Fighting against the USSR didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi

Everybody knows that a lie can make it halfway around the world before the truth has even got its boots on.

And the ongoing turmoil over Canada’s parliament recognizing former SS trooper Yaroslav Hunka highlights one of the most important reasons why.

Something that’s untrue but simple is far more persuasive than a complicated, nuanced truth — a major problem for Western democracies trying to fight disinformation and propaganda by countering it with the truth, and one reason why fact-checking and debunking are only of limited use for doing so.

In the case of Hunka, the mass outrage stems from his enlistment with one of the foreign legions of the Waffen-SS, fighting Soviet forces on Germany’s eastern front. And it’s a demonstration of how when history is complicated, it can be a gift to propagandists who exploit the appeal of simplicity.

This history is complicated because fighting against the USSR at the time didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi, just someone who had an excruciating choice over which of these two terror regimes to resist. However, the idea that foreign volunteers and conscripts were being allocated to the Waffen-SS rather than the Wehrmacht on administrative rather than ideological grounds is a hard sell for audiences conditioned to believe the SS’s primary task was genocide. And simple narratives like “everybody in the SS was guilty of war crimes” are more pervasive because they’re much simpler to grasp.

Canada’s enemies have thus latched on to these simple narratives, alongside concerned citizens in Canada itself, with the misstep over Hunka being used by Russia and its backers to attack Ukraine, Canada and each country’s association with the other.

According to Russia’s ambassador in Canada, Hunka’s unit “committed multiple war crimes, including mass murder, against the Russian people, ethnic Russians. This is a proven fact.” But whenever a Russian official calls something a “proven fact,” it should set off alarms. And sure enough, here too the facts were invented out of thin air. Repeated exhaustive investigations — including by not only the Nuremberg trials but also the British, Canadian and even Soviet authorities — led to the conclusion that no war crimes or atrocities had been committed by this particular unit.

But this is just the latest twist in a long-running campaign by the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, dating back even to Soviet times, when the USSR would leverage accusations of Nazi collaboration for political purposes as part of its “active measures” operations.

And given Moscow’s own history of aggression and atrocities during World War II and its aftermath, there’s a special cynicism underlying the Russian accusations. Russia feels comfortable shouting about “Nazis,” real or imaginary, in Ukraine or elsewhere, because unlike Nazi Germany, leaders and soldiers of the Soviet Union were never put on trial for their war crimes. Russia clings to the Nuremberg trials as a benchmark of legitimacy because as a victorious power, it was never subjected to the same reckoning. And yet, both before and after their collaborative effort to carve up eastern Europe between them, the Soviets and the Nazis had so much in common that it’s now illegal to point these similarities out in Russia.

Yet, it’s not just enemies of democracy that are subscribing to the seductively simple. Jewish advocacy groups in Canada have been understandably loud in their condemnation of Hunka’s recognition. But here, too, accusations risk being influenced more by misconception and supposition than history and evidence.

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center registered its outrage, noting that Hunka’s unit’s “crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well-documented” — a statement that doesn’t seem to have any more substance than the accusation by Russia.

In fact, during previous investigations of the same group carried out by a Canadian Commission of Inquiry, Simon Wiesenthal himself was found to have made broad accusations that were found to be “nearly totally useless” and “put the Canadian government to a considerable amount of purposeless work.”

The result of all this is that otherwise intelligent people are now trying to outdo each other in a chorus of evidence-free condemnation.

In Parliament itself, Canadian Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman called Hunka “a monster.” Meanwhile, Poland’s education minister appears to have decided to first seek Hunka’s extradition to Poland, then try to determine whether he has actually committed any crime afterward. And the ostracism is now extending to members of Hunka’s family, born long after any possible crime could have been committed during World War II.

The episode shows that dealing with complex truths is hard but essential. Unfortunately, though, a debunking or fact-checking approach to countering disinformation relies on an audience willing to put in the time and effort to read the accurate version of events, and be interested in discovering it in the first place. This means debunking mainly works for very specific audiences, like government officials, analysts, academics and (some) journalists.

But most of the rest of us, especially when just scrolling through social media, are instead likely to have a superficial and fleeting interest, which means a lengthy exposition of why a given piece of information is wrong will be far less likely to reach us and have an impact.

