Photo Credit: Unknown
SS leader Heinrich Himmler with members of the Ukrainian 14th SS Division.

Back on June 21, someone painted “Nazi war monument” on a stone cenotaph in the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, commemorating soldiers who served with the 14th SS Division. The Halton Regional Police Service initially reported that this was a “hate motivated offense” and refused to release images of the graffiti. Halton police later stated that the graffiti may have been targeting Ukranians either as a whole or in the area, and that they did not “consider that the identifiable group targeted by the graffiti was Nazis.”

Well, they certainly was.

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14 Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (galizische Nr. 1), in English: The 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) was a World War II German military formation made up predominantly of military volunteers with a Ukrainian ethnic background from the area of Galicia. The idea to organize a division of volunteers from Galicia was proposed by the German Governor of District Galicia, Dr. Otto von Wächter. He suggested creating a Waffen-SS division composed of Galician volunteers and designed for regular combat on the Eastern Front. The creation of 14th Voluntary Division SS Galizien was announced in April 1943 at ceremonies throughout Galicia. By June 1943 the first phase of recruitment had taken place, too late to participate in the murder of Ukraine’s Jews. But the division did destroy several Polish communities in western Ukraine during the winter and spring of 1944. Specifically, the 4th and 5th SS Police Regiments were accused of murdering Polish civilians.

Researcher Moss Robeson, an expert on Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis, offered details about the monument on Twitter, asking why the Halton Regional Police think members of the Nazi SS can be the subject of hate crimes.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, in response to Moss’ and others’ inquiries, Const. Steve Elms, spokesman for Halton-Regional Police, cited a section of the Criminal Code that noted those communicating statements in any public place inciting hatred against any identifiable group could face imprisonment not exceeding two years.

So, as far as the Canadian police is concerned, Nazi war criminals deserve as much protection under the law as anyone else.

“This incident occurred to a monument and the graffiti appeared to target an identifiable group,” Elms explained in an email to the Ottawa Citizen.

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