Toronto (July 17, 2020) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) commends Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) for changing its direction today with regards to their investigation of an act of vandalism to an Oakville monument dedicated to soldiers who served in Hitler’s SS.
Several weeks ago, a stone cenotaph at Oakville’s St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Cemetery that commemorates Ukrainians who served in the 14th SS Division was vandalized with graffiti that read “Nazi war monument.” When FSWC learned that HRPS was investigating the incident as a hate crime, rather than a simple act of vandalism, it reached out to the police service to express its concerns, making the case that Nazis are not a protected group and that there is nothing hateful about objecting to Nazis.
FSWC is pleased to note HRPS has issued an apology along with a statement that the incident of vandalism would no longer be pursued as a hate crime. Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner, a former participant of FSWC’s Compassion to Action program, tweeted that “There is no support for the Nazi SS within Canada, nor should there ever be anywhere. The Nazi party/SS are by no means a protected group under any hate crime related legislation.”
“We were initially quite shocked to learn that Halton police saw the defacing of a Nazi monument as a hate crime and are very appreciative that they have corrected the direction of their investigation,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism at FSWC. “The bigger question we should be contending with is, why is there a monument to Nazi soldiers in our country at all?”
“Any monument which venerates soldiers who fought for Hitler’s genocidal regime is nothing less than a blight and insults the memory of Canadian soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice during WWII on behalf of the freedoms we all hold dear,” said Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.