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On Criminal Vandalism: A response to the ‘Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’

Updated: Aug 14

For immediate release (Calgary, August 12, 2021)

With respect to acts of criminal vandalism perpetrated against several Ukrainian monuments and memorials across Canada, and a press release from the American-based ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies,’ Roman Zakaluzny, representing the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, observed:


“There is compelling evidence to show that KGB operatives deliberately stoked tensions between Jews and Ukrainians during the Soviet period, circulating disinformation about what happened during the Second World War to provoke discord. Those efforts were carried forward by agents of the Russian Federation, including the Russian Embassy’s Kirill Kalinin. In 2018 he was declared a persona non grata and obliged to leave our country after he was exposed for spreading just this kind of hate.


Those who deface or damage private property are criminals, and since these louts have exclusively targeted Ukrainian Canadian centres and memorials, we feel they have committed hate crimes. We call upon the police to actively investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. Our community should not be subject to this kind of intimidation and fear.


Apparently some of our American neighbours, and their Canadian friends, are ignorant of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, headed by Mr Justice Jules Deschênes. The Commission concluded that the ‘Galicia Division’ should not be indicted as a group, noted its members had been screened individually before admission to Canada, and found that charges of war crimes against the ‘Galicia Division’ were not substantiated, neither in 1950 when they were first raised by the Canadian Jewish Congress, nor before the Commission. So we have to wonder why, in 2021, some continue to regurgitate Soviet-era propaganda. We also find it unconscionable that people who claim to be interested in justice apparently approve of criminals who sneak onto private property under the cover of darkness to deface memorials or damage cemetery monuments. Frankly, we’re astounded any U.S. or Canadian organization would seem to sanction such criminal behaviour. We call upon the FSWC to denounce these criminal acts.”


St. Michael's Cemetery, Edmonton, Alberta