MOSCOW — North Bay, Ontario, is a small Canadian city of immigrants from Europe, their upwardly mobile children, and their children’s children.
It’s the town where Yaroslav Hunka lives after he left the British prisoner of war camp where he and other Ukrainian soldiers of the SS Waffen Grenadier Galician Division were held after the end of fighting in Europe in 1945. North Bay is where his son Martin Hunka was chief financial officer of Redpath Mining, a mine engineering company. By North Bay standards, the Hunka family is better educated and wealthier than most, donating substantial sums of money to the local hospital, universities, and Ukrainian national organisations, and through the Redpath mining company to local politicians.
North Bay is also where the children of these men demonstrate Hitler salutes and Nazi Party slogans on the local high school football field.
This is the model of small-town church-going people of modest but respectable means who share the prevailing ideology of their homeland grandparents who were on the side of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Stepan Bandera in the last world war. The smiles remain the same, the stand-up stiff-arm salutes have changed. The minds remain fixed where they were in their grandparents’ ideology – that was the collective fascism of a century ago.* These people continue to believe that for their liberation, the Russian race should be destroyed – “suffocated” is the state policy term used by Canada’s Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly.
The churches they attend organised a rally for this goal at the North Bay City Hall featuring statements by the two Hunkas; they were St. Andrew’s United, Trinity United, Emmanuel United Church, and Omond Memorial United Church. “Nothing has changed,” Yaroslav Hunka said at what the churches called a “peace vigil”. “The same enemy. First Stalin was there and now this idiot. But Ukraine is not by itself like it was before. The whole world knows about Ukraine and the whole world supports Ukraine and that is very important.”
Martin Hunka added: “I think the support in Canada, the support around the world has been fantastic. At least now we have friends, whether that is going to translate into anything concrete on the ground, I think it already is.”
This is the town where the first Italian to become Speaker of the House of Commons in Ottawa ran a business and collected election campaign donations. That’s Anthony Rota, the man who invited the two Hunka men to be guests in the Speaker’s Gallery during the speech of Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky on September 22. Rota and the government’s leader of the House of Commons, Karina Gould, arranged for the two Hunka men to be seated in the front row of the gallery next to the leaders of Canada’s military and internal security forces, General Wayne Eyre, the chief of the Defence Staff, and Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Bryan Larkin, protected by two armed bodyguards.
When Rota spoke to introduce Hunka, he had just read from his script that in December 1941, after World War II had begun, the then-British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill appealed to the House in Ottawa “to rally for continued support of his country at war. It was a defining moment of history, and one that must never be forgotten.” Hunka and the SS Galicians came next on the same page of Rota’s script. “We have here in the Chamber today Ukrainian-Canadians, Ukrainian-Canadian veteran from the Second World War who fought [for] Ukrainian independence against the Russians, and continues to support the troops today, even at his age of ninety-eight [cheering; applause]…. We thank him for all his service, thank you [cheering; applause].”
Rota was making an explicit equivalence in Canadian policy for war against Russia between Zelensky, Churchill, and Hunka. Ideologically, this was also the equivalence between Hunka’s service to the Reich, “and what is at stake — Ukraine’s freedom, but also preservation of the rules-based order which is a fundamental part of the future of the democratic world,” Rota wound up.
Rota didn’t write this 7-minute, multi-page 2,500 word speech by himself. In draft, Rota sent it for review and editing by Joly, the foreign minister; by Gould, in charge of the government’s business in the House; and by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. An Access to Information Act (ATIA) request for the circulation list of the draft speech and for the other preparations for the Zelensky appearance, including the invitation list for the Speaker’s Gallery, would provide the evidence. No Canadian reporter or publication has attempted to do this, yet.
Watch the hour-long House ceremony here.
For Canada’s black voters, underrepresented in the House of Commons, Rota also tried to link Zelensky’s and Hunka’s war against Russia to Nelson Mandela’s speech to the Canadian parliament.
Every member of the House of Commons, General Eyre and Commissioner Larkin, stood and applauded Hunka’s wartime killing of Russians. Twice.
