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98-Year-Old Minnesota Man a Nazi SS Commander?

Image: 98-Year-Old Minnesota Man a Nazi SS Commander?

In this May 2014 photo, Michael Karkoc works in his yard in Minneapolis. (Richard Sennott/Star Tribune via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 10:10 AM

A 98-year-old Minnesota man has been identified as a Nazi SS commander, and Polish authorities are seeking an arrest warrant for him.

Polish authorities said they have confirmed "100 percent" that Michael Karkoc was a former commander of an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in 1944 during World War II, the The Associated Press reported.

The National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, have asked a court in Lublin to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc, which could lead Poland to ask the United States for his extradition, the AP reported.

The decision on Karkoc comes after The Associated Press published a story four years ago pointing to Karkoc commanding the Nazi unit, based on wartime documents, testimony from unit members and the Karkoc's memoir written in Ukrainian.

"There aren't many of these guys left," Gregory Gordon, a former prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice on cases involving Nazi war criminals told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2013, when accusations against Karkoc first broke.

"But, they committed some horrific crimes. As I always like to say, the evil deeds are frozen in time," Gordon added.

Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, posted on Twitter that he was pleased with Poland's decision to move forward on the case.

The Daily Mail reported that documents showed that a Michael Karkoc, born March 6, 1919 in Lutsk, Ukraine, was the commander of a unit in the Ukranian Self Defense Legion, which operated in conjunction with the German army.

That unit allegedly took part in massacres at the Polish villages of Chlaniow and Wladyslawin on July 23, 1944, in response to the death of USDL's commander, Siegfried Assmuss, the Daily Mail reported.

Karkoc's family has fought in his defense, charging that Poland's claims against him are "scandalous and baseless slanders," the AP reported.

"There's nothing in the historical record that indicates my father had any role whatsoever in any type of war crime activity," Karkoc's son, Andriy Karkoc, told the news service. "My father's identity has never been in question nor has it ever been hidden."

The Karkoc family also added that their father suffers from Alzheimer's disease. German prosecutors stopped an investigation into Karkoc in 2015 after examining a "comprehensive medical documentation" of Karkoc and determined he was not fit for trial.

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A 98-year-old Minnesota man has been identified as a Nazi SS commander, and Polish authorities are seeking an arrest warrant for him.
minnesota, man, nazi, ss, commander
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2017-10-14
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 10:10 AM
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