In the Hunka case, commentary taking a more balanced view of the complex history does exist, but it’s rare, and when it does occur, it is by unfortunate necessity very long — a direct contrast to most propaganda narratives that are successfully spread by Russia and its agents. Sadly, an idea simple enough to fit on a T-shirt is vastly more powerful than a rebuttal that has to start with “well, actually . . .”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now issued an apology in his own name over Hunka’s ovation too. However, any further discussion of the error has to be carefully phrased, as any suggestion that Canada is showing contrition for “honoring a Nazi” would acquiesce to the rewriting of history by Russia and its backers, and concede to allegations of Hunka’s guilt that have no basis in evidence.

It’s true that Hunka should never have been invited into Canada’s House of Commons. But that’s not because he himself might be guilty of any crime. Rightly or wrongly, on an issue so toxic, it was inevitable the invitation would provide a golden opportunity for Russian propaganda.

Taleya,

The dude was Waffen-SS.

That is not only very much an elective organization, you have to really want it.

The dude was a fucking nazi.

Melkath,

We can talk about how much times have changed.

We can talk about how Germany is no longer an adversary.

We can talk about how Russia is no longer an ally.

Dude is a nazi and got a standing ovation.

Rocket, (edited )

Dude is a nazi and got a standing ovation.

I assume you mention this because of the atrocities the Nazi Party committed, notably towards the Jewish population?

And you are surprised that members of the Liberal and Conservative Parties, which committed much the same atrocities, notably towards the Indigenous population, would stand up in support of such atrocities?

Why wouldn’t they? Especially when they have been feeling the heat lately for what the parties did and fear that Canada will start to atone for its mistakes like Germany did, which will leave them out in the cold. Getting you to wear an orange shirt is a short-term distraction, but that only gets them so far before people start asking questions again. They cannot rest on that.

DeathWearsANecktie,

Ridiculous how some are trying to obfuscate the man’s involvement with Nazism. He joined a Nazi organisation, he’s a Nazi. Nazis are bad and should not be allowed to escape justice. Call a pig a pig.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

There were 8.5 million members of the Nazi party. Should they have all gone to jail?

Melkath,

No.

Most of them should have been/were lynched.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

The answer to one genocide is not another genocide.

Melkath,

Tolerance of intolerance is intolerance.

Intolerance of intolerance is tolerance.

If a mob of fascists is trying to commit a genocide, the answer is 100% to wipe that fascist mob out of existence.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

You realize that we are right now living in the timeline where we didn't kill all those Nazis. We know, for an absolute fact, what would happen if we didn't "wipe that fascist mob out of existence." We got modern-day Germany as a result.

And you're still of the opinion that they should have been massacred instead? You think that would have resulted in a better outcome than what we have in the real world today?

jcrm,

Sure. Why not.

It's more nuanced than that, but if you're going to reduce it to make your vague pro-Nazi point, then fuck off, yes throw them all in prison.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

I'm not making a pro-Nazi point. I'm making an anti-oversimplification point. The eastern front of World War II was a huge mess, you can't neatly divide it up between "good guys" and "bad guys."

Which is not saying that Nazis were good guys, obviously. That's the whole point. There weren't clear-cut "good guys." There were terrible people and awful people and people being forced to choose between those or die.

Melkath,

You are 100% full on nazi simping all over this thread.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

I have asked people who accuse me of that to point to any actual comment I've made where I've said anything at all that was nice about the Nazis. So far nobody has responded to any of those questions.

foksmash,

You’re all over this thread defending the Nazi. What’s your deal, guy?

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

Can you point to where I'm defending Nazis? I'm all over this thread saying "it's entirely possible that both sides were really awful and people were forced to choose between those two bad choices." That's hardly a defence of Nazis or Naziism. Quite the opposite.

