Unauthorized Entry

Unauthorized Entry: The Truth about Nazi War Criminals in Canada 1946-1956

Howard Margolian
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442682832
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  • Book Info
    Unauthorized Entry
    Book Description:

    Impeccably researched and engagingly written, this book is sure to make waves, both within the public at large and among advocacy groups on both sides of the war crimes issue

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8283-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-5)

    Answers to the question of how Nazi war criminals gained admission to Canada remain elusive. What little Canadians know about the issue comes from one seriously flawed royal commission report¹ and from the dollops of misinformation that war crimes advocacy groups periodically dish out. The best that can be said about these sources is that they are one-sided; at their worst, they are pandering polemics. In the absence of any objective public discussion, it is little wonder that Canadians have long regarded their government’s handling of the war crimes issue with suspicion and anger.

    Unauthorized Entryis sure to make...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Escape
    (pp. 6-20)

    On 7 May 1945, at Allied military headquarters, German representatives signed the articles of their country’s surrender. With a few strokes of a pen, the most destructive conflict in European history was ended. There was little time for celebration, however. The liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny revealed a continent on the brink of social and economic collapse. Six years of war had reduced many cities to rubble, while the ebb and flow of battle had rendered large tracts of rural land uninhabitable. Amid the squalor of bombed-out buildings and unburied corpses, urban residents eked out a miserable existence, their...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Fortress Canada
    (pp. 21-41)

    ‘Canada is a country of immigrants’ is one of the more hackneyed phrases in our national discourse. Yet, like most clichés, there is some truth in it. Between 1867 and 1914, Canada’s population doubled, rising from four to eight million.¹ Much of this increase was the result of immigration. Determined to fill the young nation’s vast uninhabited spaces, particularly the Prairies, Ottawa used publicity campaigns and financial inducements to attract more than two and a half million immigrants from the United States, Britain, and continental Europe. Scuttled by the outbreak of the First World War, the policy of nation-building by...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Test Cases
    (pp. 42-69)

    In October 1946, more than four months after the relaxation of PC 695, Ottawa finally put the close relatives scheme into motion. In keeping with Robertson’s original recommendations, the first contingent of immigrants from Europe would be a modest one. By special cabinet directive, Canadian visas were allocated for a maximum of 650 European refugees. All had to have family in Canada who were able and willing to sponsor them. Moreover, all had to be known to the government, with applications on their behalf already pending.¹

    The admission of the refugees was planned as a three-step process. First, a list...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Door Ajar
    (pp. 70-82)

    The objectives of the immigration lobby in Canada were fundamentally altered in the wake of the 2nd Corps movement. Having originated as a principled response to the European refugee crisis, the lobby shed its broad international and humanitarian outlook in favour of narrow ethnic and economic considerations. The business community was an important catalyst in this transformation. During 1945–6, Canadian business had supported a more open immigration policy, albeit with reservations. In the aftermath of the admission of the Polish ex-servicemen, however, the economic benefits of cheap labour imported from Europe were simply too promising to forego. Taking their...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE No Safe Haven, 1947–1951
    (pp. 83-115)

    In the immediate postwar period, the screening of immigrants had been carried out by the Canadian military mission in Berlin. As long as its responsibility for screening was limited to returning Canadian servicemen and their dependants, the mission had been able to cope. Problems arose, however, once refugees became eligible for admission. Most refugees were restricted to camps in western Germany, and so could not get to the mission in Berlin. Conversely, the mission had insufficient staff to cover the camps. As a temporary measure, the British Army allocated some space for immigrant processing at a facility in Hannover. But...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Exceptions That Proved the Rule
    (pp. 116-147)

    The process of lifting the restrictions on immigration to Canada was slow and methodical. Nonetheless, some cases were fast-tracked. Individual applicants tended to be the primary beneficiaries. Yet cabinet waivers were granted to groups as well. Between 1947 and 1951, there were three such cases. The first involved scientists and technicians from Germany, the second Estonian refugees from Sweden, and the third former members of a Ukrainian SS division. In each case, Canadian officials had to bend or set aside the immigration regulations in effect at the time. But, as we shall see, their actions did not result in any...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Diminishing Threat
    (pp. 148-160)

    From 1945 to 1950, Canada took in a total of 453,111 immigrants. One-third of the new arrivals were European refugees. By 1950, however, the refugee movement was losing momentum. Having gone a long way toward fulfilment of its international obligations, the Canadian government decided to cut the immigration budget for the fiscal year 1949–50. Particularly hard hit was spending allocated for assisted passages, without which many would-be immigrants could not afford to make the transatlantic crossing. The result was a precipitous decline in the overall level of immigration to Canada. After reaching a postwar high of 125,414 in 1948,...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT The Era of Risk Management, 1951–1956
    (pp. 161-186)

    During the early postwar period, Canadian immigration screening had been preoccupied with the threat of Nazi infiltration. Beginning in 1948, however, perceptions of the threat began to change. There is little question that the intensification of the Cold War was a major factor in altering perceptions. The crushing of Czechoslovakia’s independence in March 1948, the Soviet blockade of Berlin during 1948–9, the communist takeover in China in the autumn of 1949, and the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 all served to heighten anxiety in Western capitals about the danger of Soviet expansionism. The corollary to these...

  13. CHAPTER NINE Undiplomatic Passports
    (pp. 187-200)

    Thus far, it has been demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of Nazi war criminals and collaborators who settled in Canada after the Second World War were admitted inadvertently, either as a result of the absence of information on their wartime activities or its inaccessibility. Nonetheless, some cases defied such conventional explanations. Helmut Rauca, for example, managed to slip past Canadian immigration screening despite the presence in German archives of a lengthy paper trail attesting to his SS membership. Count Jacques de Bernonville also evaded detection, even though the war crimes judgment that a French court had passed on him in...

  14. Conclusions
    (pp. 201-206)

    ‘How were two thousand Nazi war criminals and collaborators able to gain admission to Canada?’ That was the disturbing but important question asked at the beginning of this book. In the search for answers, three possible contributing factors were identified: the immigration bureaucracy, the immigration lobby, and the western intelligence community. It has long been assumed that these interested parties, either individually or in concert, either because of their incompetence or purposefully, conspired to permit hundreds of Hitler’s former henchmen to settle in Canada. By this point in the narrative, it should be clear that their responsibility was a great...

  15. APPENDIX. Immigration Screening as a Research Problem: The Sources and Their Limitations
    (pp. 207-212)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 213-320)
  17. Selected List of Primary Sources
    (pp. 321-322)
  18. Index
    (pp. 323-327)