'A lack of knowledge about the past!' Peter Hitchens condemns Canada's Nazi veteran blunder

<strong>Monday 2 October 2023</strong>

Peter Hitchens lambasted the Canadian parliament's mistake as indicative of a 'state of mind the world has gotten itself into.'

Speaking to TalkTV's Mike Graham, Mr Hitchens expressed his disdain for the lack of historical knowledge that caused the speaker of Canada's House of Commons to lavish praise upon a Nazi war veteran.

Speaker Anthony Rota publicly acknowledged Yaroslav Hunka, 98, in the House last Friday describing the former SS Galicia soldier as a 'hero'.

Mr Hitchens diagnosed: "The Canadian parliament are the victims of a general lack of knowledge about the past and indeed of geography, which embraces so much of our political and media class.

"I feel sorry for them. But I am also appalled that people who know so little should be in charge of major policy."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was present as applause for the veteran filled the Chamber.

Prime Minister Trudeau has since formally apologised for the gaffe, announcing he had reached out to Kyiv through diplomatic channels.

Speaker Rota told legislators on Tuesday he would resign following the incident, adding that the he 'accepted full responsibility' for any offence caused.

"This is in fact, part of the general state of mind that the world's got itself into with Ukraine", Hitchens told Mike.

"A vast of simplification of an immensely complicated problem. That vast oversimplification is very dangerous because it makes it very hard to reach a peace."

circa 1938: Rows of Nazi SS troops (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Formed in 1943, the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, of which Yaroslav Hunka was a part, fought against Soviet partisans on the Eastern front.

It was composed of predominantly Ukrainian military volunteers from the Galicia region of the country.

At the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, the regiment was found guilty of war crimes for its involvement in the Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy massacres.

Mr Hitchens explained: "In the far west of Ukraine, there's always been a very strong strand of militant nationalism, which during the early years of the Second World War, became entangled with the Nazis.

"How could none of them know enough to say, hang on a minute, if this guy was fighting for Ukraine in 1945 what might have he been doing?"

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