Oakville Monument Honouring Nazi Collaborators Finally Removed Following Years of Controversy

March 9, 2024

News Release

< Back to News Room

Toronto (March 9, 2024) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is pleased that a monument honouring Ukrainian soldiers who served in a Nazi military unit has been removed from a cemetery in Oakville, Ont., following years of advocacy by FSWC and other organizations representing the Jewish community.

Yesterday, FSWC confirmed that the monument – dedicated to the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a Nazi military unit comprised of predominantly Ukrainian soldiers during the Second World War – was removed from the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Cemetery.

For years, Canada’s Jewish community had called for the monument to be removed, with FSWC having previously stated that such monuments “distort the Holocaust while glorifying the memory of individuals who participated in crimes against humanity.”

“After actively advocating for the removal of this monument for many years, we greatly welcome its elimination, albeit overdue,” said Director of Allyship and Community Engagement Dan Panneton. “This memorial honoured and glorified individuals who served in a Nazi military unit and were complicit in war crimes committed during the Holocaust, ultimately distorting Holocaust history. We are grateful to the Jewish and Ukrainian communities in Oakville that worked together to close the chapter on this painful and divisive issue.”

According to Oakville-based Rabbi Stephen Wise, members of the local Ukrainian community responsible for the monument recently reached the decision to have it taken down.

The monument’s removal comes nearly six months after Yaroslav Hunka, a veteran who served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division, received a standing ovation in the Canadian House of Commons, provoking international outrage and renewed calls for monuments dedicated to Nazi collaborators in Canada to be removed.

Currently, two other similar monuments remain in Edmonton, angering Jewish and non-Jewish Canadians. They pay tribute to the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division and Roman Shukhevych, a Ukrainian nationalist and military leader who collaborated with the Nazis and has been accused of complicity in massacres committed against Poles and Jews. FSWC continues to call for the removal of these two monuments.