Photo of Danish Nazi officer shared with wrong claim amid Canadian parliament row

By: Rahul Adhikari
September 28 2023

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Photo of Danish Nazi officer shared with wrong claim amid Canadian parliament row

Post claiming to show two images of Nazi veteran Yaroslav Hunka. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

The viral post carries two images. The one showing a younger man is not of Yaroslav Hunka, a Nazi veteran recently honored by the Canadian parliament.

Claim ID 934b8be4

The speaker of Canada's House of Commons, Anthony Rota, resigned on Tuesday, September 26, following a row over inviting Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian war veteran who served in a Nazi unit during World War II, to a special session of the parliament. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attended the session on Friday, September 22, when Hunka received two standing ovations. After it became well known that Hunka had been part of a Nazi unit, Trudeau and the Canadian parliament came under severe criticism, forcing Rota, who had described Hunka as a "Canadian hero," to issue an apology and resign. 

What is the claim?

Against this backdrop, a collage of two photographs shared with text explaining the entire Canadian parliament controversy has gone viral on social media. The collage shows two photos—one featuring an older man and the other a black-and-white photo of a soldier—implying that they both show Hunka. The accompanying text starts with the line, "The villain lived long enough to become a hero," and then explains how the Canadian parliament honored Hunka, a Nazi veteran. The viral post had gained over 2.6 million views and more than 24,400 likes at the time of publishing. An archived version of the post can be viewed here.

Screenshot of the viral post. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is misleading as one of the photos in the viral claim is not of Hunka. 

What did we find?

Upon conducting a reverse image search, we found that the photo of the older man featured in the viral collage is from the footage of the Canadian parliament honoring Hunka. However, the black-and-white image of a young soldier in the collage is not of Hunka. 

The black-and-white photograph was featured in a report published by The Telegraph on December 7, 2007. According to the report, the image is of Danish officer Søren Kam, who served in the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II. The photograph was taken in 1945. 

News outlet Mirror had also published the same image in a news report about top wanted Nazi personalities. Part of the photo description read, "Søren Kam, 90, the former SS member accused of shooting newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen in Copenhagen in 1943." The credit for the image has been attributed to the pressphoto agency EPA Images. 

EPA Images had published the photo on its website in 2006. According to the image caption, it is a file photo from around 1945 of Danish SS officer Søren Kam. 

It is abundantly evident that the person in the black-and-white image on the left side of the viral collage is Kam, not Hunka.

Comparison between the black-and-white image from the viral collage (Left) and Søren Kam's photo shared by EPA Images. (Source: X/EPA Images/Modified by Logically Facts)

Who are the two men?

Kam was a Danish volunteer officer in the Schalburg Corps, an SS-Viking division during the Nazi Germany occupation of Denmark during World War II. According to a report by The Independent, he was one of three men who shot dead Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen in 1943. A Danish court later convicted him for this murder. However, Kam was able to escape to Germany, where he was awarded citizenship in 1956, and was able to evade extradition. He died on March 23, 2015, at the age of 93. 

Meanwhile, 98-year-old Hunka served in the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, commonly called the Galicia Division, during World War II. This division was a combat branch under Nazi command, primarily composed of voluntary ethnic Ukrainian recruits. Members of this division have been accused of killing Polish and Jewish civilians. However, no tribunal has found the unit guilty of war crimes, reported BBC. 

The verdict

An image of late Danish Nazi officer Søren Kam is being wrongly shared with the claim that it shows Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian war veteran who served in a Nazi unit in the Second World War. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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