Ukrainian-Canadian Nazi veteran Yaroslav Hunka and his family had to go into hiding, due to public anger over his past in the ranks of the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division during World War II, the CBC reports citing people familiar with the matter.
“They were afraid to show their faces,” Hunka family friend Barb Bonanfan told the network. He said he has known these men for more than 30 years and that they are valued by the community for their “integrity.”
Yaroslav Hunka, 98, was invited to a session of the Canadian Parliament during the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on September 22. He was presented as “a hero who fought for the independence of Ukraine against the Russians.” It was later revealed that Hunka served in the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division or Galizien Division, known for committing war crimes against thousands of Polish civilians and recruiting Slavic soldiers into the ranks of the Third Reich. .
Bonanfan said he knew Yaroslav was Ukrainian, but was not aware of his SS background. According to the interviewee, the family of the Nazi veteran did not expect that the Canadian authorities would offer him such a welcome and thought that he would be in the same room as Zelensky.
Amid the wave of criticism generated by the controversial ovation, the president of the House of Commons in Canada, Anthony Rota, accepted the responsibility of inviting Hunka to Parliament and decided to resign from his position. However, many in the North American country are unhappy that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not been blamed.