Sucking up

Rating: NNHow could anyone take such a tumultuous and controversial period and wring all the drama out of it? Howard.

Rating: NN

How could anyone take such a tumultuous and controversial period and wring all the drama out of it? Howard Margolian’s book Unauthorized Entry: The Truth About Nazi War Criminals In Canada 1946-1956 achieves this and less.

His basic premise is that Canada did everything it could to keep Hitler’s henchmen out of Canada. If any managed to slither in, it was everyone’s fault but our government’s.

And if a couple of thousand Nazi war criminals did manage to get into Canada, so what? Compared to the hundreds of thousands of other refugees, it was a small price to pay.

It’s a good argument — unless you’re a survivor and you happen to see your persecutor walking free and happy down.

You’d think that an author who puts so much effort into proving the good intentions of the government would also explain why it took so long for law enforcement to move against the war criminals who did sneak into Canada.

The most interesting chapter covers the rat lines that helped smuggle Nazis into this country. These escape routes, whether run through the Vatican or the CIA, compromised Canadian security and helped foment sectarian strife within East European communities in the West. Of course, because those implicated are foreign intelligence agencies and not Canadian, Margolian shakes his finger at them.

He points out that many wanted Nazi war criminals found a place for political agitation in the offices of a shadowy CIA-connected, KGB-infested organization called the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN). What he leaves out is that this organization held its 1986 annual convention right here in Toronto, on the heels of the Deschecircnes Commission of Inquiry into War Criminals in Canada.

On the whole, it’s as if a dusty old filing cabinet had been tipped over and Margolian scooped up the files and threw everything into a manuscript — including the dust.

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