Top: the front row of Canadian officials in the Speaker’s Gallery of the House of Commons: from left to right, unidentified Canadian official; General Wayne Eyre (red ring), chief of Canada’s Defence Staff; Bryan Larkin, Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in charge of “specialized policing services”; unidentified Canadian official; Martin Hunka, retired chief financial officer of Redpath Mining, a mine engineering company of North Bay, Ontario; and his father Yaroslav Hunka of North Bay (red arrow). The two unidentified men not wearing decorations have been identified by a local source as bodyguards for the two ranking officers between them; the vetting by them of those seated next to them, the Hunkas, and those seated behind them, would have gone into considerable detail of their security files – details now denied by every senior official of the government who were on the House floor applauding. Bottom: https://www.cbc.ca/
This is the House of Commons floor plan of 2005. There have been renovations, seating changes, and rule variations since then. Number 21 in this diagram is the Speaker’s Gallery where Eyre, Larkin, Martin and Yaroslav Hunka and the bodyguards were seated during Zelensky’s speech on September 22. In an attempt to explain how the Speaker’s Gallery was filled, the government organ CBC reported through a former chief of protocol, Roy Norton, that in the standard procedure Joly’s ministry would have been consulted on filling the Speaker’s Gallery guest list. Notwithstanding, Norton claimed the government would have had “zero role in inviting Mr Hunka, or for that matter most of the people who sat in the gallery”. Norton had been a Canadian foreign ministry diplomat for many years, ending up as chief of protocol until 2019. He was out of government before wartime security measures surrounding the Ukrainian president and Canadian general officers took effect.
The standing, smiling, cheering, hand-clapping display of September 22 in Ottawa was, sociologically and psychologically speaking,<a href="https://dissidentvoice.org/2023/10/canada-and-the-nato-alliance-hunker-down-to-defend-race-war-against-russia/#easy-footnote-bottom-1-144479" title="Fascism has been repeatedly defined on this website, and in the author’s books, to mean the state when rule is by force (and the fear of it); when state budgets, parliamentary votes, and oligarch fortunes are frauds upon the taxpayers; and when government propaganda has become so pervasive, no alternative public beliefs are permitted, and subversion is the rule. That’s when the majority of people believe what it is demonstrably not in their interest; and when they encourage the use of state force to suppress everyone who dares to calculate and say otherwise, so that no one can any longer apprehend what is in their interest, or not. There have been countless experiments by US psychologists to identify the fascist citizen or totalitarian personality, ever since this became a wartime priority in the 1940s. The most telling of these is Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments at Yale in the 1960s. They demonstrated that normal individuals will administer fatal electrocution to others if they are convinced the authority to order them to press the button is legitimate. With a wave to Hunka, Rota got Canada’s parliament to demonstrate how easy it is to press the button.”>1 the same as German communities of the North Bay-kind and German officials of the House of Commons-type displayed throughout the 1930s and 1940s until they were stopped by the Red Army and silenced by Germany’s capitulation in May 1945. Not that their descendants in North Bay and across Canada have surrendered that German ideology in the seventy-eight years which have elapsed since then. The enthusiasm of the MPs to jump to their feet, shouting and saluting Hunka for killing Russians is evidence plain.
So are the subsequent attempts by the MPs, government ministers, and General Eyre to pin responsibility on Rota and claim ignorance for themselves. Eyre’s spokesman has announced “[the decision to recognize Hunka] was made independently within the Speaker’s office, without the involvement or awareness of people in attendance, including DND/CAF [National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces] members present.” The implication is that the chief of the Defence Staff twice stood to applaud without knowing who or why, and without understanding what Rota had said.
Deputy Prime Minister Freeland’s acute nervousness at concealing her role in celebrating Hunka and the Galician division was visible when she was questioned by a reporter six days after the event, on September 28. Asked whether she supports the reopening of the Deschênes Commission, the Canadian government investigation of war criminals in 1985-86, so that “Canadians can know how many veterans who fought with the Nazis are here in our country,” Freeland fidgeted with her hands for several seconds before evading a direct answer.
“As a government,” she said, “we are going to be very thoughtful about any further steps that need to be taken.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland at her press conference on September 28. Source: https://twitter.com/
A new investigation, if it were held and if the Deschênes Commission files on immigrant Ukrainian participants in German war crimes were reopened, would identify the German Army, SS and Nazi career of Freeland’s maternal grandfather, Mikhail Chomiak, who was still wanted for his war crimes in Poland in the 1980s. The first report of Chomiak’s active involvement in the liquidation of the Jewish communities of the Galician region around Lvov, appeared here in January 2017. At the time, Freeland dismissed the evidence as Russian propaganda.
