MONTREAL — The second most wanted man on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of Nazi war criminals — charged earlier this month by Russia with genocide — has died at age 93, his lawyer said.
Vladimir Katriuk passed away last week after a long illness, Orest Rudzik said Thursday.
News of Katriuk's death emerged several hours after the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said Ottawa should take the necessary steps to ensure that he be held accountable if he were found guilty of war crimes committed in collaboration with the Nazis.
Russia charged Katriuk earlier this month with genocide in connection with the 1943 killing of civilians in Khatyn, now part of Belarus. According to war reports, Katriuk was a member of a Ukrainian battalion of the SS, the elite Nazi storm troops, between 1942 and 1944. He had denied the accusations against him.
A study three years ago alleged Katriuk was a key participant in a village massacre.
The article said a man with Katriuk's name lay in wait in March 1943 outside a barn that had been set ablaze, operating a machine-gun and firing on civilians as they tried to flee the burning building.
Katriuk allegedly deserted his SS unit when it moved to France from eastern Europe in 1944. He lived in Paris before immigrating to Canada in 1951, according to court documents.
He later became a Canadian citizen and lived with his French-born wife in Ontario, working as a beekeeper.
In 1999, Canada's Federal Court ruled Katriuk obtained Canadian citizenship under false pretenses by not telling authorities about his collaboration with the Nazis but could find no evidence he committed atrocities.