One of the other responses someone made to my comment suggested that most of those 8.5 million Nazis should have been killed. The utter lack of perspective and nuance, not to mention the irony, is astounding. We happen to actually live in a timeline where those people weren't killed and we know for a fact that everything went fine. So maybe those people weren't all raving monsters after all, and applying a pure black-and-white nuance-free filter to the world leads to bad decisions.

someguy3,

If you commit war crimes, then you go to jail. You have, you know, a trial. C’mon this has been sorted out a long time ago but you’re acting like gosh darn how can this ever be solved.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

That's exactly my point.

someguy3,

After reading more of this thread, you are either portraying your position absofuckinglutely terribly, or you are a Nazi apologist but when countered you meekly agree and say “that’s my point”. Nowhere do you actually make “your point”, only when you’re cornered.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

The point I've been trying to make throughout this thread is that both the Nazis and the Soviets were terrible to the people of Eastern Europe, so the people on the ground were faced with a choice between two monsters. The fact that some of them chose the wrong side does not automatically make them bad people. That is also the point of the article OP posted.

The problem is that there are a lot of people who see the situation in absolutely black and white terms. There has to be a "good guy" and a "bad guy", and those who side with the "good guy" are good and those who side with the "bad guy" are bad. Since one of the sides here is Hitler, then obviously that means whoever was fighting against him must be the "good guys". It's not as simple as that. But of course, now that I've gone and said that, bam I go off into the "bad guy" category as far as those people are concerned.

I'd really like to see these comments where I'm supposedly being a Nazi apologist or a Nazi sympathizer. I'm pretty sure I've not said a single good thing about them, at least not as an ideology (I did object to the notion of jailing literally every member of the Nazi party after the war, which with the hindsight of history I think seems to have worked out okay. And you seem to agree with that with your "have a trial" point).

The Nazis were terrible. The Soviets were also terrible. And the people caught in between them at the time often had to choose one of those sides, without that hindsight of history to tell them which one would end up being the victors.

someguy3, (edited )

I’m not reading all that after reading through your other comments, but I did catch the what-what-whaaboutism. JFC back to what I said, have a trial. And you’re back to absofuckinglutely terribly or Nazi apologist. I know which I’ve decided. Now go away.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

That's not how whataboutism works. Whataboutism is an attempt to excuse bad behaviour by pointing out that the "other side" does it too. I'm saying that both sides are bad. It's literally the opposite of whataboutism.

But you didn't read it, so.

Rocket,

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  • Oderus,

    Solid response but you won’t get much upvotes here because people have made up their minds long time ago. New information won’t dissuade them because they’re already committed to lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks.

    Historians say this is complex but all the non-experts are making this so black and white it’s hard to believe.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    Thanks. Yeah, even when you discount the higher Tankie proportion on many Lemmy instances I find this is a common situation in general. The simple-minded "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing means if I say bad things about Stalin I must be supporting Hitler. Despite the fact that I've also said plenty of bad things about Hitler and nothing good about him.

    Ah well. I've never been in this for the Karma, after all.

    Oderus,

    Oh, and don’t forget being called Holocaust Denier or something equally vapid and untrue. Who the fuck is denying that? Literally, no one but here they are because that’s the Russian strategy, accuse, accuse accuse and never let up.

    Imagine falling for Kremlin propaganda and not even knowing it? These people are morons for believing the Russian government considering it’s well established that they’ve committed war crimes in Ukraine. First rule of propaganda, blame others for what you’re doing. Fox News and the GOP do it all the time and their supporters can’t see the forest from the trees cause they’re just too simple-minded to understand.

    ExLisper,

    Yes, I’m sure there were some people that got caught between Waffen-SS and the Soviets and suffered because of that. This guy was not one of them. He was in Waffen-SS.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    I've only been speaking in generalities, I don't know the specifics of Hunka's case in particular.

    People did get conscripted into the Waffen-SS. Apparently not Hunka, based on other comments, but simply "being in the Waffen-SS" doesn't necessarily mean anything.

    Melkath,

    Waffen-SS means open weapon carry nazi secret police. After the Nazi secret police got aggressive enough to start open carrying because they had outgrown the need for secrecy thanks to all the nazi sympathizers that bolstered them.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar
    ExLisper,

    Yes, if you ignore all the facts we won’t know anything.

    Melkath,

    They are a giant nazi sympathizer.

    Taleya,

    Speaking of obfuscation…

    There is of course nuance in party membership. Ur examples are of course Schindler and Albert Goering. My aunt’s father was actually conscripted into the military at 14 during the dying days of the reich.

