2024 Election

Zelensky and Trudeau Give Soldier Who Reportedly Fought for Nazi Germany a Standing Ovation

The Canadian parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have been reported to have given a standing ovation to a reported former member of a Nazi military division.

Following addresses to the parliament in Ottowa on Friday from both Trudeau and Zelensky, the Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota prompted a standing ovation as he honoured a “veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today even at his age of 98.”

“His name is Yaroslav Hunka… he is a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service,” Rota continued before a second round of applause.

In the caption of a picture published by the Associated Press showing Zelensky and Trudeau standing and applauding Hunka, the news wire service identified Hunka as a former member of the “First Ukrainian Division in World War II”. The division is also known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician), a division comprised mostly of Ukrainian volunteers after being established by Nazi Germany in 1943.

Despite the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg in 1946 concluding that the Waffen-SS was guilty of “many massacres and atrocities in occupied territories,” the government of Canada in 1950 decided to allow Ukrainians who served in the Waffen-SS to be admitted into the country from the UK. “These Ukrainians should be subject to special security screening, but should not be rejected on the grounds of their service in the German army,” the Canadian cabinet said at the time.

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In a Ukrainian language post on the blog Combatant News attributed to Hunak, he claimed to have joined the Nazi military division in 1943. The post also featured pictures of himself during the war, including his apparent training by the SS in Munich.

Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottowa described the celebration of Hunka as “truly unbelievable” and an “epic scandal“, questioning: “Did anyone in parliament or Zelensky realize that he served in [the] Waffen SS division?”

Although the 14th division of the Waffen SS has not been specifically found guilty of war crimes, it has been tied to several atrocities, including a reported massacre in Huta Pieniacka, a Polish village that had served as a shelter for hundreds of Jews.

Professor Katchanovski has also claimed that members of the Ukrainian division have been implicated in “numerous mass killings”, which includedmass executions and other similar massacres of Ukrainians and Jews in Pidhaitsi and Ustyluh and Poles in Edwardopole, Korchunky, Ameryka, Smoligow, Laskow, Chlaniow, and Wladyslawin, and participation in the suppression of the Warsaw uprising in 1944.”

A former officer of the SS Galacian Division, Michael Karkoc was also accused by the Associated Press of having been involved in the burning of villages, including women and children, and having lied about it to move to the United States.

The division was also addressed personally by Heinrich Himmler, who reportedly told them in 1944: “Your homeland has become more beautiful since you have lost – on our initiative, I must say – the residents who were so often a dirty blemish on Galicia’s good name – namely the Jews.

“I know that if I ordered you to liquidate the Poles, I would be giving you permission to do what you are eager to do anyway,” the SS commander added.

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Ukraine has come under international scrutiny for celebrating the Waffen-SS division, including bi-partisan condemnation from both Democrat and Republican congressional lawmakers in 2018.

For his part, President Zelensky, who has Jewish heritage, has also criticised his countrymen for honouring the division in 2021 when a series of parades were held across the country, including in Kyiv, with attendees waving the division’s flag and wearing its insignia.

Zelensky said of the marches: “We categorically condemn any manifestation of propaganda of totalitarian regimes, in particular the National Socialist, and attempts to revise truth about World War II.”

It is unclear if Zelensky, who has faced criticism over his military’s use of the neo-Nazi tied Azov battalion, was made aware of Hunka’s role in the division prior to his celebration in the Canadian parliament.

The Canadian government has also previously come under criticism over ties to Ukrainian Nazis, with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland having been reported to have attempted to cover up the fact that her grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Nazi propagandist, despite previous claims from her office that such claims were Russian disinformation.

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Ella Ford is a mother of two, a Christian conservative writer with degrees in American History, Social and Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies, based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.


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