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Decision to invite former member of Nazi-aligned Ukrainian military unit to House of Commons raises questions about why he was allowed into Canada in the first place

Yaroslav Hunka when he was a member of the Wafen-SS Galicia Division

By BERNIE BELLAN (Originally published Sept. 25 in The Jewish Post & News)
The storm that erupted over the revelation that a former member of a Ukrainian unit that fought with the Nazis during the Second World War was invited to attend the appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he spoke to the House of Commons on Friday, September 22, has led to a whole series of questions:

  1. Who is Yaroslav Hunka, the 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian who received a standing ovation from members of all four parties in the House of Commons on Friday, September 22, when he was introduced by House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota prior to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech in the House of Commons?
  2. What was the Wafen-SS Galicia Division (also known as the SS 14th Wafer Division)?
  3. How is it that many former members of the Wafen-SS Galicia Division were allowed entry into Canada following World War II?
  4. Why was there no vetting of Hunka by anyone prior to his having been invited to attend the House of Commons on September 22?

The fierce reaction from various Jewish Canadian groups, including the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies, B’nai Brith Canada, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, was unrelentingly critical of the decision to invite Hunka to attend Zelensky’s appearance in the House of Commons.
Hunka’s past participation in the Wafen-SS Galicia Division was well known. As an article that appeared on Wikipedia on September 24 noted: “Yaroslav Hunka (Ukrainian: Ярослав Гунька; born c. 1925) is a veteran of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician), a Nazi Germany military formation. Hunka was born in Urman, then in Poland, and volunteered for SS Galizien in 1943. He emigrated to Canada after the conclusion of World War II. In 2023, Hunka made international headlines after he received a standing ovation from the House of Commons of Canada, and was recognized by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Later, it was revealed Hunka was affiliated with Nazis, and Canadian government officials apologized to the worldwide Jewish community. Hunka is retired and lives in North Bay, Ontario.
“Yaroslav Hunka was born in
“Yaroslav Hunka was born in Urman, Second Polish Republic (now Ukraine) c. 1925. In 1944, Hunka was deployed into combat against Red Army forces on the Eastern Front of World War II. Following the conclusion of World War II in Europe, Hunka immigrated to Canada and joined the Ukrainian-Canadian community.] As of 2022, Hunka lived in North Bay, Ontario, and travelled to Greater Sudbury to protest against that year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
The question why so many former members of a Ukrainian military unit that fought for the Nazis were allowed into Canada following WWII is laced with controversy. A website that is very sympathetic to Russia lists a number of very serious allegations about Canadian complicity in allowing those individuals into the country:
“In the immediate postwar period, Canada’s then Liberal government, working in close cahoots with US and British intelligence, opened Canada’s doors to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. These included members of the infamous 14th Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS, also known as the Galicia Division.
“The scale of the influx of Nazi collaborators only became public knowledge in the 1980s. A comprehensive study carried out by Alti Rodal on behalf of the federal government-appointed Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada uncovered records proving that US intelligence agents in Europe had funneled Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe through the Canadian immigration system using false papers. Rodal revealed that large numbers of identically typed applications were received by Canada’s immigration department from one address in West Germany. On closer inspection, this address turned out to be a US military base.
“The Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney established the Deschênes Commission in 1985, in response to a mounting public outcry over exposures of Nazis and Nazi accomplices who had found a safe haven in Canada and tasked the inquiry with identifying Nazi war criminals residing in Canada.
“Around the same time, the Simon Wiesenthal Center estimated that upwards of 2,000 Nazis and Nazi collaborators emigrated to Canada in the years after the war. A quarter-century later, in 2011, it would give Canada an “F minus” in its annual report ranking countries on their efforts to prosecute war criminals. This placed Canada on a par with Ukraine and the former Baltic republics, i.e. countries where the right-wing, nationalist regimes that have emerged since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union openly venerate the ultranationalists who aligned with the Nazis when they invaded the USSR.
“War criminals in Canada
“A significant number of those who made their way to Canada were members of the Nazi SS’s Galicia Division, which was made up of Ukrainian nationalist volunteers who fought on the side of the Wehrmacht against the Red Army during the Nazis’ war of annihilation against the Soviet Union. This preplanned onslaught—launched in June 1941 when a 3 million-strong force comprised of German troops, their Axis allies and fascist volunteers invaded the Soviet Union—led to the deaths of 27 million Soviet citizens and the Holocaust.