    But we’re talking here about a dude who joined up with a nazi military division of his own free will when the war was in full healthy swing - a division that explicitly fought against his own people. He chose to join the invading forces. Fuck 'im.

    baconisaveg,

    I’m not disagreeing with you, but going to church on Sunday does not make you a christofacist.

    alternative_factor,
    alternative_factor avatar

    Yup there really isn't any wiggle room here.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    The Waffen-SS and its entry requirements changed a lot over time. Initially it was very exclusive, yes. But by the end of the war it was 900,000 strong and people were being conscripted into it against their will. The Nuremberg Trials explicitly recognized that simply being in the Waffen-SS should not be considered a sign of any sort of guilt.

    This specific person that is causing all this kerfuffle, I know nothing about. But simply stating "the dude was Waffen-SS" doesn't tell us anything.

    Taleya,

    This sure does though:

    “Hunka volunteered for SS Galizien in 1943.”

    The group was formed in 43, so he got right in on the ground floor. And it was mostly used to hunt down resistance forces.

    So a nazi and a traitor.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    As I said, I don't know the specifics about this particular individual. If you do know them then maybe use those instead of the broad and inaccurate brush of "the dude was Waffen-SS." That's all I was objecting to.

    foksmash,

    Maybe stop celebrating Nazis

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    Can you point out where I'm actually doing that?

    Rocket,

    That is not only very much an elective organization, you have to really want it.

    In the early days, but as the war dragged on that started to change. Approximately 1/3 of Waffen-SS members were conscripts by 1942. Hunka joined in 1943. As a volunteer, though, so…

    CanadaPlus,

    As a non-German volunteer.

    fiat_lux,

    I apologise for butting into yet another country instance I am not part of, but no, I'm not letting nazi apologism stand.

    He served in the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, a voluntary unit made up mostly of ethnic Ukrainians under Nazi command.

    The division was formed in 1943. Not even all Ukrainians were allowed in it because only the Galicians were 'Aryan-like' enough.

    It was formed after all the ghettos inside Lviv, Galicia's main city, and Ternipol, in this old man's home oblast, were built and had been running for years. It was formed after Jews, who were 44% of Ternipol's population, were dragged from their homes to be publicly shamed, beaten and evicted in the pogroms. It was formed after the Final Solution began. It was formed after mass deportations, slave labour, after the ill, elderly or orphaned were shot in the streets of the place he lived. It was formed after the mass graves of all those victims and more were exhumed and their bodies burned in open-air pits.

    This man had functional eyes and ears at the very least, because the Nazis did not like people with disabilities, and he knew what he was signing up for because he was living in the middle of it. Every major town surrounding his birthplace had ghettos and were already sending people by train to the death camps. He didn't choose a charitable hypothetical peaceful Ukrainian autonomy, he and 53,000 other people volunteered to fight for the new unit of an army who were very publicly killing and torturing the majority of the people around him.

    And, this wasn't about a Ukrainian group allied to the Nazis to achieve long-term independence for Ukrainians. They were voluntary Nazis under direct Nazi control fighting for greater Nazi control in countries outside of Ukraine. This man could have changed allegiance at any point if he had been naive and somehow swindled into committing atrocities for Nazis instead of Ukrainian Independence. Atrocities like the Huta Pieniacka massacre where his division committed 500 murders of civilians by grenading the town. Where, assuming he was with his unit at the time and not in hospital, he murdered civilians too.

    He joined at 18, by choice.

    According to Hunka, his reason for enlisting was following the call of the Ukrainian Central Committee to fight for the idea of "Unified Ukraine". - his wiki page

    If it was about Ukrainian independence, why were they fighting the Yugoslav Partisans and Slovak Partisans in their countries? People who were actually fighting for independence instead of doing it via Nazis.

    Do not give Nazis the benefit of the doubt or the ability to hide behind hypothetical post-rationalised stories. This is how Naziism becomes permitted.

    TWeaK,

    No, fighting Soviets does not make you a Nazi, joining the Nazis makes you a Nazi.