Hunka has identified the British Army and its intelligence units as likely to be holding files on him and other members of the Galician division during their time in British prisoner-of-war camps between 1945 and 1951. According to Hunka, “on the last day of the war, the Galicia Division broke contact with the CHA in Styria, Austria, and surrendered to the British Army. In the prisoner-of-war camp in Italy, I met many guys from different villages of the Berezhany region. I remember that Yaroslav Babuniak, Stepan Kukuruza, Yaroslav Lototskyi, Lev Bahlay, Volodymyr Bilyk, Ostap Sokolskyi, Lev Babiy, Yaroslav Ivakhiv were there from the Berezhany gymnasium. I think it was God’s will that we should go around the world like the tribe of Israel, tell the world about Ukraine, and forty-five years later come to it with help.”
A Canadian government press release claims the British government asked Canada to take Ukrainian POWs like Hunka as immigrants. Hunka himself has not revealed where he met Margaret Edgerton, the English woman he married in 1951, before the two moved to Canada in 1954.
Edgerton’s obituary reveals she was born in Warwickshire, but this does not reveal how she met Hunka “after the Second World War.” Altogether, nine years of British Army, MI6, and MI5 records on Hunka are so far unmentioned in the Canadian and international reporting of his case.
Published in 2011 in Combatant News, a US-based platform for Ukrainian soldiers who had served the Ukrainian National Army (UNA), Hunka titled this statement “My Generation Memoirs.”
During two years of interrogations of Hunka and the other Galician veterans in Italy, the British government prepared some for covert operations against the Soviets in the Ukraine, and resettled others in the UK. “When the 8,500 Ukrainian former soldiers of the Galicia Division were transferred to the UK from Italy in May-June 1947 they were accommodated in prisoner-of-war (POW) camps in various parts of the UK, mainly in the agricultural areas of eastern England and southern Scotland. Occasionally the men were moved between camps. In July 1948 the numbers of men in camps at or near various locations were as follows: Hempton (Norfolk) – 1,682 men, Mildenhall (Suffolk) – 1,401, Allington (Lincolnshire) – 1,319, Moorby (Lincolnshire) – 1,264, Botesdale (Suffolk) – 1,010, Dalkeith (Scotland) – 958, Lockerbie (Scotland) – 463, other locations (including hospitals, where invalids were held) – 300. After the men were released from POW status (August-October 1948) and admitted into the European Voluntary Workers (EVW) scheme, the POW camps in which they were being held were taken over by civilian authorities and redesignated as hostels.”
Another Ukrainian account of British efforts to prevent Hunka and the other Galician veterans from being repatriated to Soviet Ukraine to face war crimes trials is described here. Because Hunka came from Berezhany, in the Ternopil region, the British classified him as a Polish national rather than a Soviet, and this protected him from deportation to his homeland.
That he and his associates may have participated in the killing of between 4,000 and 8,000 Jews in the area between 1941 and 1943 is suggested in this brief timeline. Hunka claims that in 1940 when he was a 15-year old high school student in Berezhany, he was one of six Ukrainians in a class of forty; two were Poles; and “the rest  were Jewish children of refugees from Poland. We wondered why they ran away in front of such a civilised Western people as the Germans.”
In 1941, when the killing of the Jews of Berezhany was under way, Hunka has written that “I was just 16 years old, and the next two years [1942-43] were the happiest years of my life. I did not imagine that what I experienced in those two years would give me love for my hometown so much that it would be enough for me for the rest of my life. Little did I know then that dreams of those two years, of the company of charming girls, of cheerfully cheerful friends, of fragrant evenings in the luxurious castle park and passages through the city would help me overcome the troubled times of the following years.”
In 1943, Hunka, then 18 years old, reports that “in two weeks, eighty thousand volunteers volunteered for the division, including many students of the Berezhany gymnasium. None of us asked what our reward would be, what our provision would be, or even what our tomorrow would be. We felt our duty to our native land – and left!” The massacres of several thousand Polish villagers started in the Ternopil region after this mobilisation in 1943, and after the Jews had been wiped out, including all of Hunka’s schoolmates. The most notorious of the Galician division’s attacks was the destruction of the Polish village and inhabitants of Huta Pieniacka in February 1944.
