Yaroslav Hunka, Ukrainian Veteran for the Nazi 14th Waffen SS Grenadier Division, At the Canadian Parliament during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech on September 22, 2024InternationalIndiaAfricaThe scandal over a Ukrainian veteran who fought in the ranks of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS during World War II being honored by the Canadian legislature has continued to reverberate, triggering fierce criticism, and raising questions as to how Ottawa became a “safe haven” for Ukrainian WWII-era Nazis.Outrage, indignation, revulsion – these powerful emotions drove Internet users to converge upon a recent stomach-churning post on X (formerly Twitter) linked to an op-ed by POLITICO Europe.”Holocaust revisionism” by “Hitleritico” was how sickened users branded the piece that the European edition of the German-owned news organization had whipped out amid the ongoing scandal over honoring a Ukrainian Nazi veteran in Canada’s Parliament.The story brazenly applied the word “nuanced” and “complex” when referencing Nazism, understandably making many readers’ blood run cold.
On September 22, 98-year-old Ukrainian Yaroslav Hunka, a former volunteer with the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, a Nazi military unit declared a criminal organization during the Nuremberg trials in 1946, was invited to the Canadian Parliament by Speaker Anthony Rota. The invite coincided with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's address to the Parliament, which saw Hunka lauded as a "hero" who fought against the Russians in World War II. Rota resignedover the backlash that followed the exposure of Hunka's role in the notorious SS.
Referring to the “mass outrage” over the Hunka row, the outlet wrote that it “stems from his enlistment with one of the foreign legions of the Waffen-SS, fighting Soviet forces on Germany’s eastern front.” The author of the story titled “Fighting against the USSR didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi,” printed on October 2, went on to ludicrously stipulate that it was “a demonstration of how when history is complicated, it can be a gift to propagandists who exploit the appeal of simplicity.”To unravel the meaning of this phrase for you, the outlet actually suggested that, “history is complicated because fighting against the USSR at the time didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi,” and “simple narratives like ‘everybody in the SS was guilty of war crimes’ are more pervasive because they’re much simpler to grasp.”Needless to say, the publication’s post on X was inundated by replies and community notes. (The latter allow users to collaboratively add context to what are perceived as potentially misleading posts. If enough contributors rate that note as helpful, the note is publicly shown on a post.)“Waffen-SS members had to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, which would necessarily make them Nazis,” one community note reads, adding a link to the Waffen-SS article on Wikipedia.Nazism was not “complex and nuanced,” users wrote, pointing out that it “actually is very simple, the Waffen SS were very bad.”© Photo : TTreehill/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.© Photo : 104yearoldRussi/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.© Photo : VanBehlen/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.Users slammed POLITICO for publishing “straight up holocaust revisionism.”© Photo : auspoldaily/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.Others on the Internet social media platform questioned if “this is for real,” and “what on earth the outlet was doing,” and demanded the post be deleted.Simply put, “Hunka is a nazi and he should be behind bars,” underscored the replies and community notes.© Photo : bruculino/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.© Photo : miguelsulis/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.© Photo : PierreIsLying2U/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.© Photo : AaronBastani/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.Still others on the Internet homed in on how the entire row and depiction of it on such media platforms “demonstrates that Canada has a long and consistent history of supporting fascists as long as it opposes socialists or communists.”© Photo : Zanzeh2/XScreengrab of X post.Screengrab of X post.Moscow, outraged by the honoring of a Ukrainian Nazi veteran in the Canadian Parliament, has since pointed out that the crimes of Nazism have no statute of limitations.”Such a sloppy attitude towards memory, and memory should be preserved in relation to the Nazis, no matter how old they were, there is no statute of limitations for these crimes … such sloppiness, of course, is outrageous. It is outrageous,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.However, at the same time Russia has no illusions about the prospects for the extradition of Yaroslav Hunka, Russian Ambassador to Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told Sputnik.”We understand, we do not have any illusions here, that this Hunka – even if the Poles, NATO allies of Canada demand extradition, if our relevant authorities also bring up the appropriate case and presentation for his extradition to Russia for his crimes against citizens of the USSR and citizens of Russia,” Stepanov said.AmericasUntold Story of How Canada Became a Safe Haven for Ukrainian WWII-era Nazis25 September, 17:57 GMT