    We can discuss the nuances of “voluntarily” joining a unit of an occupying army, but the fact is he joined, and I’ve seen about as much evidence of his regret towards that as I have of specific atrocities that he or his unit committed. So, he most definitely is a Nazi, but we don’t know whether or not he’s done anything particularly evil.

    nyan,

    There’s also this: If he’s 96 in 2023, he was 18 in 1945. In other words, he was a stupid teenaged kid trying to figure out whether Hitler or Stalin was worse, in an environment where his access to reliable information about what was going on may have been limited.

    Was he a Nazi? Yes, he was a Nazi. Was he in any position of authority among the Nazis? Unlikely, at that age. Is he culpable of war crimes? If he directly participated in them, yes. Would justice be served by hauling him into court at this late date? Depends on what, exactly, he did.

    TWeaK,

    Exactly. Furthermore, the man has lived in Canada for many decades now. I think the overriding question should be simple: has he promoted Nazi ideology in that time since?

    I honestly don’t know, I’m not hugely invested in this story. But the impression I have is that the answer is no.

    fiat_lux,

    After the war, thousands of SS Galichina veterans were allowed to resettle in the West, around 2,000 of them in Canada. By then, the unit was universally known as the First Ukrainian Division.

    A blog by an association of its veterans, called “Combatant News” in Ukrainian, includes an autobiographical entry by a Yaroslav Hunka that says he volunteered to join the division in 1943 and several photographs of him during the war. The captions say the pictures show Hunka during SS artillery training in Munich in December 1943 and in Neuhammer (now Świętoszów), Poland, the site of Himmler’s visit.

    In posts to the blog dated 2011 and 2010, Hunka describes 1941 to 1943 as the happiest years of his life and compares the veterans of his unit, who were scattered across the world, to Jews.
    - Forward.com

    TWeaK,

    Tbh I was more put off by the whole Huta Pieniacka massacre that someone since posted above. It seems likely he was in fact involved in some nasty things. There probably won’t be enough evidence for a trial let alone a conviction, however.

    fiat_lux, (edited )

    Yeah I posted that. There was no conviction for the unit despite eyewitness testimony that they were there and doing it. There was only conviction of the entire Waffen-SS.

    Ukraine has had annual parades "celebrating" his unit since 2010, incidentally. Their courts went as far as to say the unit's logo wasn't "Nazi owned" despite being created by Nazis for it. Here's some photos from the 2021 parade, the first one in Kyev.

    Edited to add: to be clear, Hunka was not in the above parade photos, and I have no idea if he has ever been in the parade during its history. It's just there as demonstration that there is a parade to the division he was a member of, and that there is a known and tolerated Nazi presence and association at these parades.

    Taleya,

    We’re not talking about prosecution though, but the fact he shouldn’t be lauded.

    Yeah teenagers do stupid shit and some things should not be beaten over your head from the stupidity of youth, but a war record of this magnitude is definitely one of those things that should stick with you.

    nyan,

    Of course he shouldn’t be lauded. But some people (primarily members of Jewish organizations) have been talking about prosecution. Whether that’s justified is for the International Criminal Court to decide, I suppose, since that would be the venue in which any case would be brought.

    Oderus,

    we don’t know whether or not he’s done anything particularly evil.

    True but the British, Canadian and Soviet Union’s Governments (including the Nuremberg Trials) at the time said he and his group didn’t do anything particularly evil which is why he was allowed to live in Canada.

    I can’t imagine why the USSR didn’t come out and say they have proof of his evil acts which is in complete contrast to the Russian Government who says his war crimes are well documented. Which one is it? Do I believe USSR or Russia?

    CanadaPlus,

    There is in no way an equivalence between the USSR and the Nazis. Hunka fought because he thought his ethnicity might come out on top, just like the German SS members. The Soviets fought to stop the Nazis from killing and enslaving them all.

    If he personally committed atrocities is important, but even if he somehow avoided it he was working with and for people who openly thought atrocities were cool.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    There is in no way an equivalence between the USSR and the Nazis.

    This is true, the USSR's atrocities killed more people.

    That is not to say that the Nazis didn't also do a lot of bad, of course. But World War II was very much not simple. People didn't become Nazis solely because they hated Jews and wanted to be the master race. Some did, sure. Others joined the Nazi party because otherwise they couldn't have a job, or because all their buddies were doing it, or because Stalin was looming in the east and nobody else was around that could oppose him. People in eastern Europe were stuck trying to figure out which "side" was more likely to end up putting them and their family in a ditch, with no benefit of historical hindsight to know which one would come out on top and get to write the history books afterward.

