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Yes to Peace, Freedom and Democracy! No to Ultra- Reactionary Ukrainian Nationalism Under the Banner of “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes!”
One slogan which is appearing across the country is Glory to Ukraine. Even though it looks innocent enough, Canadians should be aware of its origins and use by Ukrainian nationalists during and following World War II, and especially how Canada has been making it an official Canadian stand since the Maidan coup d’etat staged by the U.S. and NATO in 2014.
Canadian officials have stood second to none in that endeavour since the arch-reactionary Ukrainian nationalist Chrystia Freeland was appointed a Foreign Minister and now Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Canada’s Freeland ended her speech on February 28 in which she declared Ukraine to be the “moral leader of the free world” with the words Slava Ukraini! ! (Glory to Ukraine). This is not Russian “fake news” as the government tries to say every time they are caught supporting the Nazi collaborators and their unjust anti-Russia cause in Ukraine.
Photographs of Canadian officials standing at barricades under this slogan with members of the AZOV brigade, and of swastikas and the NATO banner should give Canadians pause for thought as to what this slogan represents before they take it up. It is a slogan which stands in opposition to everything Canadians really stand for, which is the well-being of all Ukrainians and peace in Europe, not the triumph of Ukrainian nationalists and revanchism to humiliate Russia.
The fascist greeting “Glory to Ukraine!” (Slava Ukraini!) was invented in the early 1920s by the League of Ukrainian Fascists (UVO), which later merged with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). After the split in the OUN, the OUN-B, headed by Stefan Bandera, introduced another Ukrainian fascist salute, “Glory to Ukraine!” (Slava Ukraini!) and response “Glory to the Heroes!” (Heroiam Slava!), at the Second Great Congress of the Ukrainian Nationalists in Nazi-occupied Cracow which took place in March and April 1941, as they prepared to serve as Nazi auxiliaries in Operation Barbarossa.
Dr. John-Paul Himka, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, Classics and Religion at the University of Alberta and one of Chrystia Freeland’s uncles, was interviewed by Alberta-based Progress Report in 2017 when it came to public attention that Freeland, then Canada’s Foreign Minister, had been covering up her grandfather’s collaboration with the Nazis and that, in fact, she considers him to be a freedom fighter. Progress Report posted a short video of Freeland leading the Ukrainian Canadian Congress convention chant of Slava Ukraini, Glory to Ukraine. “I will never answer [that slogan]. I’ve seen so many terrible things signed with that but I study the Holocaust,” Dr. Himka said.
The OUN was established in Vienna, Austria in 1929 by fascist Ukrainian organizations which emerged in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Germany and western Ukraine, then known as Galicia, under Polish rule. It was headquartered in Berlin and had close relations with the Nazi Party even before it came to power. The OUN, organized under the protection of Hitler and Mussolini, were trained and armed by Germany and the Nazis and repeatedly declared that they stood with the Axis forces in the creation of a “new order” in Europe and the world.
The next year, a campaign of terror and assassinations began. The killing included Polish government and state officials and the attaché at the Soviet consulate in Lviv.
The documents of the OUN, the German, Soviet, and Polish archives and the archives of Jewish organizations documenting the Holocaust leave no doubt whatsoever about the OUN’s fascist ideology and policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Freeland tweeted a picture of herself at a Toronto rally on February 28 holding a black and red banner of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the OUN-B’s paramilitary pro-Nazi force known for its genocide. Freeland later deleted the post when people began exposing what the flag represents. She also shouted Glory to Ukraine! which is not an innocent slogan as portrayed by Canadian officials and media.
Canadians will ask why these slogans and symbols are promoted and taken up by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence amongst others? What is the aim? It cannot be an aim which favours the people of Ukraine, whose sacrifice to defeat the scourge of Nazi-fascism is legendary, or the peoples of Canada and the world. Canadians beware. Do not be fooled into picking it up!
History of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)
An early and influential political leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was Dmytro Dontsov, a follower of Mussolini. In 1926 Dontsov published Natsionalizm, in which he defined nationalism and a “healthy nation” as: “The strengthening of the nation’s will to live, her will to rule, her will to expand — these I have designated as the chief foundation of the idea of nationalism…The second foundation of the idea of a healthy nation should be the aspiration to war, the awareness of its necessity without which heroic deeds are impossible as is an intensive life or faith in it or the triumph of any new idea which seeks to change the face of the world.”
In 1940, the OUN split into two sections, with Stepan Bandera heading OUN-B, generally referred to as the “radical wing,” and Andriy Melnyk heading OUN-M. Despite their internal wrangling, both groups swore allegiance to the Third Reich. The slogan of Ukraine for Ukrainians was expressed in a note signed by the OUN-B as follows: “Long live a greater independent Ukraine without Jews, Poles, Germans; Poles behind the river San, Germans to Berlin and Jews to the gallows.” Jewish people were declared to be “the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime in the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in the Ukraine.”
The German invasion of Ukraine began on June 22, 1941. On June 30, 1941, the OUN-B, represented by Yaroslav Stetsko, issued a declaration which stated, “By the will of the Ukrainian people, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists under the direction of Stepan Bandera proclaims the formation of the Ukrainian State for which have laid down their heads whole generations of the finest sons of Ukraine.
“The newly formed Ukrainian state will work closely with National-Socialist Greater Germany, under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Moscovite occupation. [ ]”
The next day the OUN carried out a pogrom approved by the German High Command, slaughtering thousands of Jewish people as well as hundreds of non-Jewish Polish intellectuals and other prominent people together with their families. At least 58 pogroms are documented in Western Ukrainian cities, in which it is estimated that from 13,000 to 35,000 people were killed.
