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Yaroslav Hunka, right, in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Sept. 22. Hunka, whose military service was linked to the Nazis, was lauded as a 'hero' by white nationalists who recently visited a memorial to his SS division in Oakville.Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press

Neo-Nazis and white nationalists have gone on a pilgrimage to an Ontario memorial to the Waffen SS Galicia division, the Ukrainian Nazi-led unit, after one of its veterans received a standing ovation in Parliament last month, prompting renewed calls for the monument to be torn down.

White nationalists have posted photographs of themselves on social media at the memorial, alongside tributes to Yaroslav Hunka, whom they call “a hero.” One man, whose face is obscured, is wearing a T-shirt featuring the black sun – a neo-Nazi symbol based on a mosaic at the German castle used by Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS.

The move has been condemned by Jewish groups who renewed calls for the monument at an Oakville cemetery – and another one in Edmonton – to be taken down.

“It’s unsurprising that neo-Nazis have made a pilgrimage to a monument commemorating a Waffen-SS unit, but it is outrageous that this could happen on Canadian soil,” said Michael Levitt, president and chief executive officer of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“Hopefully the attention of neo-Nazis demonstrates once and for all to St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Cemetery why having monuments to Nazi collaborators is inappropriate, and they do the right thing by taking the monument to the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS down.”

The tribute to a Nazi in the House of Commons is an utter disgrace that could have easily been avoided

House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota resigned last month after he paid tribute to the 98-year-old Mr. Hunka, whom he had invited to sit in the visitors’ gallery during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Since the incident, members of a white-nationalist Active Club have laid flowers at the Oakville memorial and posted photographs of themselves standing beside it. They posted thanks to Mr. Hunka and his SS division, saying they had fought to protect Europe from “the Asiatic-Communist pestilence.”

The unit was founded in 1943 by Himmler after the German defeat at Stalingrad, in an attempt to slow the Soviet advance. Mr. Hunka volunteered as a teenager to fight the Soviet army. The post said he deserved his standing ovations in the Commons, referring to him as a “nationalist veteran who fought the forces of the left.”

Mr. Hunka’s Commons presence has reignited the debate about the division, and its veterans who were admitted to Canada after the Second World War.

The University of Alberta says it is reviewing donations it has received after returning $30,000 from the family of Mr. Hunka.

Professor Per Anders Rudling has found around 12 former members of the division who have given money to the university’s Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, including former SS veterans who settled abroad.

Among the hundreds of thousands of dollars in endowments and donations is about $436,000 in the name of Volodymyr Kubijovych, who played a key role in the SS unit’s establishment.

Prof. Rudling of Lund University in Sweden said he has found evidence that Mr. Kubijovych – who settled in France – collaborated with Hans Frank, Adolf Hitler’s lawyer who was implicated in the mass murder of Jews and executed for war crimes.

The university also received a $15,000 donation from Roman Kolisnyk, whom Prof. Rudling said was an officer in the Galicia Waffen SS division, and editor of the journal of the Ukrainian Waffen SS veterans. After the war he settled in Toronto.

Established in 2011 by Mr. Kolisnyk, the fund is worth around $100,900 and supports translations and publications of Ukrainian literary works, memoirs and diaries.

Head of Canadian Ukrainian group defends man who fought for unit created by Nazis

Edward Brodacky, who donated $200,000 to the university’s Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, according to its newsletter, lived in London, England. Prof. Rudling said he was interned with other members of the division in Italy after the war and then transferred to Britain where they worked as labourers.

Prof. Rudling said for consistency’s sake the University of Alberta should return all donations from people tied to the regiment.

But he suggested that if the university cannot return the funds, it could use them for more research into the period, including events surrounding the establishment of the division and the Holocaust in Ukraine.

Alberta Senator Paula Simons, who is from Edmonton and whose grandparents were from Ukraine and of Jewish and German ancestry, said using the endowments to “interrogate the history” of Ukraine would be worthwhile.

Ms. Simons called on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday for records into war criminals who may have come to Canada to be opened up.

She wants an unpublished part of a report by the Deschênes Commission, which examined claims that Canada was hosting war criminals, to be made available to researchers.

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