The Jewish Federation of Edmonton (JFE) has called for the removal of statues and memorials honoring Ukrainian veterans with Nazi affiliations.
In a statement released last week, the organization contended that these statues should either be taken down or relocated to museums, where they can serve as educational tools with proper historical context.
Two specific sites have come under scrutiny by the JFE.
The organization pointed to the presence of a memorial at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Edmonton, which honors Ukrainian members of the Nazi Waffen SS 14th Galicia Division.
Additionally, a statue of Roman Shukhevych stands outside the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in north Edmonton. The JFE notes that the statue has remained in place since the 1970s with limited public attention.
Shukhevych held a leadership position within the Nachtigall Battalion of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).
Later, this unit became the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 201, which has been linked to multiple troubling incidents, including pogroms in eastern Poland and the mass murders of Jews in June and July 1941.
In a strongly worded statement from community relations co-chairs Steve Shafir and Adam Zepp, the Jewish Federation of Edmonton stressed that honoring such individuals “completely whitewashes the atrocities that they have committed.”
The presence of these statues is deemed offensive to the community, Holocaust survivors and their families, the statement said.
The controversy comes on the heels of controversy stemming from former Galicia division veteran Yaroslav Hunka receiving a standing ovation in the House of Commons during Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s visit.
In response, the JFE is calling on the Alberta government to mandate Holocaust education in the core curriculum to prevent the recurrence of such events and to honor those who stood on the right side of history.