Thursday 28 September 2023

Yaroslav Hunka, war criminal or patriot or both?

When German forces invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 they were greeted, understandably, as liberators. 

Millions of Ukrainians, Russians and Balts welcomed them and large numbers of soldiers willingly surrendered to the Germans. 

At the end of the war those in areas occupied by the British and Americans were given to Stalin.

Soviet citizens and emigres from Communism made up as much as a fifth of the German forces in the Soviet Union. About half of them were ethnic Russians. 
The British put 32,000 Cossacks who fought on the German side (with their women and children) into trains and trucks and delivered them to the Red Army. Many died, some escaped, and others lived until the amnesty of 1953. Even people displaying a French passport or British First World War medals were handed over to Soviet army.

In total, in Operation Keelhaul, some two million people were repatriated to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. This would now be considered  a breach of international law, refoulement.

According to Wikipedia:
'On the other side of the exchange, the Soviet leadership found out that despite the demands set forth by Stalin, British intelligence was retaining a number of anti-Communist prisoners under orders from Churchill, with the intention of reviving "anti-Soviet operations".[8] The 14th Waffen Grenadier Division, which was recruited from Ukrainians in Galicia were not repatriated, ostensibly because Galicia had belonged to Poland prior to September 1939, but in reality because MI6 wished to use the prisoners in future operations.[9] The officer in charge of screening the 14th Division for war criminals, Fitzroy Maclean, admitted in an interview in 1989 that it was "fairly clear that there was every probability that there were war criminals amongst them", but argued that in the context of the Cold War, such men were needed to fight against the Soviet Union.[10] On 23 March 1947, the United Kingdom granted asylum to the entire 14th Division, whose men were subsequently settled in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.[11] The Soviet government protested against this decision, stating that most of the men in the division had previously served in German police units in Galicia and were deeply involved in perpetrating war crimes, but using a brief written by Pavlo Shandruk, an officer in the division as its basis, the Foreign Office issued a statement denying the 14th division had been involved in war crimes.[11].'`    
One of the soldiers in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division was Yaroslav Hunka who was recently presented to the Canadian Parliament as a veteran anti-Russian freedom fighter and received two standing ovations. Any fool would have known that a man of his age who'd been fighting Russia in the war had been on Hitler's side, but it seems not to have occurred to anyone there. 

He was born in Urman, then in Poland, now Ukraine, and volunteered for the SS in 1943, aged 18. As far as I can see, no suggestion has been made that he committed any war crime, though the Polish government the other day said something about asking for his extradition. 

What humbug this latest scandal is, like most scandals in the news.

By the way I am sure he wasn't a Nazi - meaning a member of the NSDAP. People love talking about what the Nazis did rather than what the Germans did or the Ukrainians did - because that's not likely to offend modern Germans or Ukrainians - as if the party, not the German state and the Germans or the Ukrainians, committed the war crimes.


  1. The 14th SS Volunteer Division "Galicia" was formed in 1943 from among the Ukrainian ultranationalists of the OUN-UPA, who were engaged in the extermination of civilians. That was their task. They not only fought, but destroyed Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles and Jews. The unit entered directly into hostilities with the advancing Red Army in the summer of 1944, when things went very badly for the Nazis.

    In particular, "Galicia" was thrown into battle near Brody, where most of the division fell into the "cauldron". Its losses in killed and wounded amounted to about 60% of the personnel. The remnants retreated with the Wehrmacht and subsequently took part in the suppression of the Warsaw and Slovak uprisings, fought with the Yugoslav partisans in January 1945 That is, the front-line life of this unit, to which monuments were erected in Canada, and not just applause, turned out to be very short and shameful. And the punishers succeeded in atrocities and reprisals against civilians, to which there is a lot of historical evidence (1, 2).

    Maria Zakharova's Weekly Briefing


  3. Leo Kearse: Canadian Parliament gives standing ovation to a Nazi

  4. For once Politico is right. But he should not have been invited to speak because he fought against the Allies and therefore the British Empire.