Hunka’s whereabouts as the Galician units moved through his home region killing Poles was almost certainly recorded by British military interrogators when Hunka was in their POW camp in Italy from 1945 to 1947. The British evidence on Hunka would have been passed to the Canadian immigration authorities if they had requested it at the time Hunka applied to leave the UK for Toronto.
The same evidence, and more, was gathered by the Polish authorities in Warsaw, where the Galician division and individual name files are being opened now at the Institute for National Remembrance (IPN). Soviet military and security files on Hunka are also available in Moscow.
In January 2017 Galicians vandalized the memorials to the villagers of Huta Pieniacka with Ukrainian national and SS graffiti.
British government propaganda is reporting the Hunka affair as a debate between elderly Jews and nonagenarian Ukrainians arguing over past and disputed history which Rota, government ministers, General Eyre, and every member of the Canadian parliament knew nothing of until now. This is also the line taken by Gould whose first tweet to protect Hunka and herself claimed: “Like all MPs, I had no further information than the Speaker provided. Exiting the Chamber I walked by the individual and took a photo. As a descendent of Jewish Holocaust survivors I would ask all parliamentarians to stop politicizing an issue troubling to many, myself included.” What Gould meant was that she and the Jewish community do not want Hunka’s past record to upset the current alliance between the Jews and Ukrainians of Canada to prosecute the war against Russia.
The German Foreign Ministry, headed by Annalena Baerbock, the leading promoter in Berlin of race war against Russia, defended the standing salute for Hunka given by Sabine Sparwasser, German ambassador to Canada, who was in the Speaker’s Gallery near Hunka. According to the ministry spokesman, Sebastian Fischer (right), reading from a prepared statement, Sparwasser had no idea what she was standing to applaud. “The true identity of Mr. Hunka, namely that he was a volunteer member of the Waffen-SS, was not known to those present, since his participation had not been announced.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) version of what happened in the past claims “the Galicia Division has been accused of committing war crimes, but its members have never been found guilty in a court of law.” This BBC report makes no reference to Poland or to the Polish massacres at all. It depicts public criticism of Hunka as a Jewish community protest, boosted by Moscow. “While far-right extremism still exists in Ukraine, it is much smaller than what Russian propaganda tries to make people believe…”
The Polish government investigation of Hunka has begun since the Hunka affair was publicised.
The mainstream Canadian media are also trying to restrict the public controversy to a debate between Jews and Ukrainians, and direct the ensuing public apologies to the Jewish community. Here, for example, Irwin Сotler, former Canadian justice minister and Liberal Party attorney-general, speaking from Jerusalem, makes the point that in 1948 “it was easier to get into Canada if you were a Nazi than if you were a Jew.” Сotler explained the reason for this was “indifference and inaction by successive Canadian governments. As a result we became a sanctuary for Nazi war criminals and no accountability.”
Сotler was misrepresenting the record. He knows that before the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the Anglo-American alliance took the same view as the German Reich that the “Judaeo-Bolshevik conspiracy” put Jews and Russians into the same category for targeting as enemies. After 1945 it took time before the same alliance, including Canada, removed Jews from the war targeting. Russians have remained, however. Сotler is as committed to waging the present war against them as Hunka and everyone else in the Canadian parliament.
- Fascism has been repeatedly defined on this website, and in the author’s books, to mean the state when rule is by force (and the fear of it); when state budgets, parliamentary votes, and oligarch fortunes are frauds upon the taxpayers; and when government propaganda has become so pervasive, no alternative public beliefs are permitted, and subversion is the rule. That’s when the majority of people believe what it is demonstrably not in their interest; and when they encourage the use of state force to suppress everyone who dares to calculate and say otherwise, so that no one can any longer apprehend what is in their interest, or not. There have been countless experiments by US psychologists to identify the fascist citizen or totalitarian personality, ever since this became a wartime priority in the 1940s. The most telling of these is Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments at Yale in the 1960s. They demonstrated that normal individuals will administer fatal electrocution to others if they are convinced the authority to order them to press the button is legitimate. With a wave to Hunka, Rota got Canada’s parliament to demonstrate how easy it is to press the button.