    The Soviets fought to stop the Nazis from killing and enslaving them all.

    Indeed, they really hated the competition.

    CanadaPlus, (edited )

    This is true, the USSR’s atrocities killed more people.

    Factually incorrect. Unless you count all the deaths outside of death camps as just oopsies the Nazis killed 90 million-ish people in the space of a few years, and would have gladly kept going. USSR dumbassery killed a few million at most over 70 years, although it’s hard to get a firm number, both due to further dumbassery and the fact Russia always had a certain unnatural death rate. Most people survived in the USSR just fine, if with a questionable standard of living.

    People didn’t become Nazis solely because they hated Jews and wanted to be the master race. Some did, sure. Others joined the Nazi party because otherwise they couldn’t have a job, or because all their buddies were doing it, or because Stalin was looming in the east and nobody else was around that could oppose him.

    Ditto for Stalin’s people, except the underlying motivation was to build a communist utopia as opposed to killing all the subhumans, which is at least well-intentioned. Hunka volunteered, though, it wasn’t like he just went along with it (not that that’s a great excuse anyway).

    People in eastern Europe were stuck trying to figure out which “side” was more likely to end up putting them and their family in a ditch, with no benefit of historical hindsight to know which one would come out on top and get to write the history books afterward.

    Lack of education is kind of an interesting point, and why historians tend to avoid making value judgements at all. But, for the sake of who should get clapped in parliament today…

    How should the history books be written differently? We’ve interacted enough I’ll be kind of surprised if you’re a “da joos” guy.

    Indeed, they really hated the competition.

    Again, factually inaccurate.

    FaceDeer,
    FaceDeer avatar

    Factually incorrect. Unless you count all the deaths outside of death camps as just oopsies the Nazis killed 90 million-ish people in the space of a few years, and would have gladly kept going. USSR dumbassery killed a few million at most over 70,

    Oh, I guess I was wrong. Silly me. The USSR were the good guys by a few-million-less-than 20 megadeath margin.

    Indeed, they really hated the competition.

    Again, factually inaccurate.

    They literally had a secret pre-war treaty that divided up the conquering rights to Eastern Europe, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

    CanadaPlus,

    Oh, I guess I was wrong. Silly me. The USSR were the good guys by a few-million-less-than 20 megadeath margin.

    Goddamn it. 70 years. Fixed.

    They literally had a secret pre-war treaty that divided up the conquering rights to Eastern Europe, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

    Sure, Stalin saw a good deal for him and took it, and made good use of it in preparation for fighting Hitler. You’ll note that Poland was not emptied out the way the Nazis had planned by their eventual Soviet overlords.

    Jason2357,

    And simple narratives like “everybody in the SS was guilty of war crimes” are more pervasive because they’re much simpler to grasp.

    Your whole wall of text seems to be a strawman based on this projection. Canadians obviously don’t believe this, or these former SS members would have been strung up by their necks decades ago. However, they should never be honoured, regardless of whether they directly participated in crimes. That membership implies being complicit in those crimes, as they would have sworn allegiance to Hitler, and would have known and understood the Nazi ideology and supported it through their military action.

    If a SS fighter doesn’t have enough evidence for a conviction, they should simply live out their lives quietly and in shame for being part of something truly evil. If they were fooled in youth, and understood as they grew older, they would abhor any sort of valour or recognition. I’m not going to engage in whataboutism. There are plenty of other examples of people who should do the same thing.

    tillimarleen,

    And don‘t forget Politico is owned by Springer Presse. A German extreme-right publisher. While they‘d call themselves conservative, they are the most vile, fascist baiting, libertarian outfit you can imagine. While they‘ve always been a threat to German democracy with the Bild newspaper, they seem to have become a global threat now.

    BradleyUffner,

    Do you know what makes you a Nazi? Holding Nazi beliefs, espousing Nazi ideals, and in general, acting like a Nazi.

    CanadaPlus,

    Joining the Waffen-SS in 1943 is also up there.

