memoranda on the subject but did not find its way into the archival collections examined for this report. (18) By August 1956, most of these European-born applicants from Argentina had received approval to immigrate to Canada as ‘exceptional merit’ cases, – particularly if they dealt directly with the Immigration Branch in Ottawa rather than with the Embassy in. Buenos Aires.

No mention is made in the memoranda examined screening these prospective immigrants from South America for Nazi or war criminal background. Perhaps this was in keeping with developments in immigration security screening policy which in that same month rendered virtually all former SS members admissible to Canada (discussed on pages 294-5 below). Despatches from the Canadian Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1956 registered complaints regarding an overload of applications, too small a staff, and problems resulting from a situation whereby approval for admission was decided and granted in Ottawa prior to

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input from the embassy.(19)

Canadian security screening arrangements in South America at- this time were weak. The relatively lenient two-year residence rule applied for applicants from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and Paraguay, where Canada maintained screening facilities. There were no screening facilities in other South American countries.(20) Even where Canadian screening facilities were available, there was heavy reliance on British and American sources for information on prospective immigrants. Commenting in June 1956 on security screening procedures in South America, the Director of Immigration remarked on the ease with which visas were issued in the early 1950s:

Immigration authorities sent the Embassy one letter containing all necessary instructions for the issuance of a visa. One letter of instruction was in turn sent by the Embassy to the Prospective immigrant. Pending his appearance the local security clearance was obtained by telephone from the British Embassy. At the examination it was necessary only to verify that the applicant had followed the letter of instruction correctly, visa was issued and the fact was reported to Canada.(21)

In Paraguay, Canadian immigration matters were handled by the U.K. mission in Asuncion.(22) The security screening conducted in Argentina at this time relied on U.S. sources and focussed on the-local record it consisted of

writing to the Visa Control section of the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires, which provided a report on the selected prospective immigrant. This report is passed on by letter via Courier to the RCMP, Special Branch, Ottawa, with any necessary comments.(23)


There is no indication in the documents examined that the Latvians who came to Canada from South American countries were Nazi collaborators or war criminals. It may simply be noted that the highest contribution to the Latvian movement from South America to Canada was made by the Canadian Lutheran World Relief, the same organization which had earlier been lobbying Canadian government officials for relaxation of admission guidelines for Waffen-SS and SS members.(24)

There have been numerous allegations — many of which have been substantiated about the presence of Latvian and other Nazi war criminals in South America. [In 1965 Captain C. of the Arajs Group, discussed in Chapter XII Part 4 below, alleged on strong grounds to have been a war criminal, was assassinated in Uruguay where he had been residing.] It was therefore noteworthy that security screening for war criminal background at a time when large numbers of European-born applicants from South America were being processed does not appear to have been at all an issue of concern for Canadian officials.

The Hungarian Refugees, 1956-1957: The Soviet suppression of the Hungarian uprising of October-November 1956 resulted in an unparalleled wave of immigration to Canada. Of some 200,000 Hungarian refugees seeking asylum, 36, 700 reached Canada by the end of 1957, after being sheltered in camps in Austria with the assistance of international refugee agencies. ( 25)

The generous program to admit the refugees was a response to political and public pressure. At first the movement did not change normal immigration procedures but offered the Hungarian refugees priority treatment. More generous emergency measures were taken following continued and growing pressure — in particular pressure from religious and ethnic organizations. Two-thirds of the refugees were Roman Catholic,

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while another one-fifth were Jewish).(26) According to an account of the immigration to Canada of Germans and ethnic Germans, there were also a large number of Volksdeutsche amongst the Hungarian refugees.(27)

The Canadian government offered all Hungarian refugees free transport and agreed that travel documents visaed by Canadian immigration officials would be the only requirements for the refugees.(28) In addition, because of the crush of numbers and the lack of adequate facilities in Austria, the screening of Hungarians was postponed, except for a cursory examination, until their arrival in Canada.(29) Joseph Robillard, who organized the instant processing of the Hungarian refugees in Austria, described it as an “overnight service”, with 600 applications processed in one day without any security checks whatsoever. Once in Canada, the refugees filled out form IMM 1000.(30)

As Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jack Pickersgill played a central role in the immigration of the Hungarian refugees. During the initial weeks of the flight from Hungary, Pickersgill visited Austria to examine the situation first hand. The decision to admit the refugees was taken, for the most part, by the Minister himself, following almost carte blanche discretionary powers given to him in this matter. He was not bound by financial guidelines nor by any explicit limitation on the number of refugees which Canada could absorb. As pointed out by a student of Canadian immigration policy

During no previous movement of refugees had so much discretionary power been given to the responsible minister by his colleagues, nor had the machinery for processing and transporting refugees ever been so promptly organized.(31)

It remains that this impressive action on behalf of the Hungarian refugees, motivated by concerns both political and humanitarian, may also — because of the special arrangements and pressures — have permitted the entry of some individuals with a war_ criminal past.


CHAPTER VII Security Screening, 1950-1951

Preoccupation with the threat of Communism, 1950-1951

Developments in the 1950s with regard to screening for Nazis and Nazi collaborators may be best assessed in conjunction with the high priority given at this time to security screening for “subversive” elements– namely Communists and Communist sympathizers. Laval Fortier, Deputy Minister Citizenship and Immigration explained in a memorandum dated September 7, 1950, to Norman Robertson, Chairman of the Security Panel, the reasons for the 1950 amendment to the Citizenship Act withholding citizenship from certain applicants on the grounds that these persons were found by the RCMP to be known or suspected of engaging in subversive activities.(1)

The subject of the memorandum, reflecting the intense preoccupation at that time with danger of Communism — far outweighing any concern about the presence of Nazis or wartime collaborators in Canada — was the focus for discussion at the Security Panel meeting of October 27, 1950. ( 2) At the meeting, Fortier stated that his department was holding back some one hundred and twenty applications for citizenship pending guidance from the Security Panel as to whether the Minister should exercise his discretion and not grant citizenship to these individuals. of the total, only four cases involved concern about Nazi background.· Apart from one Japanese person and seven applicants of German nationality, of whom four were described as “having been strongly pro-Nazi during the war and still pro-Nazi,” all the rest were either ‘known’ or ‘suspected’ Communists or Communist sympathizers. In the view expressed by Gordon Robertson of the Privy Council Office, the fact that a person identified with the Communist Party, whether by

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affiliation with a Communist dominated group or as an active Party member, was in itself adequate justification for withholding a citizenship certificate at the Minister’s discretion, since that individual had proved himself “unworthy of enjoying the benefits of Canadian citizenship”. The Chairman of the Panel, Norman Robertson — who during the early years of the war had chaired a committee advising the Minister of Justice on action to be taken with regard to persons regarded as subversives because of their pro-Nazi sympathies — noted the importance of ensuring that “any publicity on this question should be phrased in such a way as not to suggest that membership in, or affiliation with, the Communist Party was the only reason for the rejection of applications for citizenship.” ( 3) Communism was, clearly, the burning security and political issue. Security screening of former Nazis was deemed to be of minor importance in comparison with the need to screen for Communists, regarded as constituting a present security danger.

The conclusions reached at the October 27 Panel meeting were that German nationals who had been members of the SS, the Waffen SS, the Abwehr, the SD or the Gestapo should continue to be regarded as poor security risks, but that “this general ban should not extend to persons in countries occupied by the Nazis during the war who might have become identified with such organizations under pressure from the occupying power”. (4) With regard to Ministerial discretion in withholding citizenship, it was agreed at the Panel meeting that “active members of Communist or Communist-controlled organizations” should be rejected outright. “Strong and still active Nazis” were a lower order of concern together with those who were judged to be merely Communist sympathizers and for whom it was recommended that applications for citizenship be held for a two year period, at the end of which time each case would be decided on its individual merits. It was also recommended that

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an interdepartmental committee, be set up “to review cases where evidence of subversive activity might appear to warrant revocation of citizenship”.(5)

In contrast to the increasingly liberal approach being taken with regard to possible entry into Canada of Nazis and war criminals, External Affairs proposed to the Panel a quick and effective method of dealing with possible Communist infiltrators Upon identification of a suspect, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration would be immediately notified and deportation proceedings instituted.

Guidelines and problems in security screening, 1950-1951

The overloading of Canadian· security screening facilities continued in the 1950s. By early 1951, labour shortages and an already established policy to encourage immigration led the Minister of Citizenship Immigration (Harris), to write to the Minister of Justice asking for remedial action to overcome the long delays incurred by security procedures, which in Harris’ view might “cripple the immigration movement, particularly from Continental Europe.”(6) Delays from four to seven weeks were quite common, he says, for aliens from the U.K. and nationals of Western European countries, and delays up to one year were not uncommon for persons residing in South America. He suggested an increase in RCMP staff abroad.

RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa communicated in early March 1951 to Major J.A. Wright, in charge of security screening in London, the concerns amongst Ministers and officials in Ottawa with regard to security screening problems. The situation was described as acute, with a backlog of some fifty thousand applicants in Europe. Given the government’s policy to encourage increased immigration, the RCMP feared that it would be in an

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extremely embarrassing situation should matters deteriorate any further. Though M.I.6 had offered to make additional facilities available to Canadian officials, RCMP officials in Ottawa decided that in order to speed up the screening process, checks against M.I.6 records other than for exceptional and dangerous cases must “cease as a major factor in Canadian screening policy”, and that henceforth security officers would clear or reject applicants simply on the basis of a personal interrogation.(?)