“In waging war, suppressing the population, and pursuing the annihilation of the Jews, across Eastern Europe and above all in the USSR, Hitler’s Wehrmacht and SS shock troops relied on the loyal collaboration of ultraright-wing, anti-Semitic forces. Among the Ukrainian nationalists, in both occupied Poland and the USSR, the Nazis found eager collaborators. The Galicia Division was formed in 1943 out of a faction of the Stepan Bandera-led Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists Bandera (OUN-B) and fought with the Nazis against the Red Army throughout 1944.
“Massacres perpetrated by the division against Polish and Jewish civilians have been well documented, including at Huta Pieniacka, Podkamien, and Palikrowy. At Podkamien, 100 Polish civilians were massacred in a hilltop monastery, and at least a further 500 in surrounding villages as the Red Army approached the German-occupied area in March 1944.
“Members of the Galicia Division were initially prohibited from entering Canada due to their membership in the SS. But in 1950, Britain made an appeal to the Commonwealth for volunteers to accept a total of 9,000 division members who were at that time residing in the UK after being disarmed by British troops at the war’s end.
“When Canada’s External Affairs Department, prompted by complaints from the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), raised concerns about the division’s ties to the Nazis and role in Nazi atrocities, the British government insisted that it had carried out background checks. “While in Italy these men were screened by Soviet and British missions and neither then nor subsequently has any evidence been brought to light which would suggest that any of them fought against the Western Allies or engaged in crimes against humanity,” claimed the British Foreign Office. “‘Their behaviour since they came to this country, added London, ‘has been good and they have never indicated in any way that they are infected with any trace of Nazi ideology.’
“With this letter serving as political cover, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and his cabinet declared that Galicia Division members would be permitted to immigrate to Canada unless it could be proved that they had personally committed atrocities against civilian populations based on ‘race, religion or national origins.’ Simply having been a Galicia Division member would not be considered a valid reason to prevent entry, even though after the war all Waffen-SS members had been deemed complicit in war crimes.
“The immigration of Nazi and Nazi-allied war criminals continued for more than a decade after the war and was a significant factor in Canada’s emergence during the Cold War as a political-ideological centre of far-right Ukrainian nationalism.
“Speaking to a CBS “60 Minutes” programme in 1997, Canadian historian Irving Abella, who is currently Professor for Canadian Jewish history at York University, bluntly summed up the political climate of the time. ‘One way of getting into postwar Canada,’ he said ‘was by showing the SS tattoo. This proved that you were an anti-Communist.’
“Ottawa carried out this policy in close collaboration with US authorities, who similarly permitted ex-Nazis to settle in the US and recruited hundreds to act as spies against the Soviet Union and the Soviet-allied regimes in Eastern Europe. According to investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau, up to 1,000 former Nazis were made use of by the CIA in Europe, within the US itself, the Middle East, and in Latin America.
Yet, other historians dispute the notion that Canada became a safe haven for Nazi and Nazi-allied war criminals. In a book titled , written by historian Howard Margolian, and reviewed by Urs Obrist in 2002, Obrist writes the following:
“Even though the debate on the admission of Nazi war criminals to Canada after World War II seemed to have reached its apex in the mid-1980s, with the investigation of the Jules Deschênes Commission and its inquiries on war criminals, the issue has continued to stir historical interest in the 1990s and beyond.[1] This recent publication by Howard Margolian, Unauthorized Entry, revises the widely held view that Canada has been a safe haven for Nazi war criminals. Margolian is a Canadian historian with a special interest in the history of World War II and Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. As the author of Conduct Unbecoming, he has already shed light on the story of the murder of Canadian POWs in Normandy and the trial and fate of the SS-General Kurt Meyer.[2] In Unauthorized Entry, Margolian challenges and refutes accusations stating that the King and St. Laurent governments had been negligent in the admission of Nazi war criminals and collaborators to Canada.
“His study concludes that neither the immigration bureaucracy, nor the immigration lobby in Canada, nor the western intelligence community were as responsible for the influx of about 2000 war criminals and collaborators as has been generally assumed. Instead, he argues, the blame is to be put on the war criminals and collaborators who gained entry to Canada by forged identities or by giving false information about their wartime history. The great majority of Nazi war criminals and collaborators who settled in Canada after the Second World War were admitted not on purpose, but as a result of the absence of, or inaccessibility to, information about their wartime activities. Margolian summarizes that, in view of the benefit drawn from the immigration of the 1.5 million immigrants arriving in Canada between 1945 and 1955, it was worth taking the risk and admitting some 2000 war criminals to Canada.”

