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April 01, 1994 - Image 59

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-04-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Nazi Collaborator
To Be Freed

Amsterdam (JTA) — Dutch
authorities have announced
they will free a 74-year-old
Nazi collaborator who was
jailed for life in 1992 after
being deported from Canada.
Dutch Deputy Justice Min-
ister Aad Kostol told
Parliament he had com-
muted Luitjens' life sentence
and he would be freed in
March 1995.
The decision was based in
part on Mr. Luitjens' age
and in part because
sentences in similar cases
have been reduced, the min-
ister said.
Mr. Luitjens was also
praised for his ir-
reproachable behavior while
in Dutch prison.
A former botany instructor
at the University of British

Mr. Luitjens served
as a guard in the
province of
Drenthe.

Columbia, in Vancouver,
Mr. Luitjens was extradited
to the Netherlands in 1992
after years of legal wrangl-
ing in the absence of any
extradition treaty between
the two countries.
Mr. Luitjens took part in
wartime raids by a group of
Dutch Nazi collaborators,
the Landwacht (Blood
Squad), during which Jews
and several members of the
Dutch resistance were
killed.
He served as a guard in the
province of Drenthe in the
years 1944 and 1945.
After being convicted in
the Netherlands in 1948 for
war crimes, he was sentenc-
ed in absentia to life in
prison.
Mr. Luitjens spent two
years in Allied prisons in the
Netherlands at the end of
World War II before escap-
ing to Germany, from which
he fled to Paraguay.
From there he emigrated
to Canada in 1961.
In 1987 his name appeared
on a report of Nazi war
criminals living in Canada.
In 1991, he became the first
Canadian to lose his citizen-
ship because of war crimes.
In 1992, after four years of

hearing and appeals, Mr.
Luitjens, by then a retired
university teacher, was or-
dered to leave Canada be-
cause he lied about his past
when he entered the country
and again when he applied
for Canadian citizenship in
1971.
Under a new treaty bet-
ween the two countries that
went into effect that year,
the Dutch government in
1992 sought and obtained
Mr. Luitjens' extradition.
In 1983, Sol Littman, di-
rector of the Canadian office
of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, tracked Mr. Luitjens
down in Vancouver.
But Mr. Littman took a
balanced approach to the
news.
Hearing that Mr. Luitjens
would be freed from prison,
Mr. Littman said he was,
nevertheless, satisfied that
justice had been done and
felt the Dutch had acted
honorably.
The statement noted that
Mr. Luitjens will have serv-
ed a total of four years before
his release, an average term
in the Netherlands for
crimes of this sort. Almost
all the life sentences impos-
ed by the Dutch government
after World War II were
subsequently reduced to
anywhere from four to 20
years.
The decision was con-
demned by B'nai B'rith
Canada.
Jonathan Richler, a
spokesperson for that group,
said, "We are not in sym-
pathy with convicted Nazi
war criminals and their ac-
cessories being released. We
regret the decision to allow
Mr. Luitjens to go free."
Irving Abella, president of
the Canadian Jewish Con-
gress, was also angered but
sanguine about Luitjens'
impending release. "We
regret that the government
of the Netherlands saw fit to
commute his sentence. But
we are happy he is not in
Canada."
Mr. Abella said that
"while there is no indication
that Luitjens will not at-
tempt to return to Canada,
"we will do everything to in-
sure that the denaturaliza-
tion process stands and that
he will not be allowed back
into this country."
Meanwhile, in Holland the
news has aroused little pro-
test. ❑

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