26 September 2023
Last week the Canadian Parliament honored former World War II Ukrainian soldier Yaroslav Hunka, in the form of a standing ovation. This deplorable moment was a result of ignorance and lack of information about the facts of the Holocaust and an absence of sensitivity to the many Holocaust survivors who sought refuge in Canada post Holocaust, not to mention the many members of the Canadian armed forces who lost their lives fighting the Nazis. While Yaroslav Hunka fought during WWII, he did so as a member of the Waffen SS as part of the German war effort. Regardless of the political goals invoked by the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists to justify their approach, these people actively collaborated with the Nazis.
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, advocates the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy to war criminals associated with the massacre of civilians, Jews and non-Jews.
Yad Vashem continues to be committed to promoting accurate Holocaust remembrance, education, research and documentation. We call upon the Canadian government to partner with Yad Vashem's global educational efforts in bringing Holocaust remembrance and education to all relevant audiences worldwide, including in Canada. We invite the Speaker of the Canadian Parliament and other Canadian leaders to visit Yad Vashem in order to learn more about the Holocaust.