In announcing this policy, it was acknowledged that security measures on the continent would be weakened by it, though hope was expressed that tighter legislation with regard to deportation of undesirables who may already have arrived in Canada would somehow compensate for the looseness of the security screen. The policy of direct interrogation as virtually the sole means of security screening was instituted as routine practice immediately, and additional personnel were recruited to implement a screening policy based on interviews.

The problems and gaps in security screening at a peak time of immigration to Canada were summed up in a mid-1951 report to the Commissioner of the RCMP from Supt. George McClellan, who had been on an inspection tour of the Visa Control facilities in London, Paris and Rome.(8) As McClellan saw the situation, the practice (by then largely abandoned) of checking the names of proposed immigrants with security organizations in Britain and other western countries was not in itself “an absolute check” though “it did serve to turn up a number of undesirables.”(9) With the increase in the volume of immigration in 1950-1951, it had become impossible for the security organizations to process the number of names Canadian officials were putting before them; the result was a tremendous backlog. With a view to eliminating the backlog and not delaying the stream of immigration, RCMP

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officials had agreed to process applicants by personal interview only, and to bring before security organizations overseas for file checks only those cases where preliminary interrogation had raised serious doubt. In McClellan’s view, total reliance on personal interviews for security screening entailed considerable risk, since the security check depended to a great extent on the opinion which the interrogator obtained in the course of the interview, and that unless some damaging admission emerged, applicants would normally be cleared for security for entry into Canada.

In his review of the situation in the different European countries, McClellan frankly admitted that “so far as Italy, France and the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden are concerned, our present procedure affords very
little check against the infiltration of undesirable security risks into Canada”.(10) Security screening in these countries, he judged, was

little more than a façade, which offers little real security…the government should be under no illusion that our present procedures in these countries are more than a cursory check and that, if there is any opinion that an adequate security check is maintained on immigrants coming into Canada, this opinion should be changed at once.(11)

The situation was judged somewhat better in Denmark, Holland and Belgium, where the volume of applicants was not so great and where Canadian officials were receiving cooperation from local authorities.

In both the U.K. and France, McClellan stated, the majority of applicants were of foreign origin, many of them originating from countries which did not cooperate with the West in security screening matters; therefore no adequate back-check

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was possible for them. Limited to complete reliance on the personal interview and given the volume of applicants coming forward, Canadian interrogators could spend only a few minutes with each person, making adequate interrogation impossible. The screening load in France was further increased by the large number of French citizens applying to come to Canada. These were being screened for Communists, even though, in theory, Canadian regulations permitted the entry of citizens of France born in France on the same basis as British citizens.

Screening in Italy was regarded by McClellan as highly vulnerable due to the notorious corruption which made it possible to obtain almost any kind of document if one was prepared to pay a sufficient sum. With regard to immigration from Israel, he observed that there were numerous applicants and very meagre records, and extreme caution was deemed necessary since “the Communist governments would be stupid if they had not taken the opportunity to infiltrate agents into Israel for documenting and furthering to other countries…a better set up never existed to infiltrate Communist agents into this country.”(12)

McClellan’s basic conclusion on security screening practice was that “we should be under no illusion that we have an effective screening system to weed out undesirables from coming to Canada”.(13)

Immigration officials vs. the RCMP: Different approaches to screening for Nazis and Nazi collaborators:

There appears to have been during this period some tension between RCMP and Immigration officials with regard to the need for stringency in security screening — a tension which grew over the next few years, as discussed in Chapter X below. In many instances, RCMP . officials, aware of the lack of resources to

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conduct adequate field investigations, were inclined to resolve problematic situations “in favour of Canada”. Immigration officials were more inclined to exercise leniency in order to allow a greater number of immigrants in, and perhaps also more likely to be influenced by the considerable and effective lobbying directed at Immigration Branch from such groups as the CCCRR.

It has been observed that immigration officers considered themselves to be a good deal more sophisticated politically than the RCMP (Stage B) officers who conducted the security screening at each post, and that interviews with some of these officers, with rare exceptions; confirmed this.(14) Though there has not been time for the purposes of this report to explore the issue, it would be of interest to assess the knowledge, training and experience of the security officers in the field who throughout the postwar decade had a great deal of discretion in decisions to admit or refuse prospective immigrants. Immigration officers were critical, for example, of the security officers’ lack of knowledge and outdated approach with regard to screening former members of the Communist party in some countries.(15) It would have been even less likely for these RCMP officers to have been knowledgeable about the complex interactions between and wartime histories of the various groups, from Eastern Europe in particular, from which DPs and other prospective immigrants came.

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CHAPTER VIII: Security Screening: Re1axation of guide1ines with regard to former members of the Nazi Party, Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS veterans, and Nazi collaborators, 1948-1953

Policy and screening guidelines with regard to admissibility of former members of the Baltic Waffen-SS

The first steps in relaxing guidelines with regard to admission of former members of Waffen-SS units concerned Balts and Baltic Germans. In January 1948 representatives of Latvian and Estonian DPs met with Canadian Immigration and RCMP officials at the IRO office in Heidelberg to urge that Latvian and Estonian DPs who had served in the German army should not be required to prove that they had been forcibly conscripted, since such proof was impossible to find. They presented the Canadian officials with a· lengthy brief to the effect that all Latvians and Estonians who had served in the German army were forced to do so.(1)

RCMP Headquarters then reported to its London office about representations made in Ottawa on behalf of Balts and Ukrianians which pointed to the difficulty DPs would face if they had to produce proof of forcible conscription into the German army.(2) An April 1948 memorandum from the Director of Immigration Branch (Jolliffe) to the Commissioner of the RCMP – described the basis on which the IRO determined the eligibility of Balts: firstly, it was stated, the SS tattoo mark was related to blood grouping, and had no other significance — a precedent for this approach was already set in September 1947 when Canadian officials·, decided to overlook SS tattoo marks on a group of DPs entering Canada under the bulk labour program (see pp. 201-202 above): and secondly, that it was possible to determine by date of enlistment whether service was voluntary or forced. The conclusion reached was that Balts who joined the Baltic Waffen-SS units after December 1, 1943 “could be regarded prima facie as

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conscripted, and Balts joining earlier may have been forced, and investigations would be required in individual cases.” ( 3) Jolliffe strongly advised, however, against making a hard and fast dateline rule on so complex a matter.

Jolliffe recommended to the RCMP that in the case of the Balts the SS tattoo mark be disregarded, and that proof of forced conscription not be required. As discussed above (pp. 201-202), a precedent was already set in the bulk labour immigration movement for not attaching importance to SS tattoo marks. He suggested that the December 1, 1943 date be used as a general guide for security clearance, while allowing the officers sufficient latitude to deal with individual cases according to the facts developed during personal examination.

After reviewing long briefs from Baltic representatives on the coercive nature of conscription into the Latvian Volunteer SS Legion, and considering Jolliffe’s recommendations, the RCMP also weighed political repercussions and concluded that

the question of setting a hard and fast dateline to say that all those who served after that date could be considered as having been conscripted is highly dangerous and can have wide-spread repercussions in this country if it becomes known, as it surely will, that numbers of immigrants are coming forward to Canada who bear “S.S.” blood group tattoo marks. It is suggested therefore, that we reply to Mr. Jolliffe that in those cases where the person served. in the German Armed Forces prior to December 1, 1943, the person so serving will be considered as having been a volunteer and therefore will not be considered as clear for security. If the person served after December 1, 1943 such cases will be judged on their merits and will depend on whether the individual can show satisfactorily that he was conscripted.(4)

The RCMP formulation left the policy proposed by Jolliffe intact — not to rule membership in Waffen-SS units as a basis for exclusion in itself, and to adopt a dateline cutoff


approach to determine eligibility — but was worded so as to avoid the suggestion that the doors would now be wide open, automatically, to all those who served in the Waffen-SS units provided service came after December 1, 1943. The approach established for former Baltic Waffen-SS members set a precedent for future government policy with regard to membership in the Waffen-SS. By July 1951, the security Panel moved the ‘voluntary/conscript’ dateline back to January 1, 1943 for Volkdeutsche and German Waffen-SS members ( see pages 249-252 below), and by May 1952 the Security Panel further broadened the categories of exceptions to the blanket reject:j.on of former Waffen-SS members (see pages 254-256 below). By October 1955, SS service of any kind was removed as a bar to admission. ( See pages 294-298 below).

