MONTREAL (JTA) — Vladimir Katriuk, a native Ukrainian who avoided deportation from Canada for 64 years after hiding his Nazi past to move there, died peacefully in Quebec.
Katriuk, who was 93, died on May 22, according to his lawyer.
For years Katriuk was second on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of “most wanted” Nazi war criminals. As a member of a Ukrainian battalion serving the Nazis in 1943, he was alleged to have been a key player in the massacre of Jews in a Belaraus village, with especially compelling evidence emerging in 2012.
Although in 1999 Canada’s Federal Court ruled that Katriuk lied about his Nazi past to enter Canada and ordered his Canadian citizenship revoked, he exploited Canada’s lengthy appeal process to stay in the country. That brought decades of criticism from Canadian Jewish bodies such as B’nai Brith, the defunct Canadian Jewish Congress, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
Just hours before news of Katriuk’s death was made public, CIJA issued a statement reacting to Russia’s criticism of Canada for not having extradited Katriuk back to Ukraine.
“We call on the Government of Canada to review this case and take the necessary steps to ensure that…Katriuk be held accountable for war crimes…” CIJA stated.
For decades, Katriuk lived as a beekeeper in the municipality of Ormstown, one hour southwest of Montreal.