Canadian beekeeper must face trial for Nazi crimes – rights activists

Vladimir Katriuk
One of the most wanted alleged Nazi criminals recently found living quietly in Canada - 91-year-old Vladimir Katriuk - must face trial, says Alla Gerber, the head of the Russian fund Holocaust.

Earlier this week, Canadian media reported that Ukrainian-born Katriuk was found living with his wife on a small farm, keeping bees and selling honey in rural Québec, not far from Montreal.

The man was ranked fourth on the list of top-10 suspected Nazi criminals by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The move followed a new study – based partly on Soviet declassified documents – alleging that Katriuk was an active participant in a massacre in the Belarusian village of Khatyn during the WW2. The paper states that on March 22, 1943, villagers of the German occupied village were herded into a barn which was then set on fire. Katriuk “reportedly sat behind the stationary machine gun, firing rounds at anyone attempting to escape the flames,” Canada’s ‘National Post’ cited.

Jewish rights activists urged Ottawa to reopen the case against Katriuk and strip him of Canadian citizenship. The alleged Nazi criminal emigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1951. In 1999, the Federal Court ruled Katriuk had been a Nazi collaborator in the past, but found there was no evidence he had participated in atrocities. In 2007, the Cabinet decided not to revoke his citizenship.

As the old story takes a new twist, the Canadian government reportedly promised to re-examine the case.

Katriuk denies any involvement in war crimes.

Russia’s Alla Gerber recalled that Simon Wiesenthal, an Austrian Holocaust survivor who spent his life hunting Nazi war criminals, said shortly before his death in 2005 that he “did not want” to continue his search any longer.

“But this one (Katriuk) was found. So there must be trial,” she told Interfax.

Memorial, one of leading Russian rights organizations, agrees, saying that crimes against humanity have no period of limitation and if Katriuk is really guilty of shooting civilians, he must face court, despite his advanced age.

“I hope a court in Europe, where he would most likely be extradited, would sentence him. Such examples are important for humanity,” said Memorial head, Arseny Roginsky.