Admission of former members of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS

Ukrainian organizations lobbying for the admission of members of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Halychyna Division, then in the U.K., learnt of the decision in favour of those who had served in the Baltic Waffen-SS. According to a Canadian immigration official stationed in London:

These applicants are closely knitted together and organized, and once one of them gets by, the story he puts up will quickly travel around and they will all follow the same line. We have 30 Ukrainians who have submitted statements so parallel to that of Dmytro, enclosed, that obviously they have been prepared for them to sign, presumably by Mr. G.R.B. Panchuk of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain or some person under his direction.(5)

The form letter prepared by Panchuk — a Canadian of Ukrainian descent and an RCAF Flight Lieutenant who played a key role in the lobbying efforts to facilitate the immigration to Canada of Ukrainian DPs, including members of the Waffen-SS Division — stated that now that policy was to admit Waffen-SS

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members who had been involuntarily conscripted, Ukrainian Waffen-SS members were applying for admission, since they too had been forcibly conscripted by the Germans.(6)

This approach did not produce the desired result. Though it would appear that the status of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS may have been viewed in the same manner as the Baltic Waffen-SS, that for them, too, cases could be weighed according to individual merit — the response from gov rnment officials was not as forthcoming as it had been for the Balts. The explanation given was that “the group under consideration served voluntarily in the German armed forces” — which was in fact historically correct.(?) Though members of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS did enter Canada from 1948 on, it was not until June 15, 1950, that a formal Immigration Branch Directive was issued to admit the Ukrainian Waffen-SS members. Admission was deferred, however, in July 1950 for some months in response to objections raised by the Canadian Jewish Congress. [Fuller account in Chapter XII, Part 3 below]

Relaxation of guidelines with regard to service in the Wehrrnacht

Relaxation of guidelines with regard to service in enemy forces came about, to a certain extent, as regularization or confirmation of what had already become practice.

The ban on admission of German nationals as enemy aliens was still officially in effect in December 1949, and RCMP instructions included service in the Wehrmacht as a cause for rejection on security grounds. Yet, an RCMP officer with the Canadian immigration mission in Germany observed that according to a particular paragraph of those instructions, security officers would not reject a potential immigrant who served voluntarily in the forces of the enemy, unless that immigrant was

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also a subject to rejection on.one of the other grounds mentioned in the instructions. Since security officers no longer considered service in the Wehrmacht as in itself a reason for rejection, the RCMP officer recommended to his superior in London that service in enemy forces be deleted altogether from the list of grounds for rejection.(B) Without any explicit policy declaration on the subject, voluntary service in the Wehrmacht had come no longer to be regarded in itself as grounds for rejection for admission to Canada.

In response to representations from the CCCRR, an Immigration Branch Circular dated May 20, 1950 advised all immigration and visa officers that with regard to German nationals and ethnic Germans, “service in the German Armed Forces during World War II, with exception of service in the German Waffen-SS, does not constitute cause for rejection”. An exception, however, had already been approved for ethnic Germans who served in the Baltic Waffen-SS (as discussed above) for whom admission would be decided on the basis of whether the service was to be deemed the result of forced conscription, or voluntary enlistment.(9)

Representations from the CCCRR and evolution of policy with regard to former members of the Nazi Party and the Waffen-SS, 1950-1951

In a new brief to the Minister of Mines and Resources (Harris) dated September 18, 1950, Herzer expressed gratitude for government’s responsiveness to the CCCRR’s requests to date, which resulted in the admission under CCCRR auspices of some 15,000 Volksdeutsche and 6,500 Mennonites over less than a three year period. In particular, Herzer was grateful for the dramatic reduction since March 1950 in the number of rejections on the grounds of German nationality:

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Last spring, when the rejections on account of German citizenship, born, assumed or conferred, presented a formidable cause of rejections, we brought this to your attention. You granted our petition and when P.C. 1606 was passed, the situation improved almost immediately. Where approximately three-quarters had been rejected and only one-quarter admitted, immediately after the passing of P.C. 1606 this percentage was practically reversed.(10)

Herzer added that the implementation of P.C. 1606 had brought with it “practically no criticism in Canada or elsewhere” and that it had only facilitated the entry of desirable immigrants. Not yet aware of the September 14th order-in-council removing German nationals from the category of enemy aliens, Herzer proposed that Canadian screening officers be more clearly instructed that the new generous provisions of general immigration regulations were to apply to Volksdeutsche, even if they have assumed German citizenship; and that restrictions on German nationals be altogether lifted.

The main concern of Herzer’s brief was with the remaining rejections of prospective immigrants coming under CCCRR auspices. According to Herzer, only 60 percent of the applicants in July 1950 were granted visas. Of the 40 percent refused, half were for unavoidable medical or civil reasons, and half for reasons of security. In his estimation the security rejections were on two grounds: membership in the Nazi Party and membership in the Waffen-SS.

Herzer then stated that many Germans and Volksdeutsche from the East joined the Nazi Party “ignorantly, innocently and under economic pressure,” for example, farmers and labourers who joined the Party so as to retain their farms or jobs:

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most of them were ignorant of or out of sympathy with the policy of the Nazi Party towards the Church, toward the Jews, and toward others who did not agree with them.(ll)

With regard to the Waffen-SS, Herzer argued that it was a formation quite different from the SS proper, service in which was entirely voluntary, whereas service in the Waffen-SS was voluntary only until 1942; that Volksdeutsche in particular were drafted by whole villages and individuals had no choice but to follow orders conscripting them. Pointing to the difficulties involved in proving that conscription was coerced, Herzer assured Harris that information from reliable and impartial refugee organizations or testimonies of the respective churches could be trusted. Herzer’s proposal was that

Nominal membership in the Nazi Party, or the Waffen S.S., shall not in itself constitute a barrier to Canada, if it can be reasonably established by the proper officers overseas that the prospective immigrant comes within the class of the ,nominal, ignorant or forced membership in these two organizations.(12)

Herzer pointed out that following the implementation of P.C. 1606, Volksdeutsche DPs were receiving preferential treatment at the CCCRR’s camp at Bremen, in effect at the expense of those who were German nationals, and that the CCCRR was prepared to offer its services to the government for the processing of German nationals.

In this instance as in previous ones, Herzer did not miss the opportunity to observe that the then existing situation with regard to rejections was causing much dissatisfaction amongst sponsors of Volksdeutsche and German nationals in Canada, and that there was a broad base of support for government action in this regard:

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we believe that you are as anxious as we are to expedite the movement to Canada of desirable future citizens and to eliminate any possible avoidable delay. It should not be necessary to say that the Volksdeutsche are diligent and efficient people; that they have formed the largest group among Canadian immigrants of German racial origin and that their sponsors in Canada have helped to open and settle the Western Canadian prairies and have also contributed to the development of British Columbia and Ontario.(13)

Herzer concluded his brief with praise for the Canadian government, saying

that there is no Government in the world which has brought the same sympathetic understanding to the problem of the homeless refugees particularly the friendless Volksdeutsche refugees or expellees.(14)

As pointed out by one of the leading Baptist members of the CCCRR, W.J.H. Sturhahn, in his history of postwar German immigration to Canada, the government felt compelled in the late 1940s and early 1950s particularly after the creation of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, to show “production”, and the “pool of Volksdeutsche” was regarded as undoubtedly the greatest available source.(15) Deputy Minister of Immigration Laval Fortier, circulated Herzer’s brief among External Affairs officials and the RCMP, inviting comments on the CCCRR’s proposals in the light of the new regulations removing German nationals from the category of prohibited enemy aliens.(16)

Herzer had meanwhile transmitted to Fortier information obtained in Washington by C.F. Klassen of the Mennonite Central Committee regarding the U.S. Displaced Persons Commission’s ruling with regard to the Baltic Waffen-SS, described as different from the SS in purpose, ideology, activities and qualifications for membership.

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However, Herzer’ s proposals met with some opposition from the RCMP. P.W. Bird, Officer-in-Charge at the Canadian Government Immigration Mission in the U.S. who had examined Herzer’s September 18 brief, reported to irnrnigration Branch that Klassen’s observations regarding both Nazi Party members and Mennonites were distorted to the benefit his organization; that in fact, after tentative clearance of a party of Mennonites, it was found necessary, after checking with the BDC

to withdraw security clearance on a large number of people. It was confidentially reported to me that the persons refused clearance had grossly misrepresented themselves to the Security Officer, and the Chief Security Officer advised me that all had been soundly rejected as security threats. I cannot see that we should conc rn o rselves about any “hardships” that ensued to those people any more than we should about the hundreds of other displaced persons or refugees who have been previously refused entry to Canada under similar circumstances.(17)

Bird also asserted that clearance from the de-Nazification Court in Germany, which in his view was aptly referred to as “The White Wash Court”, was no guarantee that the person concerned was no longer a security threat. With regard to membership in the Waffen-SS, Bird emphatically stated that

Regardless of all representations submitted by this Committee, a minute percentage of Vo1ksdeutsche was forced into service in this Nazi Organization. Membership in the S.S. “Elite Guard” and the Waffen-SS was, to the best of my knowledge and belief, entirely voluntary and regardless of any submissions that the CCCRR or any other organization may make I shall not believe differently…(It is) very hard for our examining officers to disprove their statements. Our only safe-guard is to be guided by the advice given by the Allied Government Officials and by the records of the Berlin Documentation Centre.(18)

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Bird further stated that

the records of the Refugee Organizations in this country are by no means reliable or impartial, and that the testimonials from. churches or Ministers of the·Gospel cannot be taken at face value.(19)

In his view, it would not be good policy to constitute the CCCRR at that time as processing agents for German nationals on behalf of the Canadian government.

The CCCRR’s offer with regard to processing was not in fact accepted. The other proposals, however, received a more sympathetic hearing from Immigration External Affairs officials.