However, in his review of Margolin’s book Obrist notes that the Canadian government made exceptions for three categories of immigrants – who were not denied entry even if they might have had Nazi connections: “German scientists, Estonian refugees from Sweden and former members of the Ukrainian SS-Division ‘Galicia’.”
As for how the Speaker of the House of Commons could have completely overlooked Hunka’s past membership in a Nazi-affiliated unit during WWII, Rota released a statement late Sunday afternoon saying he recognized an individual in the gallery on Friday, and that he has “subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so.”
“I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them,” he wrote.
“I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world.”
The statement does not make clear what Rota is apologizing for, and it does not name Hunka or give any details about what information Rota learned about him since Friday.

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Hamas Official Says Terror Group ‘Would Do Oct. 7 Attack Again’ if Possible to Go Back in Time

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

Hamas would carry out its brutal Oct. 7 invasion of and massacre across southern Israel again if it could travel back in time, according to the Palestinian terrorist group’s representative in Lebanon.

“We would do it again!” Ahmad Abd Al-Hadi said with a smile in an interview last week with Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper when asked whether Hamas would repeat its onslaught. “If we could go back in time, we would do it again, because the justifications still exist.”

The interview was flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which translated and posted Al-Hadi’s comments.

“Why am I saying that we would do it again? Because what made us do it is very important and strategic,” the Hamas official explained. “It is not something that we could remain silent about … The Palestinian cause was about to be eliminated, by means of normalizing of relations at the expense of the Palestinian rights.”

Al-Hadi appeared to be referring to the idea of Israel and Saudi Arabia normalizing relations.

Before Oct. 7, the prospect of reaching a historic peace deal between the two longtime foes appeared possible. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said in an interview in September, weeks before the onslaught and ensuing war in Hamas-ruled Gaza, that “every day we get closer” to a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. As part of the process, Bin Salman hoped to “ease the life of the Palestinians” and seemed willing to shelve the issue of Palestinian statehood in favor of an agreement with the US on the use of nuclear material and a weapons deal.

While such conversations have reportedly resumed in recent weeks, Saudi officials have said a normalization deal must now include an “irreversible path” to Palestinian statehood, fearing backlash. According to reports, Bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, fears being branded a “traitor” to the Palestinian cause amid Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, potentially undermining the kingdom’s legitimacy as the leader of the Islamic world.

Many analysts have argued that Iran, which backs Hamas and is its chief international sponsor, intentionally torpedoed the Israel-Saudi normalization process with the Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state. Leaders of both Iran and Hamas have repeatedly said they seek Israel’s destruction.

Beyond preventing normalization, Al-Hadi also accused Israel of planning a “preemptive” military strike in Gaza without providing evidence.

“They saw the resistance in Gaza, and … they planned to launch a preemptive strike against it, so that it would not interfere with these plans of theirs, and in particular the plan that is connected to Gaza: the Ben Gurion Canal project,” he said.

The Ben Gurion Canal project is an ambitious proposal conceived by some Israelis in the 1960s to construct a canal connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, thereby giving Israel more control over key shipping lanes. There is no evidence that the Israeli government intends to build the canal, especially through Gaza. However, critics of Israel, especially in Arab media, have hurled the accusation at the Jewish state to undermine the Israeli military campaign against Hamas, portraying it as a decision for economic gain rather than security reasons following Oct. 7.

Al-Hadi is not the first member of Hamas to publicly call for more Oct. 7-style attacks on Israel.

Less than three weeks after the atrocities, a Hamas official promised that the Palestinian terrorist group will repeat its massacre of Israelis “again and again” to bring about the Jewish state’s “annihilation.”

Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and a spokesman for the Iran-backed terror organization, told Lebanon’s LBC TV in an Arabic language interview on Oct. 24 that Israel “must be finished.”

“We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again,” Hamad said. “[The Oct. 7 massacre] is just the first time and there will be a second, a third, a fourth … the occupation must come to an end.”

Asked if by ending “the occupation” he meant the “annihilation” of Israel, Hamad replied, “Yes, of course.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped over 250 others as hostages during their surprise invasion of the Jewish state. It was the biggest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Mounting evidence has revealed that the terrorists perpetrated systematic sexual violence against the Israeli people, including mass rape and torture.

