A Polish-born Montrealer lied about his wartime activities and his role as a Nazi police collaborator when he came to Canada, the Federal Court has ruled.
Last week's ruling by Mr. Justice François Lemieux says that Walter Obodzinsky was a member of two German-sponsored police units and that a witness saw him at the scene of at least one massacre of Jews.
The Canadian Jewish Congress hailed the ruling and urged the federal cabinet to strip the man of his Canadian citizenship and deport him.
"I have no evidence before me to conclude that the defendant personally killed Jews, partisans or other civilians," Judge Lemieux writes in the ruling. "However, oral and documentary evidence shows that the defendant was an accomplice in the perpetration of atrocities committed, undeniably, during the German occupation of Belarus."
The Justice Department's war-crimes unit began proceedings three years ago to deport Mr. Obodzinsky. Now 84, he has angina and heart problems.
Mr. Obodzinsky can appeal the ruling before it is referred to cabinet for a possible citizenship revocation.
CJC executive vice-president Jack Silverston called on Ottawa to deal with the case expeditiously. "It's not a question of punishment but one of morality. Every case that's won by the war-crimes unit is a moral victory."
Mr. Obodzinsky was born in Turez, a Polish town annexed by the Soviet Union, then occupied by the Germans, then retaken by the Soviets.
The ruling backs Ottawa's claim that he was a member of police units that helped the Germans in atrocities against local Jews and other civilians fingered as anti-Nazi partisans.
Transferred to France as the Red Army rolled back the Germans, Mr. Obodzinsky defected, joining the French Resistance before enrolling in the Free Poles forces and fighting for the Allies in Italy.
His stint with the Free Poles enabled him to come to Canada at war's end and acquire citizenship.
The court sent commissions to take testimonies from Holocaust survivors, local residents and fellow wartime police officers now living in Britain, Israel and in Mr. Obodzinsky's homeland, now Belarus.
Ivan Biyut, a local resident who knew of Mr. Obodzinsky in 1941, told the commission that Mr. Obodzinsky volunteered to join the police auxiliary after the German invasion, the ruling says.
During that fall, local Jews were rounded up and shot on numerous occasions.
According to Mr. Biyut's testimony, Mr. Obodzinsky was present at least once when Jews were executed, on Nov. 11, 1941, although he noted that Mr. Obodzinsky kept his rifle on his shoulder.
Mr. Obodzinsky's lawyer did not answer a request for an interview.