Graffiti on Canadian memorial to former Nazi troops called a hate crime; police later apologize

Originally published at:


This just in - Halton police accused of copyright infringement as they recreate scene from “The Jerk”.


I’m hoping this will be a learning moment about history. Ukraine has a dark and nasty history during the war years; while they choose to cast it as resistance against the monstrous Stalin, the truth is that it was all too often collaboration if not outright allyship with the monstrous Hitler. This monument commemorates the latter aspect, and is thus exactly what the graffiti described it as. A monument to members of the Waffen SS has no place in a liberal democracy, and I hope the publicity surrounding this incident leads to its removal.


But really, leave graves and actual war monuments alone, OK?

Maybe this point is more obvious in Europe where you only need a room-temperature IQ to understand why there is common understanding that you leave each other’s war memorials and cemeteries alone.

There is a huge difference between monuments and statues that glorify an abhorrent ideology or a memorial to yet some other poor sods driven to their dead in yet another pointless war.


To Nazis? No thanks.

That’s… exactly what this is. It may be wrapped in the cloak of Ukrainian immigrant identity, but it is a monument to Nazi collaboration.


Among Americans, at least - I can’t speak at all about Canadians - there has been a widespread belief that there were no “good Germans” in the time - no “poor sods” but only either willing or cowardly collaborators. This belief was largely formed by the US’s own propaganda during and after the war. The Morgenthau Plan was seriously considered, and Germany was papered with Diese Schandtaten: Eure Schuld! posters. Coming from that mindset, it is easy to understand an urge to condemn the enemy’s war dead to damnatio memoriæ.

1 Like

In the case of Lviv / Lwow / Lemberg / Galicia-Volhynia (where this particular division was based) it’s my understanding that the Germans were welcomed as liberators from the Poles who had acquired the Ukrainian-majority region from the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1919. The division was locally conscripted: majority ethnic Ukrainian.


Are you… defending Nazis? It sure sounds like you’re defending Nazis.

Hitler spoke of the eradication of Jews as early as 1919 and explicitly of their genocide in 1922. Furthermore, the entire war was predicated on stealing land from sovereign, independent nations for “living space”. But thanks for assuming that people’s outrage at genocide was the work of mere propaganda.


The members of this Waffen SS unit were not conscripts, but rather volunteers who joined an organisation dedicated to hate and genocide.

Thanks for the additional context – there was the “generic” anti-Stalinist element (Galicia was handed to the USSR under Molotov-Ribbentrop) but also an element of right-wing opposition to rule by the Poles. An important correction to your comment, though: the formation – like most Waffen SS divisions – was a primarily volunteer force rather than a conscript unit. It’s right here in the name.


That seems to have been their point, ACTUAL war memorials. There doesn’t appear to have been any confusion on their part as to what this specific “monument” is.

…and WTF is there a Nazi war memorial in Canada to begin with?! As an American my education of anything other than the US’s roll in WWII was woefully inadequate. Can someone explain this to me?


It’s ostensibly a monument to Ukrainian war dead. Canada has a large Ukrainian immigrant community, and unfortunately many of them have chosen to either ignore the history of collaboration with the Nazis or to paint the Soviets as a threat so awful that the Nazis were preferable.


You also can’t speak for all Americans. One of our most celebrated films of all time is a celebration of a German man working to protect as many Jewish refugees as he could. One of our most celebrated comics is about the plight of a Jewish family trying (and failing) to escape the holocaust (edit to finish thought), which includes numerous depictions of German citizens aiding them through their journey.

There are 3, in fact.

Well, specifically the war dead of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) per the post. It doesn’t seem to be a monument to the average Ukrainian civilian.


Ah, gotcha. I was wondering if it was some sort of nationalist pride driven thing (like Columbus statues in the US). As for ignoring a history of Nazi collaboration, I can see why folks would ignore or downplay such shameful behavior - but it doesn’t change the reality of things. The US had its share of pro-Nazi folks prior to entering the war…they are pretty much the only abhorrent people in US history that we HAVEN’T erected statues of.


I didn’t see anything in that comment that defended Nazis, unless you’re of the opinion that all Germans in that period were Nazis. Which seemed to be the point of the comment.

Though the comment did seem to be borderline OT, making a valid general point against the “no good Germans” slur, but the monument in question specifically celebrates Ukranian Nazis.


Thanks for the correction. I came across this story via an interview with author of The Ratline, Philippe Sands, which covers the Nazi escapes to Argentina, particularly Otto Wachter (who created this division). I was particularly surprised when he described how, present day, people in Lviv dress up in SS uniforms to celebrate the liberation. (That said, when I look at the footage on youtube now, it’s perhaps more fringe than was described.)


All who wore the uniform were. The purpose of this monument is to celebrate those who did and, seemingly what the post was equivocating over.

At any rate, the assertion that people being outraged at genocide is the product of propaganda is extremely reductive and erases the work that the US and other nations did to end the atrocity.


I just saw footage of a Confederate celebration in Brazil, where people locally fly the “stars and bars”. I was seriously 50 before I ever learned about 20,000 confederates fleeing to South America and continuing their antebellum, slave owning ways down there. So, it seems that South America has a long history of attracting abhorrent people with vile ideologies.


Yeah, I heard about that one on NPR’s Throughline podcast (ep: American Exile) late last year.


Essentially the only place with more Ukrainians than Saskatchewan/Manitoba is the Ukraine.


Sorta like the only place with more Mormons that Salt Lake City is Las Vegas?

1 Like