The post Hamas Official Says Terror Group ‘Would Do Oct. 7 Attack Again’ if Possible to Go Back in Time first appeared on

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The Role of Certified Translators in Literary Translation

Literary translation is a nuanced art that bridges cultural divides and brings diverse voices to a global audience. At the heart of this intricate process are certified translators, professionals whose expertise and precision ensure that the essence and beauty of literary works are faithfully conveyed across languages. As a diverse and multicultural city, Vancouver’s need for these experts is unending – and that’s why understanding their critical role in the literary world highlights their importance in preserving the integrity and impact of literature.

What is a Literary Translator?

A literary translator is a professional who specializes in translating written works, such as novels, poems, plays, and essays, from one language into another. They not only convert the words and phrases but also capture the nuances, tone, and cultural context of the original text. This requires a deep understanding of both the source and target languages, as well as an appreciation for the literary and cultural nuances involved.

Literary translators aim to preserve the author’s voice and intent, making the work resonate with readers in a different linguistic and cultural setting, while maintaining the artistic integrity of the original piece. A perfect example of this is Languages in Motion in Vancouver, who focus on making sure that everyone, no matter which language they speak, is able to have their material accessible, and vice versa.

Preserving the Author’s Voice

One of the foremost challenges here is maintaining the author’s unique voice and style. Every author has a distinct way of expressing ideas, emotions, and narratives. Certified translators possess the skills necessary to capture these subtleties, ensuring that the text resonates with the same tone and rhythm as the original. This requires not only a deep understanding of both the source and target languages but also a keen sensitivity to literary nuances.

These professionals are trained to recognize and reproduce literary devices such as metaphors, similes, idiomatic expressions, and cultural references. Their expertise ensures that the work retains the original’s artistic qualities, offering readers an authentic experience that is true to the author’s intent.

Cultural Sensitivity and Context

Literary works are deeply rooted in their cultural contexts, reflecting the traditions, beliefs, and societal norms of their time and place. Certified translators play a crucial role in bridging cultural gaps, making literature accessible to a broader audience while preserving its cultural essence. They are adept at navigating cultural nuances and ensuring that the text is culturally appropriate and relatable to the target audience.

This cultural sensitivity involves more than just language proficiency; it requires an intimate knowledge of both the source and target cultures. These experts are equipped to handle cultural references and idiomatic expressions that may not have direct equivalents in the target language. By doing so, they preserve the cultural richness of the original work, providing readers with a deeper understanding of different cultures.

Accuracy and Faithfulness

Accuracy is paramount in literary assets. Certified translators are trained to provide precise and faithful documentations, ensuring that the meaning of the original text is accurately conveyed. This is particularly important in literature, where even slight deviations can alter the intended message or emotional impact.

Such professionals also adhere to high standards of quality and accuracy, often undergoing rigorous certification processes that test their proficiency and skills. Their commitment to excellence ensures that the work maintains the integrity of the original, offering readers a true representation of the author’s vision.

Ethical Considerations

Literary experts often face ethical dilemmas, such as how to handle sensitive content or culturally specific elements that may not resonate with the target audience. Certified translators are guided by a code of ethics that emphasizes the importance of fidelity to the original text, transparency, and respect for both the author and the readers.

These ethical standards ensure that translators make informed decisions about how to handle challenging aspects of the text, balancing the need for accuracy with cultural sensitivity. By adhering to these principles, these professionals uphold the integrity of literary works and foster trust with both authors and readers.

Contribution to Literary Diversity

Certified translators play a vital role in promoting literary diversity, enabling works from different cultures and languages to reach a global audience. As a result of working on literary pieces, they open up new worlds for readers, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. This contribution to literary diversity enriches the global literary landscape, providing a platform for voices that might otherwise remain unheard.

Find a Literary Translator in Vancouver

The role of certified translators in Vancouver – especially those who specialize in literary materials is indispensable. Their expertise ensures that literary works are accurately and authentically conveyed across languages, preserving the author’s voice, cultural context, and artistic integrity. Through their dedication and skill, these experts make significant contributions to the promotion of literary diversity and cross-cultural understanding.

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How Live Casino Dealers Enhance Your Gaming Experience

In the booming online gaming world, live casino dealers stand out as the bridge between the virtual and the real. They bring the physical casino’s authenticity and excitement to your screen, creating a more immersive and engaging experience. But how exactly do live casino dealers enhance your gaming experience?