An October 1950 memorandum from European Division expressed the view that it was time for a change in the security regulations with regard to Volksdeutsche who, it was felt, had a greater claim to admission than German nationals, recently ruled admissible. It was felt, moreover, that public attitudes were changing:

For the first few years after the war when the displaced persons problem was acute and shipping accommodation at a premium, it was no doubt necessary to be strict in the application of the security regulations in deference to Canadian public opinion. Conditions have now changed and with them the Western attitude towards Germany.( 20)

A rationale for leniency in admitting former members of the Nazi Party or of the Waffen SS was also presented, in agreement with the CCCRR’s proposals:

Rejection should not be based on the simple fact of membership in the Nazi Party or the Waffen S.S. in itself, but rather on the circumstances of entry and the degree of participation.(21)

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Major offenders, it was stated, should continue to be prohibited from entry, but the proposals put forward by the CCCRR seemed “eminently sensible” and in the view expressed by European Division, offering a sound justification for greater leniency in admitting former members of the Nazi Party and of the Waffen-SS, particularly those who might be considered to have been purely nominal members or to have joined under duress. Anticipating considerable scope for discretion in this regard on the part of security officers in the field, it was suggested that in order to reduce the number of rejections on security grounds, greater leniency should be exercised in borderline cases. This message was reinforced in a memorandum from G.de.T. Glazebrook of External Affairs’ Defence Liaison Division to Consular Division — which controlled visa granting in Europe on the theme of a remarkable ‘about face’ said to be taking place in the relations between the Germans and the English speaking peoples.(22)

A communication from the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs to Laval Fortier then endorsed the CCCRR’s proposals with regard to relaxation of restrictions on former members of the Nazi Party and the Waffen-SS, expressing approval for entry of “a larger number of minor offenders”, as long as “major offenders” were kept out.( 23) It should be noted that according to Allied Control Council Directive No. 38, ‘Major Offenders’ included — in addition to the Gestapo, the SD, the Allgemeine SS and other SS organizations — all office holders and members of the Corps of Political Leaders of the Nazi Party, and members of the organizations of the Nazi Party, including the Waffen-SS for all officers down to and including the rank of Sturmbannfuehrer (Major).(24)

Following the government’s response to the CCCRR’s requests, RCMP instructions of November 8, 1950 stated that with the exception of the leadership itself, membership in the Nazi

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Party should not in itself constitute a reason for rejection. As for participation in the key organs of the Nazi regime, in the view of Inspector MacNeil, RCMP representative on the Security Panel, members of the Waffen-SS, General SS, Abwehr (the intelligence collecting agency of the German army), SD (Sicherheitsdienst/Security Police) and Gestapo (Political Police), should continue to be rejected since membership in these organizations was entirely voluntary. (MacNeil did not mention the SA Sturmabteilung/Storm Troopers). The fact that membership in what MacNeil referred to as the “token” Waffen-SS regiments formed in the occupied countries was not confined to volunteers, in his view dictated that individual cases would have to be judged separately, each on its own merits, “as there would be exceptions worthy of consideration” (25) An RCMP circular of November 30, 1950 declared that:

excepting members of SS, Waffen SS, Abwehr, SD, Gestapo or other important and dangerous Nazis when identified, membership in the Nazi, Party was no longer ground for rejection. (26)

The explanation for the change was explicit:

In view of the desire for increased immigration to Canada, it was decided that the regulations concerning former Nazis would be relaxed and in the Nazi Party membership would no longer be considered grounds for rejection. (27)

The outcome of these deliberations were communicated to Herzer by Fortier on November 18, 1950, acceeding partially to the CCCRR’s requests: membership in the Nazi Party was no longer to be in itself a cause for exclusion, but the government was not yet prepared to formulate a change in stated policy with regard to the Waffen-SS. It should be noted, however, that by this time screening guidelines and Immigration Branch Directives already permitted entry of Baltic and Ukrainian Waffen-SS members, and others, who could show that their service was not voluntary.

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In a letter to Klassen of the Mennonite Central Committee, Herzer mentioned that Colonel Fortier had indicated that the problems with Waffen-SS immigration would soon be solved. He also. stated that the Mennonitische Rundschau had indiscretely printed garbled news about the CCCRR’s meetings in Ottawa, and that as a result, negative reaction from the Jewish community was to be expected.(28)

Further development with regard to relaxation of restrictions on admission of Waffen-SS members, 1951-1952

In the course of 1951-1952, RCMP and Immigration officials continued to be preoccupied by the issue of further relaxation of guidelines with regard to admission of Volksdeutsche and German Waffen-SS members. The 1948 precedent set by Canadian officials for former Baltic Waffen-SS members was reinforced by the American decision in September 1950 to admit former members of the Baltic Waffen-SS on the grounds that their service in it was coerced. The CCCRR brought these developments to the attention of Laval Fortier in January 1951, who in turn brought it to the attention of both the Commissioner of the RCMP and the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs. Herzer continued to lobby Harris and Fortier to further liberalize policy, warning them that the U.S. was picking up large numbers of desirable immigrants from amongst the Volksdeutsche.(29)

In February 1951, Harris met Herzer in Winnipeg in order to discuss the CCCRR’s concerns. Herzer suggested that the church organizations would investigate the story of Waffen-SS recruitment for the government’ s consideration. Harris seemed responsive, leaving Herzer with

the impression that he (Harris) personally, would like to say ‘yes’ to our proposals. We just ahve to make it possible for him to do so legally. (30)

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The CCCRR then embarked on writing drafts of a potted history of the Waffen-SS, emphasizing the coercive nature of Nazi recruitment of Volksdeutsche and differentiating between the Waffen and Allgemeine SS.

To be sure, most Waffen-SS units were combat units. It remains, however, that basing itself on persuasive evidence, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg declared the Waffen-SS to be a criminal organization:

Units of the Waffen-SS were directly involved in the killing of prisoners of war and the atrocities in occupied countries. It supplied personnel for the Einsatzgruppen, and had command over the concentration camp guards after its absorption of the Totenkopf SS, which originally controlled the system.(31)

Historians such as John Armstrong have pointed to the diversified uses to which the Waffen-:SS was put, including concentration camp duty:

Himmler adopted the practice of awarding nominal Waffen SS status to personnel in other branches of his appanage, either for administrative reasons or to protect them from conscription. In 1944, for example,· some 40,000 of the 600,000 members of the Waffen SS were employed in other components of the SS organization. More than half of them were assigned to the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office ( SS-Wirtschaftsund verwaltungshauptamt, or WVHA), which ran the concentration camp system. Although the concentration camp personnel were not under the command of the Army or the Kommandoamt der Waffen SS, they wore Waffen SS uniforms and carried Waffen SS paybooks. Furthermore, there was a relatively limited but nevertheless continuous exchange of personnel between the concentration camp staffs and the combat formations of the Waffen SS throughout the war. In short, the denials of SS apologists notwithstanding, there existed a connection between the Waffen SS and the concentration camps.(32)

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By 1951, it was possible to assert a new perspective. Lobbyists in Canada on behalf of the Waffen-SS could point to American precedents. The U.S. Internal Security Act of March 30, 1951 stated that involuntary membership in totalitarian organizations was no longer a bar to immigration, and the DP Act was being interpreted accordingly to permit the entry of 7000 ethnic Germans over the next fifteen months, including those who had served in Waffen-SS units.

These various arguments were integrated in an April 1951 brief from the CCCRR to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, essentially restating previous representations of the CCCRR in September and October 1950, requesting a review of regulations which excluded former Waffen SS members. In particular it was requested that ordinary Waffen-SS membership “since 1942 and particularly since 1943 be not considered in itself a cause for exclusion”.(33)

Government officials were receptive to these arguments. In May 1951 A.D.P. Heeny, Undersecretary of·State for External Affairs, reinforced his 1950 recommendation in favour of granting the request of the CCCRR with regard to Waffen-SS members, and communicated his endorsement of such relaxation of security screening regulations to P.T. Baldwin, Acting Director, Immigration Branch.(34)

The decision to relax immigration restrictions on Waffen-SS members was taken quietly and informally in May 1951 by the RCMP and immigration officials. Even C.E.S. Smith, the Director of the Immigration Branch, was not aware of what had transpired'”. A month later he asked the Commissioner of the RCMP for comments ‘on the issue of admission of Waffen-SS members, since the CCCRR was pressing him for a decision in this regard. Commissioner Nicholson responded that the matter had already been

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discussed in Mr. Baldwin’s office on May 16, when it was decided that “service in the Waffen-SS in itself would no longer be considered a blanket cause for rejection.” (35)

Following the change in policy with regard to German nationals, Wehrmacht veterans, and former members of the Nazi Party, and the softening of policy and practice with regard to Waffen-SS members, the Security Panel considered on May 17, 1951 statistics- presented by Immigration’s Security Section with regard to rejections on security grounds.

While approximately 20 per cent of all security rejections involved cases of ‘known or suspected Communists, only 2 per cent of these had been reviewed, and in the reviewed cases 20 per cent of the rejections were withdrawn.

