A ceremony in celebration of Vasil Nakonechny, a 95-year old veteran of the 14th Waffen SS division “Galicia” took place in Kalush, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast of Ukraine. During the ceremony, the man gave a Nazi salute accepting the so-called “knight’s cross of the division” handed over to him by Vasil Bichko, deputy head of the Brotherhood of the Former Soldiers of the Galicia Division, a non-governmental organization.
The first person to draw public attention to the fact was Eduard Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, who published the video footage of the event on his Facebook page. Dolinsky remembered that over 7,000 Jews were killed near Kalush during WWII with the participation of the Ukrainian auxiliary police. Nowadays, he added, the town is turning into a ‘conservation area for Nazism’.
In May 2018, Waffen-SS Galicia Division veteran Vasil Nakonechny was awarded the title of honorable freeman of Kalush by the town’s council.
The Galician Waffen-SS Division (or 1st Ukrainian) was a volunteer unit within the Waffen-SS. Besides military action against Soviet troops, units of the division took part in anti-partisan or punitive action, as well as committed crimes against civilians. The Waffen-SS, part of which was the Galicia Division, are an integral part of a criminal organization, according to the judgment by the Nuremberg Trials.