Kapitänleutnant Hans-Diedrich von Tiesenhausen served in the Kriegsmarine, torpedoed many Allied ships, awarded his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, before being a PoW in Canada. Then he "returned to Canada and settled in Vancouver where he spent the rest of his life working as a interior disigner and nature photographer." He died peacefully on July 8, 2020 in Vancouver at the age of 105.
How exactly did Tiesenhausen immigrate to Vancouver in 1951? Did the forebears of Immigration Canada not distinguish, and discriminate against, Wehrmacht battlers from civilians? Did Canada admit Wehrmacht personnel so soon after WWII? At large, did Canada admit former Wehrmacht personnel truly so soon after WWII?
Or did Tiesenhausen lie? Did he slip past Immigration Canada? See the research below.
Obrist on Margolian, 'Unauthorized Entry: The Truth about Nazi War Criminals in Canada, 1946-1956'
Margolian is a Canadian historian with a special interest in the history of World War II and Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. As the author of Conduct Unbecoming, he has already shed light on the story of the murder of Canadian POWs in Normandy and the trial and fate of the SS-General Kurt Meyer. In Unauthorized Entry, Margolian challenges and refutes accusations stating that the King and St. Laurent governments had been negligent in the admission of Nazi war criminals and collaborators to Canada. His study concludes that neither the immigration bureaucracy, nor the immigration lobby in Canada, nor the western intelligence community were as responsible for the influx of about 2000 war criminals and collaborators as has been generally assumed. Instead, he argues, the blame is to be put on the war criminals and collaborators who gained entry to Canada by forged identities or by giving false information about their wartime history. The great majority of Nazi war criminals and collaborators who settled in Canada after the Second World War were admitted not on purpose, but as a result of the absence of, or inaccessibility to, information about their wartime activities. Margolian summarizes that, in view of the benefit drawn from the immigration of the 1.5 million immigrants arriving in Canada between 1945 and 1955, it was worth taking the risk and admitting some 2000 war criminals to Canada.
Despite this immigration of criminals, Margolian makes his point that Canada was generally not a safe haven for them. Under the provisions of PC 1373, most German nationals, as enemy aliens, were not eligible to immigrate to Canada, unless they could demonstrate their opposition to the Nazi regime. Only by 1950 was the government willing to ease up the restrictions on German nationals. A major change took place in March 1950, when PC 1606 authorized the admission of Volksdeutsche who had been granted citizenship during the war. Furthermore, in September 1950, the German nationals were removed from the category of enemy aliens. Margolian identifies three factors that contributed to this change: The CCCRR lobbying began to affect policy-makers in Ottawa; Germans, particularly those with professional and technical skills, were considered among the most desirable European immigrants; and the refusal to issue short-term visas to German nationals inhibited the restoration of trade between Germany and Canada (p. 90).
In straightforward language, Margolian negates the accusations of Canada's presumably failing immigration screening procedures. He particularly attacks the findings of a report on war criminals prepared in 1986 by Alti Rodal for the Deschênes Commission. Rodal's extensive study had noted that the "predominant concern of screening policy and practice in the postwar decade was, in fact, not to identify and bar Nazis or Nazi collaborators, but, rather, to weed out possible communist infiltrators and spies, now seen as the primary security threat." In contrast, Margolian emphasises that Ottawa was not indifferent to the problem of war criminals immigration. Rather, it was the imperfect screening system combined with fraudulent statements of war criminals and collaborators that opened up possible sneak-in holes.
The fact that that Ottawa was simply not in a position to deal properly with the waves of immigrants from Europe presented one of the major problems in the early post-war period. The system of immigration screening had to be developed from scratch and was "a work in progress" (p. 202). The Canadian immigration teams that were sent to Europe to interview and select the candidates out of the thousands of displaced European refugees had to improvise screening procedures. The detection of subversives and undesirable immigration candidates was based on German civil and military records. It was only after 1950 that the until-then significant criteria related to World War II were relaxed, particularly in response to the changing international circumstances.
In the era prior to 1955, Margolian depicts several problems in the system of immigration screening: the inadequate training of visa-vetting officers; an overburdened security-clearance apparatus; and the occasional political interference, human frailty, and the even more dominant problem of qualitatively inconsistent sources concerning the applicants' background. The problem of corroborating sources was beyond the capacity of the Canadian government to resolve. Since a majority of "criminals" were Nazi-collaborators who had escaped from Eastern Europe, the evidence of their crimes remained hidden behind the Iron Curtain for decades. Relying on professional experience alone, Canadian immigration authorities were bound to commit mistakes. As Margolian argues, the mistakes committed were within acceptable limits.