The comment in presenting the statistics for this category was ·that “naturally we cannot anticipate any relaxation under this category.” ( 36) In contrast, where membership. in the Nazi Party was concerned, constituting approximately 25 per cent of all security rejections, 35 per cent had been reviewed, and in about 95 per cent of the cases reviewed, security rejection had been withdrawn. The Security Panel’s recommendation in this regard was that former membership in the Nazi Party be officially declared as no longer a reason for security rejection, and any case of rejection should be referred to the RCMP for reconsideration. Membership in the Nazi Party, in fact, had been disregarded since November 1950 as a factor in security screening, but not officially declared to be irrelevant to security screening until May 1951.

Service in enemy forces accounted for approximately 40 per cent of the security rejections. Of these, approximately 50 per cent had been reviewed, and in about 65 per cent of the reviewed cases, the rejection on security grounds was withdrawn. The explanation given for such a high percentage of favourable reviews was the change in policy with regard to German nationals


and Volksdeutsche by Order in-Council P.C. 1606, and the elimination of service in the Wehrmacht as a reason for security rejection — both factors having caused a steady increase ln the number of applications for review of persons who had been previously rejected. W.H. Hickman from Immigration’ s security section foresaw that favourable reviews were likely ln nearly all these cases. Hickman’ s personal opinion was that Waffen SS rejections in the past had been based on “public sentiment in Canada as a result of World War II, rather than the fact the authorities would consider the individual concerned a security risk ln Canada at the present time,” that policy now should be to judge each case on its individual merits, and that the criteria should be that the prospective immigrant would not become a present security risk and that his service in the Waffen-SS had not been of an objectionable nature. ( 37) However, apart from checks wlth British and American lntelllgence, existing sources for information, such as the BDC, about past ‘objectionable’ service ln the Waffen-SS, were seldom examined: nor was there any formal interrogation with regard to military service in security screening forms until 1953. (See Annex 3 to this report).

Immigration’s position with regard to former Waffen-SS members, stated in a May 1951 memorandum and closely following arguments presented in the CCCRR brief of April 17, was that:

as there are some cases involving compassionate grounds and when age of enlistment or when circumstances surrounding enlistment appear to warrant consideration, recommendation is being made that service ln the Waffen SS, in itself should no longer be a blanket cause for security rejection rejection for such service to be based on the individual case. ( 38)

The Director of Immigration Branch then communicated to Laval Fortier the RCMP’s current position and External Affairs’ earlier recommendation in October 1950, resulting in a Security Panel

– 252 –

decision on July 5 to remove from the category of automatic rejection on security grounds cases of Waffen-SS members forced to join or conscripted after January 1, 1943. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Harris) was then able to respond to Herzer’ s April 17th brief, informing him “that members of the Waffen-SS who joined after January 1, 1943 will not be rejected automatically if it can be established a prospective immigrant was forced to join that group” there was no mention of a cutoff dateline. Herzer then dispatched a confidential telegram to George Berkefeld, the Director of the CCCRR’s processing camp in Bremen, to inform him to invite Waffen-SS veterans to reapply, since 95 per cent of th se who joined after January 1st 1943 were now eligible for admission, and those who joined before that date could be presented to security officers as special cases. A follow-up letter advised Berkefeld not to refer to this new development publicly, but to let it “percolate” among sponsors in Canada.(39)

The Bye Report: (December 1951): The main stated criteria governing decisions to admit or refuse former members of the Waffen-SS or of other Nazi organizations concerned the issue of whether the individual had joined the organization or military formation in question voluntarily or by coercion. As discussed above, that distinction was a rather fluid one which gave considerable discretionary scope to security screening officers.

In early 1952, the . RCMP was circulating a detailed report by Security Officer Bye outlining recruitment policies in the Waffen-SS and service in the Waffen-SS by persons from various national groups. The basic proposition of the Bye Report was that security regulations dealing with former membership in the Waffen-SS were not sufficiently discriminating. The formal

– 253 –

grounds for blanket rejections at the time included membership in the SS, the Waffen-SS (German), the Abwehr, SD, Gestapo, and non-German members of the Waffen-SS who joined that organization prior to January 1, 1943 and are found to bear marks of S.S. blood group.(40) Non-German members of the Waffen-SS who joined after January 1, 1943 were required to satisfy the security officer that they had been drafted, that is, that they did not enlist voluntarily. In Bye’s view the categories needed refinement in order to take into account: Germans who had previously been of another nationality who had been naturalized by compulsion or coercion: Volksdeutsche who joined the Waffen-SS prior to January 1, 1943 because they were subject to conscription: Germans who were conscripted .into the Waffen-SS at a very early age: ethnic Germans living in terr.i.tor.i.es occup.i.ed by Germany and who never assumed German nationality, even though conscripted before January 1, 1943 under laws governing ethnic Germans. Bye also concurred w.i.th previous opinions w.i.th regard to -existing policy which required for purposes of admission evidence that service in the Waffen-SS had not been voluntary in his view it was rarely possible to produce such evidence.

While Bye’ s analysis and conclusions supported a more lenient approach to admission of Volksdeutsche who were members of the Waffen-SS, he had strong reservations about Waffen-SS members from Roumania and Hungary. According to his findings, these people had definitely volunteered and ought to be rejected regardless of the date of enlistment. Perhaps revealing an an ethnic bias in this regard, Bye stated that these Roumanian and Hungarian ex-Waffen-SS members, were in any case “much inferior to German ex-members as potential Canadian citizens”.(41)

– 254 –

RCMP and Security Panel conclusions with regard to former Waffen-SS members, 1952

A. Sincennes, Chief Security Officer at Karlsruhe, communicated to Ottawa aspects of Bye’s report which militated against relaxation of restrictions wit_l:1 regard to non-Volksdeutsche and non-German Waffen-SS members, who, according to Sincennes, had definitely volunteered for service in the Waffen-SS.(42) Sincennes added that Volksdeutsche and others from the Baltic States, who had become German citizens and who were given farms or benefits upon resettlement in occupied Poland, also did so voluntarily. In Sincennes’ view, the date January 1, 1943 was too early for compulsory conscription for non German nationals; he therefore suggested the January 1, 1944 date as more appropriate, since it was only after that time that German authorities, short of manpower, were pressing anyone they could into service. He further suggested that the phrase in the instructions requiring former members to satisfy the security officer that they did not volunteer be waived entirely, and that the deciding feature should be the date of commencement of service after January 1, 1944. (43)

The RCMP’s conclusions in April 1952, after examining Bye’s study was that non-Baltic, non-German and non-Volksdeutsche members of the Waffen-SS were most likely volunteers, and that leniency should be shown to those· who were conscripted.

A broad range of exceptions for the Waffen-SS was approved at the May 1952 Security Panel meeting, despite reservations expressed by A.W. Boulter, representing Citizenship and Immigration, that:

This at best is a dubious group and unless there is reason to envisage serious grounds for consideration on their behalf they should be refused visas. The large backlog of eligible German applicants does not suggest the need to select from this group.(44)

– 255 –

Categories now admissible, according to the Security Panel’s recommendations, included former Waffen-SS members who were

German nationals who joined before the age of 18, when there are reasonable grounds for believing they were conscripted or joined under coercion.

Volksdeutsche formerly residing in occupied territory, whether they were subsequently naturalized German or not, when there are reasonable grounds for believing were conscripted or joined under coercion.

Volksdeutsche and other nationalities who were resettled and naturalized German before joining, when there are reasonable grounds for believing that naturalization was not of their own choosing, and reasonable grounds for believing they were conscripted or joined under coercion.

German nationals, Volksdeutsche formerly residing in territory not occupied by the Wehrmacht, whether subsequently naturalized German or not, or other nationalities, when any of these persons can satisfy the Security Officer that they were conscripted or joined under coercion.(45)

In communicating the Security Panel’s decision to the Director of Immigration, Deputy Minister Laval Fortier omitted the fourth exception, which in effect made a mockery of the first three exceptions since it did not provide for the coercion requirement in assuming German nationality, and since it referred to German nationals and other nationals formerly residing in. territories not occupied by the Wehrmacht and therefore clearly volunteers.(46)

It is not clear whether the RCMP similarly omitted the fourth exception approved by the Security Panel.

– 256 –

Further CCCRR memoranda to the government in January 1953 requested that the cut-off conscription date for admission purposes be rolled back by two years to January 1st 1941, or “if this is thought too radical to change it at least one year to January 1942”.(47) (The story of the CCCRR’s lobbying in this regard and the government’s response continues at pages 296-297 below).

Immigration and security screening policy with regard to admission of Nazi collaborators

Cold War considerations had conditioned the approach of the Western Allies in the years immediately following the war with regard to Nazi collaborators from Eastern European countries. As a result, many were able to evade screening and/or apprehension, either because of the absence of documentation and information in their regard, or because, as anti-Communists, they elicited sympathy in the West. (See Chapter I Part 2 and Chapter XII Parts 2-5 of this report for further discussion of the Allies’ and Canadian government policy and practice with regard to Nazi collaborators)

Prior to 1951, there were no specific security screening guidelines for persons who may have collaborated with the Nazis in the occupied territories and who were no longer residing in those territories, other than for those who served in the German armed forces. Following the signing of treaties with Finland, Italy, Hungary and Roumania and the removal of nationals from these countries from the category of enemy aliens, External Affairs informed Canadian missions abroad that persons from these countries who had served in the armies of their own countries (albeit in collusion with the Nazi occupying forces) should not be refused admission to Canada on account of such service, unless recorded on the official lists of war criminals — lists which were seldom consulted, as noted earlier.

