From Nazi to beekeeper? Accused war criminal living quiet life in Quebec
Published Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:07PM EDT
ORMSTOWN, Que. - A man alleged to be one of the world's most-wanted Nazi war criminals is living a quiet life keeping bees and selling honey in rural Quebec.
Vladimir Katriuk's name was recently added to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of the world's 10 most-wanted suspected former Nazis.During a conversation at his house, the 91-year-old Katriuk told The Canadian Press that he wasn't aware his name was added to the list and did not want to talk about it.
"We have to stand up and say, 'If you are accused of a war crime, if you are accused of a genocide, Canada is not a home for you and there is no time limitation,'" said Steven Slimovitch, speaking for B'nai Brith.
The married Ukrainian-Canadian of Ormstown, Que., won't discuss anything about his time in the military or the serious allegations he faces. He has in the past denied taking part in war atrocities.
The prominent Jewish human-rights group says it ranked Katriuk at No. 4 on the list after new evidence emerged allegedly linking him directly to atrocities committed in a 1943 village massacre in Eastern Europe.
Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center says the Canadian government should immediately strip Katriuk of his citizenship and start the process to deport him to Europe -- where he could face prosecution.
"Whether it is the Katriuk case or any other cases, it takes us far too long to deal with these situations," said Slimovitch, alluding to the tortuous deportation of Leon Mugesera, sent back to his native Rwanda in January on charges of inciting genocide.
Mugesera spent 17 years in Canada before he was successfully deported.
"It shouldn't take years to examine a situation," said Slimovitch. "Canada should say loudly that we are not a home to war criminals."
The Federal Court ruled in 1999 that Katriuk lied about his voluntary service for German authorities during the Second World War in order to obtain Canadian citizenship.
But the Canadian government overturned a decision to revoke Katriuk's citizenship and allowed him to stay in the country.
Zuroff says it's ultimately up to the Harper government to determine whether to take away Katriuk's citizenship.
With files from The Canadian Press.