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WATCH: Did Volodymyr Zelensky, Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Parliament honor an actual Nazi?

Screencap from YouTube

As the magic eight-ball says: All signs point to ‘yes.’ The estimable Ezra Levant, a Canadian hero in the fight for freedom of expression, broke this news in this thread late last night:

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To break in for a moment, here’s a bit more from the article he links to:

The red and black flag has historically represented the Bandera movement in Ukraine. Stepan Bandera was a Nationalist Ukrainian politician during the Second World War who is accused of war crimes and leading atrocities against Jewish and Polish people. 

He is an incredibly polarizing political figure in Ukraine, as some view him a national hero who fought for Ukrainian independence. 

Bandera helped create the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (UPA), an organization that legacy media reports have described as being ‘far-right’ and ‘extremist’ and who have been characterized as ‘Neo-Nazis.’

In April 2021, Euro News described Bandera and the UPA as Nazi-collaborators and war criminals. 

‘Bandera, Shukhevych, and the UPA are controversial for several reasons. Critics point to the mass killings of up to 100,000 Jews and Poles and the fact that UPA cooperated with Nazi Germany at the beginning of WW2 until it became clear that Nazi Germany wouldn’t recognize Ukrainian independence.’

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And, of course, we have talked about Freeland before. But back to Levant’s thread:

That is the end of the thread. Naturally, there were reactions:

Also, the CIJA, which describes itself as ‘The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada’ put out this statement:

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The cut off text reads:

#Canada's Jewish community stands firmly with #Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression.

But we can't stay silent when crimes committed by Ukrainians during the Holocaust are whitewashed.

We also checked the Anti-Defamation League website and weirdly they have not said anything as of this writing.

Well, that’s a heck of a spin from the CBC narrator in that video, huh? (The CBC being state media in Canada.)

Meanwhile, the text of the post pulls few punches:

ATTENTION: On Friday, the Canadian Parliament paid tribute to 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Yaroslav Hunka, who fought against the Russians in WW2.

It's profoundly alarming and unequivocally condemnable that he received such honor, as his record shows that he fought alongside the Nazıs during the Third Reıch as a part of the 14th Waffen, also known as SS Galizien.

SS Galizien was involved in brutal actions and atrocities against civilians, such as:

▪️ Participation in anti-partisan operations, contributing to numerous civilian casualties.

▪️ Involvement in the mass murđer of Polish and Jewısh civilians.

▪️ The destruction and annihilation of whole villages, resulting in the displacement of thousands.

▪️ Collaborating in the oppressive Nazı regime’s endeavors to obliterate Jewısh communities.

▪️ Enforcement of the brutal policies of racial purity and Aryan supremacy propagated by the Nazı ideology.

The spectacle of standing ovations being given to an individual with literal Nazı affiliations is a stark reminder of the urgent and continuous need to combat the rise and normalization of (bio-)fascıst ideologies and actors.

Do you agree that SS Nazıs should not be honored in our parliaments?

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Also, Mr. Levant previously linked to a 'foreign' report by Forward (it's an American source, thus 'foreign' to Canadians). Here, he links to it again, and provides some background on who Forward is:

From the article:

The AP caption described Hunka as having ‘fought with the First Ukrainian Division in World War II before later immigrating to Canada.’ The First Ukrainian Division is another name for the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, the military wing of the Nazi Party; the unit was also called SS Galichina.

This is the same unit that is honored by controversial monuments in Canada, Australia, and, as the Forward recently exposed, the suburbs of Philadelphia and Detroit. Jewish groups have called for their removal.

Funny, we are eagerly removing statues of George Washington and even Abraham Lincoln … 

… but statues of actual members of the SS remain. For that matter, FDR locked up an entire ethnicity in America and no one has called for his monument to be torn down, either. It’s almost as if all of this statue-destruction and school-renaming is about undermining certain American values, rather than any outrage at historical injustice.

But back to the article:

Formed in 1943, SS Galichina was composed of recruits from the Galicia region in western Ukraine. The unit was armed and trained by the Nazis and commanded by German officers. In 1944, the division was visited by SS head Heinrich Himmler, who spoke of the soldiers’ willingness to slaughter Poles.’ 

Three months earlier, SS Galichina subunits perpetrated what is known as the Huta Pieniacka massacre, burning 500 to 1,000 Polish villagers alive.

During the Nuremberg Trials, the International Military Tribunal declared the Waffen-SS to be a criminal organization responsible for mass atrocities including the ‘persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labor program, and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners.’

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But the article notes something in Zelensky’s favor:

It is unclear whether Zelenskyy knew that Hunka fought with the unit. In 2021, the Ukrainian president joined the governments of Israel and Germany in denouncing a march honoring SS Galichina in Kyiv.

And this post makes an interesting point:

It is also worth noting that Zelensky’s military has been accommodating to Nazis: 

From the article she links to:

Many of the National Militia's members come from the Azov movement, one of the 30-odd privately-funded ‘volunteer battalions’ that, in the early days of the war, helped the regular army to defend Ukrainian territory against Russia's separatist proxies. Although Azov uses Nazi-era symbolism and recruits neo-Nazis into its ranks, a recent article in Foreign Affairs downplayed any risks the group might pose, pointing out that, like other volunteer militias, Azov has been ‘reined in’ through its integration into Ukraine’s armed forces. While it’s true that private militias no longer rule the battlefront, it’s the home front that Kiev needs to worry about now.

The article goes on to talk about how getting in bed with these actual neo-Nazis is causing domestic problems for Ukraine.

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Still, to be fair, we have some sympathy for the notion that as Ukraine’s David faces off against Russia’s Goliath, they can’t exactly be picky about who is going to help them. ‘The enemy of my enemy’ is my friend and so on, although we always thought this was an excellent counter-point:

And to address this current controversy, maybe Zelensky had no idea who this Hunka guy was, when he was introduced in Canada’s Parliament. The reports made it sound like it might have been a surprise for Zelensky, so maybe he didn’t know. But it’s hard to believe that Trudeau and his parliament had no idea who they were introducing. They knew. They just didn’t care.

And why would they, when so few people in the media are willing to call them out, even now?

***

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