– 257 –

Restrictions had been relaxed for the Baltic Waffen-SS as of April 1948 (see pages 235-237 above), and, in some cases, for other non-German Waffen-SS. An RCMP study has recorded that some fifteen former members of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Galician Division entered Canada prior to June 15, 1950, the date of the government directive which first ruled them admissible.(48)

Again, and as discussed in earlier sections on security screening, there were serious gaps in the information available for Eastern European displaced persons. Screening for this category of prospective immigrants was reduced to the applicant’s statement of facts in an oral interview, and on checks with British or American intelligence, who on an undetermined number of occasions had-their own programs in which some of these people were used for intelligence or anti-Soviet purposes (See Chapter XII below). Whatever screening was undertaken was usually done with a view to determining the risk the individuals might present to current security concerns that is, to screen them for possible Communist background.

The view from Immigration in May 1951 was that for collaborators who had resided in Nazi occupied territories, the RCMP should withdraw objection on security grounds “when in their opinion, the circumstances surrounding, and the degree of collaboration indicated that favourable consideration was warranted”.(49) It was therefore recommended that

collaboration, in itself, not be considered a cause for rejection, except for those whose crimes are such that they are not desirable” a rather vague specification; that regulations with regard to collaborators be relaxed so long as the individual concerned did not “present a security risk in Canada at the present time and, providing the degree of collaboration and circumstances surrounding same warrant such leniency”.( 50)

Considerable discretion was thus to be given to the security officer to make a judgment based entirely on the applicant’ s presentation of the facts.


Guidelines as of 19§1 required that collaboration cases be divided into two categories, following denazification guidelines: (a) major and minor offenders, and (b) lesser offenders, _ followers and exonerated cases. The policy which emerged was that category ( b) should be cleared for security,

without hesitation. For category (a) collaborators,  the procedure involved referral of the particulars of all those cases for which representations were received at Immigration Branch in
Ottawa to the Deputy Minister of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration for his decision.(51)

In late November 1951, G.de T. Glazebrook of External Affairs’ Defence Liaison Division and a· member of the Security Panel, transmitted to Gordon Robertson of P.c.o. recommendations from A.J. Andrew, the Head of the Canadian Mission in Germany, to relax restrictions on Nazis, following denazification guidelines.(52) Glazebrook also noted that there was a consensus of opinion amongst the missions in Paris, Oslo, Brussels and Copenhagen that minor collaborators should be admissible and that those who served a prison term should be regarded as having their slate “·wiped clean.” It was felt, however, that major collaborators should still be barred. These would include persons cc:mvicted of fighting against the Allies; those convicted for involvement in the ,taking of life and in activities connected with forced labour and concentration camps; those employed by German police and security- organizations and who acted as informers against loyal citizens and resistance groups; and those charged and found guilty of treason.(53) There were virtually no mechanisms in place, however, to detect background of this nature.

It was Laval Fortier, Deputy Minister at Citizenship and Immigration, who had since May 1951 required that all cases of major and minor collaborators be sent to him for personal review, that full details of investigations be forwarded to


Ottawa, and that decision with,regard to their admission be taken in Ottawa. In a communication to the Commissioner of the RCMP, dated November 29, 1951, Laval Fortier expressed the view that

information supplied by the various Visa Control officers (with regard to collaboration) is not sufficient to enable me to reach a decision. Additional information concerning the exact nature of collaboration practiced, as well as the present status of the prospective immigrant with respect to punishment and loss of military, political and civil rights would be of considerable assistance to me in reaching a decision as to the suitability for immigration of the individuals concerned.(54)

In response to Fortier’s request, Supt. McClellan of the RCMP stated on December 11, 1951, that

your request for further particulars regarding collaborators raises a rather difficult question…it would require a great deal of field work to produce positive evidence, and the production of such evidence would, in most cases, be impossible.(55)

It was because of the meagre sources of information, McClellan asserted, that the RCMP had developed the policy to resolve doubtful cases in the favour of Canada, rather than to have doubtful individuals pass the screening examination on the grounds that there is too little evidence against them.

In resisting leniency with regard to admission of collaborators, the RCMP expressed the view that such persons would make undesirable immigrants, that it was

difficult to believe that proposed immigrants who are disloyal to the country of their birth would in fact be any more loyal to the country of their adoption…any large-scale immigration of collaborators from German-occupied countries would materially increase our difficulties should a state of emergency arise.(56)


As the organization charged with responsibility for the internal security of Canada, the RCMP’s reluctance to accept relaxation in the admission of Nazi collaborators to Canada was based on the grounds of a demonstrated liability for treasonous behaviour. Possible involvement in war crimes or crimes against humanity does not appear to have been at issue.

In the end, the policy which emerged followed Fortier’s cue. In collaboration cases which appeared to be minor or where there were extenuating circumstances; security officers were to clear the proposed immigrant at their own discretion. (57) In cases where there was a rejection, and where representation was being made by an interested party in Canada or where the report showed that. there was a known Canadian sponsor, the RCMP was requested to submit particulars to the Deputy Minister of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration (Laval Fortier), who would make the decision with regard to the suitability of the individual for immigration to Canada. All of the cases referred to Laval Fortier would have concerned individuals whom the RCMP was not prepared to clear for security. It would appear, then, that both major and minor collaborators who were detected, and for whom there was consistent lobbying in Canada, may have been favourably assessed for admission to Canada directly by Immigration officials, even though rejected on security, grounds by RCMP screening officers in Europe.

At the security Panel meeting of May15, 1952, it was pointed out that while current policy was to prohibit immigration of collaborators, cases were in fact being dealt with on the basis of individual merit.(58) External Affairs communicated to the Panel the consensus of opinion of missions abroad that collaboration in itself should no longer be a cause for


rejection, particularly where a prison sentence for collaboration had already been served, except “where a clear and present danger to Canada or Canadian institutions is involved”.(59) The RCMP’s reservations with regard to collaborators were noted, that

a person who had been disloyal to his country of birth, if the occasion arises, would be equally or more disloyal to a country of adoption”.(60) The Panel was advised, however, to bear in mind that collaboration sometimes resulted “only after intolerable pressures had been applied by the Germans.” ( 61)

Laval Fortier, who often had the last word on the admission of collaborators, both major and minor, made a plea on their behalf pointing out that former collaborators were often denied civil rights in their own country and had difficulty in rehabilitating themselves, and that it was natural for them to seek better conditions in Canada.

The recommendation which emerged at the May 15th meeting was that former collaborators should be excluded on grounds of “moral turpitude”, except minor collaborators whose actions resulted from coercion a recommendation in line with the view presented at External Affairs.(62) The reaction of RCMP Inspector W.H. Kelly, in charge of Security Visa Control in
London, upon examining this new guideline was to question whether collaboration should be struck out as a security reason for rejection altogether, now that collaborators are to be excluded only on grounds of ‘moral turpitude’ which ·were general grounds for undesirability with which Immigration Officers rather than Security Officers should deal.(63)

A November 1959 memorandum to the Cabinet Committee on Immigration signed by Laval Fortier stated that collaboration was not in itself-grounds for automatic rejection, except for persons who had engaged


a)…in activities harmful to the safety and well-being of allied forces or, b) those who were employed by German police or Security organizations and who acted as informers against loyal citizens and resistance groups.(64)

In practice, however, Immigration officials in the 1950s and afterwards did not pay much attention to excluding Nazi collaborators except in cases which were seen as potentially embarrassing or likely to arouse opposition and controversy.(65)

The issue of admission of Nazi collaborators resurfaced in 1961 as Immigration Branch officials discussed the admission of a particular individual. A senior official opined that nothing would be gained by seeking to re-open this business” and suggested

that in the case of collaborators no action should be taken unless the case is particularly active and correspondence is being exchanged. In such active cases we should, where necessary, secure an up-to-date report from the RCMP and submit the case to the Deputy Minister for consideration.(66)

Further cases illustrating government practice with regard to admission of Nazi collaborators are described· in Chapter XII (Parts 2 to 5) of this report.

Policy with regard to former members of the Abwher and SA

Security policy with regard to the Abwehr (the intelligence collecting agency of the German army), and the Sturm Abteilung (SA) was not decided until the Security Panel’s meeting of September 18, 1951. External Affairs expressed reservations with regard to the Abwehr, but Kelly, the RCMP liaison officer in London, had expressed the view, communicated to the Panel, that the U.S. authorities did not regard the Abwehr as objectionable as the SD and Gestapo and that, on the contrary, the Abwehr was “fundamentally anti-Nazi”.(67) Other representatives on the


Panel recommended that each Abwehr case be treated on its merits. The Panel did not accept the recommendation to liberalize policy with regard to former members of the Abwehr, but did decide that membership in the SA should not constitute
grounds for rejection in view of the fact that the objectionable nature of the SA had changed after the purge of 1934.

