Speaking Out Against Monuments to Nazis Collaborators in Edmonton

Completing the Story’s Paula Kirman has been involved in exposing monuments in Edmonton that commemorate Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII. As a Jewish Edmontonian who is an activist with a Ukrainian background, this is a very personal issue for her. However, this is also an issue that should be part of the ongoing dialogue about removing monuments that glorify figures espousing racism and hate.

Statue of Roman Shukhevych outside of the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in north Edmonton.

In late October of 2019, Paula was contacted by the Progress Report podcast, to discuss the statue of Roman Shukhevych – a Nazi collaborator who took part in the mass murder of Jews. The statue is located outside of the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in north Edmonton, and was partly funded with public funds. Per Anders Rudling, an expert on the Ukrainian far right, was also a guest. You can listen to the podcast here.

Paula was then contacted by Alberta Jewish News for an interview, resulting in this article: Edmonton Monument Glorifies Nazi Collaborator

This is not the first time Paula has been involved with exploring the topic of far-right Ukrainian monuments in Edmonton. She co-wrote, co-produced, and filmed the short docudrama A Monumental Secret in 2018. Produced with the support of the Edmonton Arts Council, the short film explores a little-known aspect of Ukrainian history in Edmonton – a monument to specific Ukrainian battalions, including two who fought alongside the Waffen SS, located in a north Edmonton cemetery.

Monumental Secret was co-written and co-produced with Edmonton writer and filmmaker #yegfilm. Edmonton musician John Guliak has a new song featured in the film, which helps tie everything together in the end. The film stars the acting talents of Dan Moser and Lieutenant Governor’s Award recipient Griffin Cork.

The film was an official documentary selection at the Cinemaway/Kinomarshrut (Кіномаршрут) Film Festival in Lviv, Ukraine in September of 2019. It is also an official selection at two more Ukrainian film festivals: the Bobritsa Film Festival in June, 2020, and the Kyiv Film Festival in July, 2020.

The filmmakers find it really interesting that A Monumental Secret has been accepted as an official selection at three Ukrainian film festivals, but has not yet found an audience in Edmonton, where it was filmed. Perhaps it is too controversial. Perhaps the film style, combining documentary with drama, does not fit into a typical film festival “box.” In any case, if you’re interested in checking the film out for a potential audience, please contact us.

Here is the trailer:

A Monumental Secret trailer from #yegfilm on Vimeo.