98 year old Minnesota man accused of being Nazi War criminal

Poland is seeking the arrest and extradition of a retired carpenter in Minnesota accused of taking part in wartime atrocities against civilians. The Associated Press has accused Michael Karkoc, a Ukrainian born naturalized US citizen as being the same Michael Karkoc who was a former officer of the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion (USDL) and later in a Waffen-SS Ukrainian volunteer unit.

Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence gathered over years of investigation confirmed “100 percent” that the Minnesota man and the Nazi soldier are the same person. Karkoc is thought to have lied to American immigration officials in the US when he immigrated a few years after the war.

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Michael Karkoc. Photo via AP

Michael Karkoc was a Lieutenant and founding member of the USDL and served in the 2nd Company. The USDL was responsible for war crimes against civilians in Ukraine and Poland before it was disbanded in November 1944. Michael Karkoc then served with the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS (1st Ukrainian) “Galizien” as an officer and deputy company commander.

Whether the 98 year old Minnesota man is the same Michael Karkoc that served in the USDL has yet to be proven in a court of law.

For prosecutor Robert Janicki there is no doubt.”All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is the Michael Karkoc who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region”. The prosecution in Poland is basing its case on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and Karkoc’s own Ukrainian-language memoir.

This is not the first time Karkoc has been under threat of a lawsuit. After the Associated Press broke the story about the man in 2013, Germany did an investigation but deemed Karkoc as unfit for trial due to age and medical reasons.

Karkoc and his family have denied any involvement in war crimes. Karkoc’s son Andriy has questioned the validity of the evidence calling the accusations “scandalous and baseless slanders.” Andriy went on to say “There’s nothing in the historical record that indicates my father had any role whatsoever in any type of war crime activity” going on to say “my father’s identity has never been in question nor has it ever been hidden.”

In Poland, prosecutors have said Karkoc would be given a full opportunity to tell his story.

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Men of the  14th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS (1st Ukrainian) “Galizien”

Prosecutors with the National Remembrance Institute, a group which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, have asked a court in Lublin for an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, as Poland does not allow trial in absentia.

In a Nazi report from 1944 found by the Associated Press, Karkoc is shown having ordered his men to attack a Polish village in which dozens of civilians were killed.

If extradited to Poland and found guilty, Karkoc could serve life in prison.

For More on the war crimes of the SS Check Out:

Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes

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One thought on “98 year old Minnesota man accused of being Nazi War criminal

  • Bill Getz says:

    If he is indeed the right person, then his age is of no consequence. Before anyone begins “tears of sympathy” for the old man, suggest they read Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Patton” for a review of German atrocities. No criminal should escape justice, particularly the Germans complicit in the unbelievable cruelty of the Holocaust. They make modern day ISIS atrocities seem mild. Germany and their allies should wear this guilt for all history.

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