Application of Policy

For reasons discussed in the next chapter, it was in fact possible to bypass or further stretch the already relaxed guidelines with regard to former members of Nazi organizations outlined in this chapter, and to permit entry to technically inadmissible persons. A case examined by the Commission of Inquiry serves as an illustration.

Subject J admitted to Canada in December 1951, had been a member of the Nazi Party from 1933 to 1945, and of the criminal police until 1942, who joined the SS in which he served in 1942-1943 as SS sergeant and company sergeant with Einsatzgruppe D’s Einsatzkommando 10a, a unit which carried out killing actions in Southern Russia: BDC records also show that Subject J attained the rank of 2nd SS Lieutenant in 1944 and was awarded the Iron Cross and other Nazi decorations during the war years.(68)

Such cases indicate that it was possible in the early 1950s for persons who were clearly inadmissible according to immigration guidelines and whose wartime military record was available at the BDC, to enter Canada openly and under their own names. On the basis of documentation available it ls not possible to say whether such persons were admitted with the knowledge of Canadian officials or simply as a result of negligence in carrying out proper checks on prospective immigrants.


Chapter IX: Security Screening, 1951-1953

Focus on screening for persons “detrimental to the security of Canada : Deliberations ln the 1950s on the admissibility of former members of Nazi organizations were quite marginal to the main security screening concern- Communists. When the Security Panel considered ln March 1952 drafts for sections to be included in the new Immigration Act with regard to categories of alien persons who should be rejected on security grounds, and with regard to grounds for deportation of aliens already in Canada, the focus was hardly at all on former Nazis, whether major offenders or offenders, but rather on persons whose admission or presence ln Canada was deemed “detrimental to the security of Canada at that time”. Such persons were defined as

members of or associated with any organization, group or body…(which) promotes or advocates…unlawful opposition to or subversion of…democratic government, institutions, or processes as they are understood ln Canada, except persons who the Minister ls satlsfled have ceased to be members of or associated with such organizations, groups, or bodies and whose admission would not be detrimental to the security of Canada. (1)

The characterization of unacceptability, ln terms of doctrinal opposition to democratic government and current threat to Canadian security, in effect left out of the reckoning aliens who may have been prominent Nazis and who may have committed war crimes. By these guidelines such persons would not be deemed inadmissible or deportable — unless of course they presented a current security risk. That the determining factor was no longer whether one was a major offender, but rather, whether one was a ‘security risk’, was made clear in Laval Fortier’s statement to Norman Robertson:


Former membership in the Nazi and Fascist Parties is no longer a blanket cause for security rejection and very few rejections are being made for such membership, the only exceptions being persons who would present a security risk if admitted to Canada. (2)

As the shift in focus to current security risks took place, the Security Panel in the course of 1952 considered in some detail aspects of immigration security policy with regard to wartime collaborators and membership in Nazi organizations. The recommendations which emerged, put forward at the Security Panel meeting of May 15, 1952, inclined, unsurprisingly, towards greater leniency, these decisions setting Canadian government policy and practice with regard to security screening for the
next few years.

As indicated above, following the May 1952 meeting of the Security Panel, a range of exceptions for former Waffen-SS members was approved, and Nazi collaborators were to be dealt with on the basis of individual merit and not rejected, unless they were a current security risk or were deemed to be persons of ‘moral turpitude’.

Guidelines and problems in screening, 1951-1952

By mid-1951, rank and file members of the Nazi Party, Germans and others who served in the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS who were conscripted after January 1, 1943, had become admissible to Canada. Against this background, Government officials and the RCMP in particular paid attention to developments relating to the de-Nazification process in Germany. Reporting to the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Pearson) in August 1951, A.J. Andrew, the Head of the Canadian Mission in Bonn stated that


for obvious reasons the Occupying Powers are not interested in maintaining too close an interest in denazification and the main interest of the German authorities is in softening the lot of existing classified Nazis.(3)

In fact, the tendency — not yet the de jure regime was to eliminate for all practical purposes categories 3, 4 and 5 Nazis (lesser offenders, followers and persons exonerated) from classification, and for this reason Canadian officials were advised not to expect German authorities to inform them that a prospective immigrant was in any of those categories {“they might even condone an incidental concealment of the fact”), though one might still be able to obtain information concerning categories 1 and 2 Nazis (major_ offenders and· offenders).(4) Following denazification guidelines, and taking into account developments in Germany by mid-1951, Andrew’s recommendations with regard to admission of Germans to Canada were that no investigation for Nazism be conducted on Germans born after January 1, 1919; that no routine investigation be carried out in Germany on persons who were POWs in Canada and for whom records were available in Canada; that no further investigation be undertaken for persons able to prove that they were not in jail in Germany since January 1946; that Nazi Party members be accepted if they could produce evidence that they were not in categories 1 and 2 — regarding which one might obtain information from German authorities; and that categories 3, 4 and 5 Nazis be accepted on the assumption that they “have now seen the error of their ways and will make good citizens.”(5)

After considerable study of these proposals by RCMP officials, a number of problems were identified. With regard to the suggestion that POWs who had been held in Canada should not be routinely investigated since there were files on them in Canada, RCMP Supt. McClellan commented that, in fact, with the


exception of a few who came to RCMP notice when they escaped from POW camps or farms, there were no records available in Canada, since the records accompanied them when they were returned to Europe. With regard to police certificates stating that an individual in Germany had not been in jail since January,1946, McClellan informed Robertson that the Control Commission in Germany had given up jurisdiction over the Central Criminal Records, and that Canada was now being asked to provide payment for five employees to take care of checking Canadian Immigration lists against criminal records. In any case, McClellan observed, checks with local Police Registries were of little value, since it was common practice for German officials to doctor such records.(6)

The “Lookout process: The absence of measures to which the security screening system could resort in the event that an undesirable alien had already landed in Canada — such as adequate provisions for deportation — led to the establishment of the “lookout” process in November 1952, designed to prevent the movement to Canada of persons refused visas or clearance, or
those whose presence in Canada might be a source of embarrassment.

Lookout notices with lists of such individuals would be forwarded to all Canadian Visa offices and to the Head Visa Control Office so as to prevent those individuals from obtaining Canadian visas, or, in the event that a visa had already been granted, to arrange for cancellation of the visa by taking measures to withdraw it and to halt travel arrangements. Categories of individuals included in the lookout notices were: those refused on Stage ‘B’ grounds: persons about whom adverse information had been received, and persons ordered deported from Canada.(?)

If implemented, the lookout process should have screened out persons undesirable on security grounds and who may have included persons with war criminal background. However, the ‘lookout process’ was not put into place until the end of 1952, by which time an undetermined number of such persons would have already received


visas and arrived in Canada. By the end of 1952, moreover, the relaxation of guidelines with regard to admission of members of Nazi organizations and Nazi collaborators provided open and legal entry.to persons whose background made war criminality a distinct possibility.

Confusion with regard to security screening guidelines emanating from Ottawa A revised formulation in December 1952 of security screening guidelines wlth regard to former members of Nazi organizations, forwarded from RCMP headquarters in Ottawa to Kelly in London, shows the extent to which there was ambiguity and confusion with regard to .the issue. The communication stated that

German nationals, Volksdeutsche, members of the SS, the Abwehr, and the Gestapo are no longer subject to ·rejection unless they are classed as ‘major offenders’ or ‘offenders’ or are, in the view of the Security Officer, a security risk; that former membership in the Waffen-SS, regardless of nationality, is a cause for blanket rejection unless the security officer is satisfied that such members were coerced.(8f)

In practice, the latter category already included recognized exceptions for the Baltic Waffen SS since 1948; for Ukrainian members of the Galician Waffen-SS unit since January 1951 — though the record shows that at least fifteen had entered in 1948 and 1949; and, in cases where the security officer was persuaded that service ·was not voluntary, for Volksdeutsche and German Waffen-SS, since May 1951. With regard to the former category, the use of Directive No. 38 for determining ‘offenders’ and ‘major offenders’ was problematic. Former members of the SS, Abwehr an Gestapo were clearly classified as ‘major offenders’


or ‘offenders’ under Directive No. 38, yet here too there was the possibility that such persons need not necessarily have been regarded as ‘major offenders’ or ‘offenders.’ RCMP guidelines,
which allowed the individual security screening officer to decide whether an applicant fell into either of these categories, now also coloured his discretion in this regard with the higher priority consideration of whether or not applicants presented a security risk. The inclusion in this document of the SS and the Gestapo in the admissible class unless they were ‘major offenders’ or ‘offenders’ while placing the Waffen-SS in the category of blanket rejections is even more puzzling, since all other documents examined do not show any positive decision in this regard from the Security Panel. It seems likely that there was such confusion about what the regulations actually meant that security officers could in good faith judge after December 1952 that a former SS or Gestapo officer did not represent a current security risk, and that the possibility of war criminal background was a secondary or not generally relevant consideration.

With regard· to former members of the Waffen-SS, the more consistently-stated criteria for admission, based on ability to prove coercion was also problematic. Documentation was almost never available, the practice of requiring proof had long been abandoned, and the conscription dateline criteria was conditioned by effective and persistent lobbying on behalf of the
Waffen-SS, backed by artful historical argumentation.(9) It would appear that few former Waffen-SS members determined to enter Canada during this period would have been kept out so long as they could persuade the security officers that they had not been volunteers but conscripts.


