Officers in Adolf Hitler’s Waffen-SS are living in the United Kingdom and drawing government pensions, it has been revealed.
(Daily Mail corrected)
Two Ukrainian members of the Galizien division have admitted their commissions in the unit but denied any illegal activity during the Second World War.
The Waffen-SS was formed in 1933 as a militant organisation that was initially only open to people of Aryan ancestry until 1940 when the rules were relaxed during the war and people of other ethnicities were allowed to join or were conscripted.
It was condemned as “criminal” in the post-war Nuremberg Trials. There are thought to be around 25 Waffen-SS officers and soldiers still living in Britain today.
According to The Sun, Myron Tabora, 90, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, and Ostap Kykawec, 92, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, were both lieutenants in the Galizien.
Retired engineer Mr Tabora told the paper: ‘I never fired a rifle. I went to the Austrian front but I didn’t know of any men committing crimes.’
Mr Kykawec added: ‘I never fought the British and Americans. I fought the Russians. We didn’t take part in any crimes.’
Heinrich Himler inspecting Galizien troops, oversaw the Waffen SS for Hitler
But Jaroslaw Wenger, 93, of Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, admitted he ’rounded up’ partisans and ‘took them to the German army police’, but said he did not know what subsequently happened to them.
The men were tracked down by a jew named Dr Stephen Ankier – who has traced the soldiers across the UK and the world.
Dr Ankier made international headlines after he discovered one of the unit’s commanders, Michael Karkoc, living in Minnesota in the USA.
In 2014 One member of Karkoc’s ULS company, a great-grandfather living in a quiet Lancashire street, was named as a former soldier in an SS-led unit during the Second World War.
Mychajlo Ostapenko has lived in Britain for more than 65 years – but documents discovered by Ankier reveal that he served in the feared 31st Punitive Battalion.
When contacted by The Mail on Sunday in 2014, Mr Ostapenko said he could not remember joining the battalion and insisted he had done nothing wrong.
The Galizien division was formed in 1943 and was initially made up of Ukrainian volunteers but later expanded to include Czechoslovakian and Dutch recruits. It also included former camp guards.
Ukranian members of the Volunteer Waffen-SS Division “Galizien”
It was never found guilty of war crimes by any court or tribunal but was falsely accused of slaughtering civilians in Polish villages.
Jewish supremacist Dr Stephen Ankier has criticised British involvement in a war crime inquiry into the Galizien following the war.
He said: “According to war crime inquiry studies British screening during 1947 of the Waffen-SS and Galizien Division held in Rimini was woefully inadequate. Although the Galizien has never been found guilty of war crimes, accusations have persisted for years that they were responsible for atrocities against civilians in Huta Pieniacka and in Nizna Boca. For these Ukrainians, fighting for Nazi Germany rather than Soviet ‘Bolshevik’ Russia was the lesser of two evils. Their hope seems to have been to finish on the winning side and then to gain an independent Ukraine. But being a fragile old man must never be a reason to gift an amnesty to a murderer.”
Scotland Yard reopened an investigation into the division in 2006, but it is understood to have since been closed.
It is believed the UK allowed around 8,000 members of the Waffen-SS Galizien Division to re-settle there after they surrendered, with around 25 still living today.