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Trudeau and Zelenskyy Lead Parliament in Standing Ovation to Waffen SS Soldier

Left: Yaroslav Hunka in a World War II-era photo; right, Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
@Be_Responsible / X; @SLARTZONE / X

The following article, Trudeau and Zelenskyy Lead Parliament in Standing Ovation to Waffen SS Soldier, was first published on Flag And Cross.

Politicians and anti-Semitism activists are calling out the Canadian Parliament after a 98-year-old Ukrainian World War II veteran, who fought for the Third Reich, was given a standing ovation and praised as a “hero.”

The Associated Press identified the man as Yaroslav Hunka, who “fought with the First Ukrainian Division” before immigrating to Canada.

The First Ukrainian Division, however, was previously known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi Party’s Schutzstaffel (SS) military branch, according to The Forward, a New York-based newspaper geared toward Jewish readers.

“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,” the outlet reported. “In 1944, the division was visited by SS head Heinrich Himmler, who spoke of the soldiers’ willingness to slaughter Poles.'”

According to The Forward, units of the SS Galichina were responsible for burning alive between 500 and 1,000 Polish villagers in Huta Pieniacka, a center of resistance to German occupation in what is now Ukraine. The attack took place in February 1944.

The outlet reported that Hunka joined the division in 1943 and located several photographs of him during the war, including some showing him at SS artillery training and at the site of Himmler’s visit.

The Waffen-SS – which Hunka served – was found during the post-war Nuremberg trials to have committed “mass atrocities” against Jews war and was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal, the Forward noted.

SS Galichina veterans were eventually allowed to resettle in the West after the war. By that time, the unit became known as the First Ukrainian Division, the outlet noted.

None of this was recognized at Parliament’s Friday session, where Anthony Rota, Canada’s speaker of the House of Commons, praised Hunka as a “Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero” who “fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russian and continues to support the troops today, even at his age of 98,” according to Politico.

Hunka received a standing ovation from the assembly, as well as from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his guest of honor, the ethnically Jewish Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was there seeking continued support for his country.

It’s unclear at this point why Hunka, specifically, was given such praise.

Rota, however, has issued a statement expressing his “regret” for honoring the Nazi veteran, saying that he has become aware of information about the “individual” and wishes to make clear that the initiative to praise Hunka “was entirely my own.”

Trudeau’s office acknowledged Rota’s apology and said that it was “the right thing to do.”

“No advance notice was provided to the Prime Minister’s Office, nor the Ukrainian delegation, about the invitation or the recognition,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement, WMAQ-TV reported.

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, however, demanded an explanation as to “how this individual entered the hallowed halls of Canadian Parliament and received recognition from the Speaker of the House and a standing ovation.”

“An apology is owed to every Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Second World War who fought the Nazis,” the center said in a statement, according to WMAQ.

A spokesman for Canada’s Conservative party also noted the “troubling” reports of Hunka’s past and asked that the Liberal party explain why he was invited, AP reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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