Inadequacies in application of Directive No. 38: As a principal officer in the field, Kelly was well aware of the problems in application of the guidelines and made an attempt in January 1953 to clarify them. Following Directive No. 38, he interpreted the rejection guidelines as in principle applying to all members of the SS, SD, and the Gestapo since they were all classified as “major offenders.” If the broad general provisions of the Directive were to be followed, Kelly observed, a much wider range of-both ‘major offenders’ and ‘offenders’ would need – to be rejected. Kelly pointed out that if the intention was to refer to those ‘major offenders’ and ‘offenders’ so declared by the Tribunals set up under Directive No. 38, then. there was a problem. He had been informed, he stated, by a British Foreign Office expert that it was

impossible to check on the decisions of the Tribunals that arose from the authority of Directive 38 … for practical purposes, the provisions of Directive 38 were placed in the hands of various Area Commanders, who in turn deputized junior officers to conduct certain Tribunals. There is no knowledge in the British Foreign Office that the decisions of these Tribunals were collected or indexed in any way. The whole procedure was so unwieldy that soon after this particular operation went into effect, it was turned over to the German authorities to handle (Denazification Courts). These records were not reliable, as Germans appearing before the German Tribunals were invariably classified in much lower categories than should have been the case.

Certainly our present sources of information in Germany do not supply us with this particular information and as far as is known, to obtain it in view of the circumstances described above would be for all practical purposes, a waste of  time.( 10)

Moreover, Directive No. 38 had classified members of the Abwehr and the SA for the most part as ‘major offenders’or ‘offenders’, and all former members of the Waffen-SS down to the


rank of Unteroffizier as ‘offenders’, presumably, Kelly concluded, because “anyone who reached this position must have shown unusual zeal and particular leanings to the Nazi cause.” Kelly was therefore critical of the RCMP’s statement implying that “there are .members of the SS, the SD, the Abwehr- and the Gestapo who have been categorized lower than ‘major offenders’ and ‘offenders’. “( 11) There were contradictions then for a number of categories between Directive No. 38 and Canadian Security Panel guidelines, rendering the ‘major offenders’ and ‘offenders’ categories inapplicable in their original sense as outlined in Directive No. 38.

In order to establish workable guidelines, Kelly recommended a relatively strict interp.retation of: grounds for exclusion with regard to former membership in Nazi organizations and military formations — an interpretation which was not in keeping with- prevailing Immigration policy and Security Panel guidelines. As interpreted by Kelly in January 1953, the grounds for rejection should have been as follows:(12)


Kelly’s interpretation also provided for rejection of collaborators, leaving it to the discretion of the investigating security officer to decide whether “the circumstances of a collaboration were serious enough to warrant rejection.” Three different grounds of misrepresentation were also added as grounds for rejection: evasive and untruthful under interrogation; failure to produce recognizable and acceptable documents; and false presentations, such as use of false or fictitious name.(13)

The views of RCMP officers, however, did not prevail in this regard. The attempt by the RCMP to develop a relatively strict basis for the screening of former members of Nazi organizations and military formations was vitiated by the fact that until 1953 no written statement regarding wartime military service was required of applicants; by actions undertaken by Immigration officials and by developments in Ottawa.


RCMP-Immigration differences 1952-1953

The archival record shows that RCMP officers in the field were generally inclined to sustain the screening process and to follow policy guidelines. The record also shows, however, that these officers were on occasion not informed for some time with regard to changes in screening guidelines adopted in Ottawa, and that there were instances when they were either bypassed entirely or their decisions to reject applicants simply overruled by decisions taken in Ottawa.

Kelly complained in September 1952 to RCMP Headquarters that his office was not notified of important changes in policy on such important matters as who was to be included on the RCMP’s blacklist, or on criteria for rejection or otherwise of Waffen-SS members, in particular the Volksdeutsche.(14) It may be noted that the CCCRR was notified about the change in policy relating to former members of the Waffen-SS in July 1951, more than a year before Kelly, whose London office was in charge of overseeing security screening in Europe.

It was only in August 1952 that Kelly received new instructions with regard to admissibility of former Waffen-SS members following recommendations advanced at the May 1952 Security Panel meeting. Kelly recognized immediately that the “new instructions represented a very marked change in our policy concerning former members of the Nazi Party and its formations,” and tried to read between the lines and to simplify the wording so as to make the intent of the new guidelines clear. For example,·”he questioned whether “there shall be no automatic security objection to former members of the SD, the Abwehr, the SS and the Gestapo unless the individual has been classified under Allied Control Council Directive #38 as a “major offender” or an “offender.” Kelly pointed out that it had not been until then practice for Canadian security screening officers to follow


Allied Control Council Directive #38, by which the categories of ‘major offenders’ and ‘offenders’ were defined, and that
therefore there was no procedure in place to determine whether a prospective German immigrant belonged to one of these categories. His suggestion was that certificates from a denazification Court be required.

The view from RCMP Headquarters was that it was up to the Security Officer to reject anyone who he felt “should be included as an offender, whether or not he was formerly classified as such,” and that certificates from denzification Court were in any case “of little or no value.”(15)

It may be pointed out here that incomplete as the Allied denazification process was, it did often establish, in some cases inc-ontrovertibly a war criminal background. Kelly’s August 1952 letter appears to confirm that it was not practice for Canadian security screening officers to refer to lists of major offenders and offenders which emerged in the course of the denazification process. Furthermore, the category of collaborators, with its own subdivision of ‘major offenders’ and ‘offenders,’ had imperceptibly dissolved into the ‘moral turpitude’ category — still subject to immigration screening, but with much reduced emphasis and not for security purposes.

In carrying out their duty to keep undesirable persons out, RCMP officers were at times disturbed by directives from Immigration Branch overturning decisions ‘which they had taken in line with their guidelines. One such case occurred in February 1952, when a German woman who had been rejected in August 1950 for admission to Canada on the grounds of very strong affiliation with the-Nazi Party was again rejected by he security screening officer in 1952 because, in the view of the officer, the applicant was obviously lying. His determination — rejection on security grounds– was overruled by a directive from the Department of Immigration advising that the subject had passed


Stage ‘B’. ( 16) A comment on the RCMP document recording this episode referred to “numerous files” which had been forwarded by Immigration officials with the notation “having passed Stage ‘B’ ” — but without signature. The RCMP found such interference in the screening process annoying, particularly when done without notification. W.H. Kelly, head of the Security Section, Visa Control in London, complained in March 1952 to RCMP headquarters in Ottawa that

such information should be received here in order to maintain records correctly and also to ensure that a Security Officer who has conscientiously reported that there are security objections to the granting of a Visa does not subsequently find out only by chance and unofficially that his findings have been disregarded.(17)

Another instance of Immigration officials overruling RCMP decisions concerned fifty files at Karlsruhe for cases which had not passed Stage ‘B’ security clearance, and which then carried a notation from Immigration that they were ‘Clear for Security.’

In response to Kelly’s complaint, RCMP Headquarters responded:

As you are aware, in some cases the Immigration Department have overruled our decision and issued visas to proposed immigrants. This action does not constitute a clearance as far as we are concerned, ‘and it is not understood why a notation would appear on such files that a proposed immigrant had passed Stage ‘B’. (18)

In fact, Immigration officers in the field, working in conjunction with the security screening officers, had as their main objective to speed up the processing of immigrants, and ‘security’ screening was, in their view, an obstacle. Thus, Robillard, Chief of Immigration for Central Europe, was urging the American Central Intelligence Corps (CIC) — a prime


information source for Canadian security screening — to speed up processing of Canadian cases with which it was being inundated at the rate of 4000 to 5000 a month.(19)

Tension between the RCMP and Immigration was manifest at the policy-making level in Ottawa as well When C.E.S. Smith, Director qf Immigration in Ottawa, was confronted with the RCMP’ s position that no change should be made to guidelines providing for rejection of persons recruited into the Waffen-SS before January 1st 1944, he requested that the matter be put on the agenda before the Security Panel. P .M. Dwyer, the Secretary of the Security Panel pointed out to Smith that “four considerable exceptions” to the grounds for rejection for former members of the Waffen-SS had been made to the rule excluding former members of the Waffen SS from immigration to Canada. ( 20) Referring in particular to the case of two Volksdeutsche which the German Foreign Office brought to the attention· of Robillard, Dwyer pointed out that the exceptions would apply to them

since they were both residing in Yugoslavia which was German occupied territory. You will note the phrase “when there are reasonable grounds for believing they were conscripted or joined under coercion.” My understanding of the circumstances is that very many Volksdeutsche in occupied territory were drafted into the Waffen-SS and that the German Foreign Office is substantially correct on this point. Therefore if your officer in Karlsruhe is satisfied that this was so in the cases of Anton Scherfel and Johann Pfeiffer, it is within his discretion to admit them to Canada.(21)

Thus· criteria for deciding whether Volksdeutsche were coerced into the Waffen-SS was reduced to the fact that they resided in German occupied territory. Dwyer further informed Smith that the “rather arbitrary date of January 1, 1944” had already been dropped. ( 22) Smith duly transmitted this “strictly secret information” to Robillard. Apparently, the two Volksdeutsche in