    SwedishFool,

    Well for you, me, and most people in the western world: Yes. It’s made complicated by the Russian propaganda however, since their very definition is that nazism is simply anti-russia. By their definition everybody against the Russian ideals are nazis, which is also why their propaganda about Ukraine is so effective on home soil. It’s mostly grounded in how the 2nd World War was perceived on soviet side by the population in comparison to the west.

    Simply put: What we call nazis isn’t the the same as what the Russians would call nazis.

    CanadaPlus,

    I’m not sure how relevant this is, but yeah “we defeated the Nazis” is the new Russian “national myth”, and they’re pretty comfortable stripping out any nuance to the Nazis beside the fact they attacked the USSR.

    zephyreks,

    Fighting the Soviets doesn’t make you a Nazi, being in the Waffen-SS does. The fact is that Nazi Germany launched a war of annihilation against the Soviet Union and millions of Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht soldiers were involved in war crimes.

    What the fuck is this Nazi apologism?

    TheMightyCanuck,
    @TheMightyCanuck@sh.itjust.works avatar

    Wtf is this nazi apologist garbage?

    Even if you wanna lean into the “clean hands” dogshit opinion, this man in no way should be applauded by the leaders of any nation.

    And frankly, I hope they do extradite him

    Kolanaki,
    @Kolanaki@yiffit.net avatar

    Well yeah… wasn’t Russia part of the Axis forces until 1941?

    DragonTypeWyvern,

    No… and why would that have anything to do with fighting the USSR?

    zephyreks,

    No, the USSR never joined the Axis. When Hitler had raised the issue, Stalin gave him a list of demands he couldn’t possibly meet (basically mocking him)… And a month later Operation Barbarossa started.

    MrFlagg,

    peak Lemmy

    Debeli_Perun,
    i_ben_fine,

    Better whip out the counter-counter propaganda.

    MindSkipperBro12,

    I got a feeling that this is the “clean hands” myth again, especially when the guy is a part of the SS…

    alternative_factor,
    alternative_factor avatar

    I'm 100% with Ukraine but this article and the whole incident is such a shameful fucking thing. 100% "clean hands" 2.0.

    TranscendentalEmpire,

    Tbh, the whole SS thing isn’t that significant. Pretty much all Nazi on the eastern front were just as likely to be doing war crimes as the SS.

    There was no real attempt in compartmentalizing out atrocities to the SS, aspects of the Wehrmacht took part in almost all crimes against of humanity on the eastern front that were later completely attributed to the SS.

    The “Clean Wehrmacht” myth began its propagation before the war was even over, with Wehrmacht command all too happy to proclaim they were just too Prussian not to follow orders, and it was really all the crazy SS officers in charge of the war crimes the whole time.

    It’s true that “Nazism” has spread and warped throughout eastern Europe(including Russia) in a response to the fall of the Soviet Union. Yes, the complexity of this problem is nuanced in a way western media doesn’t seem to want to understand… But what the hell does the modern interpretation of reactionary fascism have to do with a guy who allied with actual Nazi?

    MindSkipperBro12,

    In my view, a German soldier fighting for Nazi Germany is pretty bad, putting on the title of SS while swearing an oath to Hitler and willing to die for him and the Nazi ideals is VERY fucking bad.

    I think the guy was the latter.

    TranscendentalEmpire,

    my view, a German soldier fighting for Nazi Germany is pretty bad, putting on the title of SS while swearing an oath to Hitler and willing to die for him and the Nazi ideals is VERY fucking bad.

    It’s honestly not that black and white unfortunately. Your average wehrmacht soldier on the eastern front was doing a lot more war crimes than any SS on the western front.

    A lot of the myth that the SS were some version of crazed Hitler cult that had undying loyalties arose from misconception of the primary sources and the intentional postwar propaganda.

    The allies on the western front were fighting children and old men. The majority of the battle hardened wehrmacht had already been killed on the eastern front. The SS units the west encountered were mostly those who fled ahead of the Russian advance. The reason they fought with such ferocity is they had already been marked for execution by the Russians, and the left over commanders of the wehrmacht had already sold them down the river.

    Again, there was no real difference in levels or participation in war crimes. Every single war crime committed on the eastern front was done in conjunction or with direct support of normal nazi troops.

    Rentlar,

    Propogandists are abound within the Lemmyverse as well. Beware!

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