Canadian House Speaker Resigns After Making Members Applaud for Man Who Fought in Nazi Unit

[Photo Credit: By Photographer: Dati Bendo -, Attribution,]

Canada House Speaker Anthony Rota reportedly stepped down Tuesday amid fallout after labeling a Ukrainian who fought with the Nazis during World War II a “hero” during a visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week.

Rota recognized Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, as a combat hero for the First Ukrainian Division, drawing a standing ovation from Canadian parliamentarians when Zelensky gave a speech to the House of Commons on Friday.

Rota announced that in order to allow for the election of a new speaker, his resignation will become effective at the end of Wednesday.

Rota stated that until then, the deputy speakers will preside over House sessions.

Rota had apologized on Monday, claiming that the Ukrainian delegation and members of the Parliament were unaware of his intention to recognize Hunka.

Rota resigned after being urged to do so by all of his major opposition parties.

Jewish organizations in Canada objected to Rota’s recognition of Hunka and requested an apology, including the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-profit human rights organization specializing in Holocaust education and antisemitism initiatives.

The foundation claims that Hunka belonged to a division of the Waffen-SS, also known as the SS 14th Wafer Division, a volunteer force under Nazi control that was designated a criminal organization during the Nuremberg trials, which convicted Nazis for committing war crimes that included genocide.

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