On September 22, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal-NDP axis honored Yaroslav Hunka, 98, as “a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service.” That service, it turned out, was with the German National Socialists, also known as Nazis.
During World War II, Hunka served under Nazi command with the Waffen-SS Galicia Division, a volunteer unit that, among other atrocities, massacred adults and children in the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka. The International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg declared Hunka’s unit a criminal organization but Yaroslav Hunka made his way to Canada and lived peacefully under his own name. So did thousands of other Nazis, and CBS’ Sixty Minutes exposed “Canada’s Dark Secret,” way back in 1997.
As host Mike Wallace explained, Canada welcomed “thousands of Nazi war criminals” at the end of World War II. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) failed to track down and expose them, but American private detective Steven Rambam had an easy time. He got the names from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem and found the Nazis in telephone directories. In Canada, the Nazi war criminals had not even bothered to change their names.
The vast majority of the Nazis, Rambam told Wallace, “stabbed Jews, shot Jews, beat them to death.” Other war criminals, “coordinated the rounding up and execution of thousands of Jews.” One of them was Anastus Kenstiviscius, a Latvian implicated in the deaths of more than 8,000 Jews.
Identifying himself as a researcher from the fictitious St. Paul’s University of the Americas, Rambam recorded Kenstiviscius and his wife about murderous operations. Without active, collaboration from these murder squads, Rambam said, “the Nazis could never have murdered as many Jews as they did.”
Irving Abella, a professor of history at York University and former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, told Wallace that Nazi war criminals “had an easy time emigrating to Canada.” The government of Pierre Trudeau claimed they were “afraid of exacerbating relationships between Jews and Eastern European ethnic communities.” So the Trudeau government “did not go after war criminals,” though lobbied extensively to do so. That enabled many Nazis to escape notice.
One of them was Helmut Oberlander, who served in Special Detachment 10a of Einsatzgruppe D, “a mobile killing unit of the Nazi SS that murdered tens of thousands of Jewish and other civilians in southern Ukraine and the Caucasus.” Oberlander made his way to Canada and established himself as a homebuilder in Ontario.
On a 1995 trip to Florida, the United States deported Oberlander back to Canada. One longtime neighbor, a professor of German, described them as “fine people. Very quiet, nice neighbors,” and so forth.
Canada tried to prosecute Nazi war criminals but failed to get convictions. According to Wallace, in 50 years, Canada managed to deport only one.
“These people aren’t afraid,” Rambam said. “They made the right choice. They came to Canada.” So did members of the Hitler’s SS. As Mike Wallace noted, the RCMP intended to investigate more than 1800 SS members, “presently living in Canada who are still receiving their German military pensions.” In 1997, that was big news.
As the New York Times reported, one family in the Toronto area tried to keep Global Television from broadcasting “Canada’s Dark Secret” because it “identified a member of the family as an accused war criminal.” Global news decided to broadcast the program anyway. As the Times noted, Jewish organizations had notified Canada about Anastus Kenstiviscius back in 1948. The war criminal died a month before the “60 Minutes” broadcast, just as deportation proceedings were gearing up against him.
Helmut Oberlander, who served with the deadly Einsatzgruppen, lived on peacefully in Ontario and died there in 2021 at the age of 97. “To Canada’s great shame, justice was never served in this case,” said a statement from Michael Levitt of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“Oberlander was handed the privilege of dying peacefully by his family’s side as a free man,” wrote Levitt, “a reality denied to the millions of Holocaust victims who had their freedoms, dignity and lives taken away from them. Let this be an opportunity for us all to reflect on the failure at bringing a former Nazi death squad member to justice.”
In 2022, Trudeau accused Conservative politicians who supported the protesting truckers of standing with “people who wave swastikas.” Liberal member of Parliament Ya’ara Saks claimed that the truckers’ “honk honk” meant “heil Hitler.” Saks, who serves as “Mental Health and Addictions Minister,” was among those cheering Hunka on September 22, a full 26 years after the “60 Minutes” broadcast.
At 98, Hunka could be the last of Canada’s Nazi war criminals, but when he dies that will not close the deal. During the 1980s Canadian judge Jules Deschênes chaired a commission to reveal how many war criminals were residing in Canada. The first volume, published in 1987, was redacted. The second volume, which identified the war criminals, remains classified.
“The history lives with us, whether we get the records or not,” explains David Matas, who represented B’nai Brith Canada at the 1986 inquiry. “Canada should not be a haven for mass murderers, war criminals, criminals against humanity, genocidal killers. Genocide was not just a Holocaust problem, it continues to this day and people from all over the world are trying to get into Canada.”