From fostering a social atmosphere to increasing trust in online games, these professionals make gaming sessions more enjoyable and genuine.

Real-time Interaction

Real-time interaction revolutionizes the online gaming industry, particularly in live casinos. By leveraging advanced streaming technology, live casino dealers can engage with players just as they would in a traditional casino environment.

This dynamic interaction enhances the gaming experience by fostering a sense of presence and camaraderie. Through chat features and live video feeds, players can communicate with the dealer and even with other participants, creating an immersive and social atmosphere.

The role of the live dealer is crucial, as their real-time responses and professional demeanour elevate the authenticity and enjoyment of the game. This interactive experience makes the games more exciting. It instills greater trust and transparency, replicating the feel of a brick-and-mortar casino from the comfort of home.

Enhanced Trust and Transparency

Trust is essential in online casinos as it dramatically impacts players’ peace of mind. Gamblers look for confidence that their selected platform is dependable, safe, and runs transparently and fairly.

Online casinos build trust and transparency by acquiring proper licensing, offering secure transactions, ensuring fair play, and providing high-quality customer service. Moreover, other online casinos introduce live casino games with live dealers to enhance trust and transparency.

In addition to real-time interactions, live dealers can interact with the players like in brick-and-mortar casinos. Players can ask questions, make comments, and receive immediate responses, fostering a sense of community and reliability.

This interaction mimics the social aspects of land-based casinos, where players can gauge the dealer’s demeanour and professionalism, thus bolstering their confidence in the game’s integrity.

Additionally, live dealer games are often overseen by regulatory bodies and broadcast from high-quality, secured studios, adding another level of accountability. Multiple camera angles and advanced streaming technology ensure every action is visible and transparent, diminishing potential fraud concerns.

Professional and Entertaining Conduct

Professional conduct is the backbone of any successful live casino. Dealers who are well-trained in the game’s rules, adept at handling cards or other gaming equipment, and capable of managing the game flow efficiently create a seamless gaming experience.

They also uphold the principles of fairness and transparency, providing players with peace of mind that the game is being conducted properly.

Beyond professionalism, a dealer’s entertainment ability sets a live casino apart from its online counterparts. Engaging dealers who interact with players, share witty banter, and maintain a lively atmosphere can transform a simple game into a memorable event.

Their charisma and energy help to foster a social environment, encouraging interaction between players and setting the stage for a more immersive experience.

The best live casino dealers master the delicate balance between professionalism and entertainment. They effortlessly shift from explaining complex game rules to keeping the mood light and engaging. This balance ensures players feel respected and entertained, enhancing their satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits.

Varied Game Options

The success of online casinos heavily depends on the calibre and diversity of their game offerings. In the fiercely competitive online gambling industry, casinos must provide a wide range of top-notch games to draw in and keep their players engaged.

One essential reason online casinos need a diverse game selection is to keep players interested and entertained. Another advantage of offering a wide range of games is that it meets players’ diverse preferences. Gamblers have unique tastes, motivations, and gaming styles.

That said, live casino dealers are trained to handle multiple game types, ensuring players enjoy various gaming options.

Their professionalism and capability allow seamless transitions between games, keeping the gaming environment dynamic and engaging. This variety caters to seasoned gamblers seeking depth and strategy and welcomes newcomers eager to explore and learn.

Moreover, live dealers often introduce unique game variants and themed events that you might not find in a traditional online casino. These unique offerings can include everything from high-stakes poker tournaments to themed game nights featuring popular TV shows or movie franchises, enhancing the gaming experience.

Personalized Gaming Experience

Another key benefit of having live casino dealers is the personalized gaming experience they provide. Dealers are trained to cater to each player’s unique preferences and behaviours, making adjustments and offering insights that make each session feel exclusive.

Their friendly demeanour and professional approach ensure that the games run smoothly and that players feel valued and entertained.

Moreover, the live casino setup often includes multiple camera angles and high-definition streaming, ensuring players don’t miss a moment of the action. This level of engagement and transparency boosts player confidence and trust in the game’s fairness, further enriching the overall experience.


Live casino dealers significantly enhance the online gaming experience by bringing authenticity, interaction, trust, and entertainment. With varied game options and the ability for personalization, players can enjoy a casino experience that closely mirrors the excitement of playing in a physical casino.

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