The participation of OUN militias in the murder of Jews is well documented, from OUN correspondence with the Nazis, their own flyers and directives, and even in movies and photos of Ukrainian militiamen in action. Some can be identified from the photos. OUN-B documents establish the collaboration between the Ukrainian militia and the Wehrmacht in joint actions against Jews. To this day the arch-reactionary Ukrainian organizations continue to deny their responsibility for these crimes.
The OUN-B and Germany reached an agreement to organize two OUN-B regiments, Nachtigall and Roland. Their role as Nazi collaborators was to set up local administrations, militias and the auxiliary police, organize OUN cells, recruit new members and “combat Jews and Communists,” both in western Ukraine and following on the heels of the invading German troops, in Soviet Ukraine.
Moving south into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, the heart of the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic, the Nachtigall battalion, led by Theodor Oberländer and Roman Shukhevych, perpetrated slaughters among the civilian population in the towns of Solochev, Tarnopol, Prokurov, Zhitomir and Vinnitsa. A monument to Shukhevych who is called a hero of Ukraine by Ukrainian nationalists stands outside the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in north Edmonton.
The Nazis rejected the Ukrainian “declaration of independence” because it conflicted with their aim of large scale colonization and genocide in the occupied territories. The arrogance of the Ukrainian nationalists led to Bandera and various other OUN leaders being taken into German “honorary detention” and it led to the official dissolution of the two Ukrainian collaborationist battalions, Nachtigall and Roman.
In 1942 the OUN-B formed the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which it directed with fury in a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide. In addition to 90,000 non-Jewish Poles, it killed thousands of Jews in the course of the “ethnic cleansing,” thereby, informally participating in the Shoah (holocaust).
Following the defeat of the Nazis at Stalingrad, the increasingly desperate Nazis decided to organize Waffen SS divisions in occupied countries and the Ukrainian 14th Waffen-SS Division Galizien was established. The Ukrainian Nationalists again officially reaffirmed their loyalty to the Third Reich. Many volunteers including officers from the Nachtigall Battalion joined the SS Galizien. The SS Galizien worked alongside SS-Sonderbattalion Dirlewanger, a unit that contained rapists, murderers and the criminally insane. The two organizations, at times, transferred officers between each unit, noted Per Anders Rudling, a historian of Eastern European history and Associate Professor at the Department of History at Lund University, Sweden.
The United Nations War Crimes Commission, the International Military Tribunal, that presided over the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, expressly declared the Waffen SS, the armed wing of the Nazi Party, to be a criminal organization involved in “the persecution and extermination of Jews, brutalities, and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, administration of the slave labour program and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war” as well as other crimes. SS-Oberführer Fritz Freitag, the Ukrainian unit’s commander, was found to have been directly involved in the mass murder of Jews in 1941. The exact number of victims of genocide, like the exact number of victims of the 1943 Volyn massacre of the Poles, is unknown.
In 1950, all surviving members of the Waffen SS Galizien who wished to immigrate to Canada were “cleared” for immigration despite the fact that the Waffen SS was a prohibited class, and not eligible for immigration at that time. In Canada, these people continued to claim they had “no choice” but to act as Nazi collaborators and even formed an organization of veterans of the SS Galizien.
At least twenty million people died in the Soviet Union in the Second World War in the battle to wipe out the scourge of fascism. In the Ukraine alone, an estimated 4 million civilians and 1.3 million soldiers and prisoners of war were killed, and 2.2 million Ukrainian citizens, some as young as 10 years old, were taken to Germany as slave labourers. From 4 to 5.5 million Ukrainians fought in the Red Army and many fought as partisans during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. Ukrainians suffered proportionally the most deaths at the hands of the Nazis of any nation.
The slogan Glory to Ukraine – Glory to the Heroes does not salute the Ukrainians who joined the fight against Nazi-fascism. Any attempt to say otherwise on the part of Chrystia Freeland, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s government ministers, spokespersons for the cartel parties with seats in Canada’s parliament or Quebec’s National Assembly or provincial legislatures and city halls across the country, as well as media cannot be considered an innocent mistake. To say the flag and slogans do not carry the political connotations established historically and by the present Ukrainian nationalists, whose main mission in life is to destroy Russia, is to purposely hide their fascist, pro-Nazi character. These slogans do not stand for peace or for the wellbeing of the people of Ukraine. They were banned following the defeat of fascism for good reason given the suffering of the Ukrainian people under their auspices. It is like shouting Heil Hitler and claiming it is done to support the German people and peoples of Europe.
Canadians need to pause and ask why these slogans are being resurrected today. Is this not a crime against the memory of all who fought and who made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Nazi-fascism and Japanese militarism, of all who died at the hands of the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators? Shame on those who want to deceive Canadians by introducing the slogans of fascists and Nazi collaborators as part of official usage under the guise that they represent peace, freedom and democracy. Making heroes of those who swore allegiance to Hitler and making monuments to their memory, who proclaimed that their freedom and independence required the establishment of a new fascist order in Europe, and the ethnic cleansing which would form part of their “independent Ukraine” and adopting their slogans must not pass!
Grzegorz Rossoli ski-Liebe. “The ‘Ukrainian National Revolution’ of 1941: Discourse and Practice of a Fascist Movement. The OUN, the UPA and the Holocaust: A Study in the Manufacturing of Historical Myths,” The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies Number 2107.
Per Anders Rudling, “The Honor They So Clearly Deserve’: Legitimizing the Waffen-SS Galizien,” The Journal of Slavic Military Studies 26:1, 2013.
Per Anders Rudling, “They Defended Ukraine: The 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr. 1) Revisited,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Sept. 2012, p.343.
Tadeusz Piotrowski (Editor), Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II, August 2008.
(TML Daily, posted March 3, 2022)