Episode #1: Alex Boykowich, the Ukrainian Canadian left & Chrystia Freeland's Nazi grandpa

  
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Somewhere in Nazi-occupied Ukraine during WWII. From the personal files of Chrystia Freeland’s grandpa, Michael Chomiak. Courtesy of Alex Boykowich.

For the first episode of Immigrants as a Weapon Radio, I talk to Alex Boykowich, who is one of the people responsible for surfacing information about Chrystia Freeland’s Nazi collaborator grandfather a few years ago.

If you don’t know, Chrystia Freeland is Canada’s deputy prime minister. She has spent most of her career — first as a journalist, then as Canada’s powerful Foreign Minister, and now as as Deputy Prime Minister — praising her grandfather’s legacy and whitewashing his past. Alex’s find caused a minor political scandal in Canada — which was immediately blamed on Putin and Russian disinformation.

But it definitely wasn’t Russian disinfo. Among other things, her grandpa ran a Ukrainian-language newspaper out of Nazi-occupied Krakow, Poland — a paper that praised Hitler, ran giant ads for Ukrainian SS recruitment, spread antisemitic propaganda, and pumped out vile garbage that helped justify the mass slaughter of Jews, Poles and Russians. The story was first reported by John Helmer and Telesur — based on information that Alex dug up in the archives.

We talk about a bunch of things beyond just Chrystia Freeland and her Nazi collaborator grandpa. Among them, Alex gets into the little-known, sordid history of how Canada’s Ukrainian fascist-right waged a war against Canada’s much older and much larger Ukrainian left and progressive community — and did so with the full backing of the Canadian state. In short: Canada loves its Nazi collaborators!

—Yasha Levine

PS: If you haven’t already, read my previous letters on Chrystia Freeland’s Nazi family past and why it matters today: