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26 Sep, 2023 13:53

Poland calls for charges against Ukrainian Nazi veteran lauded by Canadian MPs

Warsaw's Ambassador called on Ottawa to try the 98-year-old Waffen SS officer for war crimes committed by his division
Poland calls for charges against Ukrainian Nazi veteran lauded by Canadian MPs

The Ukrainian Nazi veteran invited and honored in the Canadian Parliament last week should face prosecution for the actions of the Waffen SS, Polish Ambassador to Canada Witold Dzielski told ‘CTV National News’ on Monday. He insisted that the Canadian government issue an apology to the Polish people.

“This is a person who participated in an organization that was targeting Poles, was committing mass murders of Poles, not only the military personnel but also civilians,” Dzielski told the program, adding that Hunka “should not have appeared in any public place” to begin with and should instead “face prosecution for what his unit was doing” during the Second World War.

The diplomat stressed earlier in his remarks that it was “deeply hurtful” to see Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian who fought for the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, which was responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocent people, be applauded in Canada’s House of Commons last Friday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has described the incident as “profoundly embarrassing.” At the same time, House Speaker Anthony Rota, who invited Hunka to attend the special session of parliament also attended by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has stated that he “regretted” celebrating the Nazi SS veteran as a “hero” and offered his “deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world.”

Dzielski, however, has insisted that the statements from Trudeau and Rota were insufficient. He pointed out that it was “wrong” that Poland was not mentioned in the apologies delivered by Canadian officials, given that the Nazi division, to which the 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka belonged, had committed mass killings of Polish citizens.

The ambassador stated that while the apology and explanation of how such a person came to be invited to the Canadian Parliament were important and something the Polish side appreciated, it was nevertheless unclear why Canadian leaders only mentioned the Jewish community and entirely omitted Polish citizens.

“Remember that during the Second World War, six million Poles were murdered. Six million Poles died. Half of that group, three million, were Polish Jews,” he told the show, adding that it was important for the Canadian leadership to acknowledge the impact of last week’s incident on the Polish communities in Poland and Canada.

Meanwhile, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk has insisted that Rota had shown “a lack of insight, lack of knowledge of history and lack of diligence” and should suffer “some personal consequences” for his blunder and resign from his position as speaker of the House.