British officials wanted to dump ex-Nazis in Canada, documents show

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Newly released British archival documents are prompting calls for the Canadian government to investigate whether previously unidentified war criminals were sent to this country in the 1940s after Home Office officials in London tried to "get rid of" certain "less desirable" Ukrainian prisoners who had fought with a notorious Nazi unit during the Second World War.

The documents, brought to light by British amateur historian Stephen Ankier while researching the Holocaust fate of his Jewish relatives in Poland, illuminate a fierce internal battle between British government departments over the postwar handling of about 8,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war who had served with the SS Galician division of the German army.

Revelations about the row between Home Office and Foreign Office bureaucrats has already prompted a fresh probe of some of the 8,000 men by Britain's Crimes Against Humanity directorate.

One of the Home Office's main handlers of the issue, Beryl Hughes, complained at the time that asking Britain to absorb the entire unit of ex-Nazi soldiers was like "buying a pig in a poke," and she expressed her "apprehensions" about the wartime actions of the would-be immigrants.

But the documents also show Hughes and other British bureaucrats were hopeful many of the ex-prisoners could be sent to Canada, including about 80 who were believed to qualify for expedited immigration because they already had relatives living in this country.

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