The following are selected statements about the ovations given to Yaroslav Hunka in the Parliament, from some of those countries and peoples who suffered at the hands of the Waffen-SS Galizien Division of Ukrainian Nazis of which Hunka was a member, or other similar Nazi collaborators who were given safe haven in Canada.

Russian Foreign Ministry

The public honouring of 98-year-old Bandera supporter Yaroslav Hunka, a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician), at the Canadian Parliament during Vladimir Zelensky's visit, is the best possible way to characterise the regime of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has embraced unbridled Russophobia. It was the most cynical abuse of the memory of Nazism victims. The Ukrainian collaborators who served Nazis evaded accountability for the genocide on the occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Europe, to be given shelter in Canada after the Great Patriotic War.

As much as certain members of the Canadian Parliament try to apologise retrospectively after receiving a storm of indignation from the Jewish community and even from Ottawa's ally, Poland, the fact remains that the ultra-liberal ideology propagated in Canada and permeated with hatred for Russia, its culture, religious and traditional values, essentially has the same roots as Nazism. It is no coincidence that there are monuments to the leaders of Ukrainian nationalism in the country and the overwhelming majority of the Nazis who received asylum like Yaroslav Hunka are living out their days in safety, honoured and cared for (in particular, by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland) as "fighters against Russian Communism."

The hostile actions of the Canadian government, which has been trying to surpass the United States in its anti-Russia sanction rage by constantly extending [sanctions against Russia] with more names of politicians, cultural figures and their family members, as well as entire education institutions, will certainly not be left without a response. We will not tolerate the fact that Canadian liberals are playing with Nazism and will take the necessary steps in the context of the Russia-Canada relations that are going through a crisis on an epochal scale through [...] Ottawa's fault.

We expect that healthy forces in Canadian society will speak out against the Nazification of history and daily life encouraged by the country's officials, along with aggressive Russophobia.

(September 25, 2023)

Statement of Belarus Foreign Ministry

Belarus, which lost every third citizen in the Second World War, is outraged and deeply offended by the footage of honouring a veteran of the SS division "Galicia" in the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament.

We are convinced that such a cynical attitude to the memory of thousands of innocent victims of Nazism is not an accidental incident, as the organizers of this show are now trying to portray it.

It is a kind of quintessence of the long-standing consistent policy of the authorities of Canada and a number of countries of the collective West to cover up and whitewash Nazi criminals and to deliberately condone attempts to rewrite history.

With this in mind it is not surprising that all requests of Minsk to the Canadian authorities for assistance in the investigation of the criminal case on the fact of genocide of the population of Belarus during the Great Patriotic War and the post-war period remain unanswered.

Suffice it to recall another Nazi criminal of Ukrainian origin, the infamous executioner of Khatyn, Vladimir Katryuk, who lived in Canada for more than 60 years and did not receive the punishment he deserved because the Canadian authorities refused to extradite him.

We demand that international and public organizations, associations and foundations commemorating the victims of the Second World War give a proper legal and moral assessment of this incident.

We await an official apology from the Canadian authorities.

(September 25, 2023)

Remarks by Polish Ambassador to Canada

Poland's ambassador to Canada, Witold Dzielski, told CTV on September 25 that the Waffen-SS Galizien Division contributed to the deaths of six million Poles during World War II, half of whom were Jewish. He said of the person who received an ovation in the House of Commons on September 22 as a hero of Ukraine:

"[Yaroslav Hunka] is a person who participated in an organization that was targeting Poles, was committing mass murders of Poles, not only the military personnel but also civilians. For me, such people should not be present in public life and probably should be prosecuted."

Talking to CBC that same day, Dzielski says House Speaker Anthony Rota should expand on his apology for inviting a Ukrainian who served in a Nazi unit to the House of Commons. In addition to apologizing to the Jewish community, he says, Rota should also recognize the atrocities this unit committed against ethnic Poles. When Rota resigned as Speaker on September 26, he referred to his actions as having "caused pain to individuals and communities, including to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world in addition to Nazi survivors in Poland among other nations."

Poland's Education Minister Przemyslaw Czarnek has called for Hunka's extradition. In an interview with Global News on September 26, Ambassador Dzielski clarified, "I don't think we're beginning an extradition process. There was a request of a Polish minister to the Institute of National Remembrance to consider that option." He explained that the Institute of National Remembrance is responsible for safeguarding records of Polish history and suffering, such as that during the Second World War, in which nearly six million Poles were killed during that time, about a quarter of the country's population.

"This institution in particular is very important in Poland and its role is to preserve the memory and to investigate crimes against the Polish nation, historically speaking," Dzielski explained.

"So, I'm sure this request will be considered at the Institute of National Remembrance, and possible some steps will follow. But at this point, it's the first steps of the request for the institute to get involved in the process."

Dzielski said he would have to check with the institute if they have a file on Hunka specifically, but that the unit multiple Jewish groups have said he served with -- 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS -- is well-known in Poland for its brutality.

This is why he said Poland is looking for a broader apology for the recognition.

"The apologies, which happened in the public sphere, address in particular Jewish communities, which is very appropriate and obviously needed in the context of the whole situation, but they did not address the Polish communities," Dzielski said.

"One needs to remember that this particular military group, that was brought to light unfortunately, acted against, in a brutal manner, murdered Poles ethnic Poles, ethnic Jews. Both groups were of Polish citizenship, so these were basically Poles."

He added that the omission of Polish people from these apologies is historically wrong.

Statement of Simon Wiesenthal Center

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to explicitly condemn the Galicia Division, an organization founded by the Nazis and part of the Waffen SS, that swore their allegiance to Hitler during World War II.

This follows the hailing of a 98-year-old "hero" by the Canadian parliament, who was a member of the Galicia Division. The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Canadian affiliate Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies has already called for the resignation of Anthony Rota as Speaker of the House of Commons after the former member of the Waffen SS, notorious for its involvement in Holocaust atrocities, was celebrated on the floor of the House of Commons.

"Nobody put a gun to their heads to serve in that division," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, where the Bible teaches us not to hold children responsible for the crimes of their parents.

However, we will never forget and never forgive. Over one million Jews where mass murdered in that region by the Nazis and their willing collaborators. This takes us back to post World War II when the British shipped 5,000 Ukrainians in Canada. Many identified as anti-communists but the British never informed the Canadian government that among them where individuals who were implicated in crimes against humanity and war crimes," Cooper added.

Simon Wiesenthal, the heroic Nazi hunter, refused to go back to Canada after his first visit as he said that there was no political will to deal with the issues of Nazi War Criminals by the Canadian government.

"Some ask who won the Cold War the former Nazi war criminals," Cooper concluded.

(September 25, 2023)

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 8 - September 2023

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