MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The family of a Minneapolis man accused of committing Nazi war crimes is speaking out.
A Polish prosecutor said this week there is evidence that a U.S. citizen named Michael K. led an SS unit that burned down Polish villages and murdered 44 innocent civilians.
The Associated Press identified the man as Michael Karkoc.
A prosecutor in Poland is calling for the arrest and extradition of Michael Karkoc. His son says the evidence against his father committing war crimes is lacking.
“A baseless, unsupported vendetta for God only knows what reason,” Andriy Karkoc said.
Andriy Karkoc slammed The Associated Press for its original report in 2013 that identified Michael Karkoc as a commander of a Nazi unit, based on wartime documents, testimony of other members of the unit and Michael Karkoc’s own memoir.
Andriy told reporters Saturday his father wrote about his membership in the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in his memoir, but that his service was honorable.
“My father cannot be judged guilty by association. Not any more than any Vietnam vet should be judged guilty for the My Lai Massacre,” Andriy Karkoc said.
Andriy also revealed he believes Russia handed over propaganda and false information to the AP.
“How does The Associated Press get their hands on a KBG file from 1968 that has a dead man pointing a finger at my father?” he said.
Andriy called his father an incredible individual. When asked of Michael’s thoughts on World War II and Jewish people, Andriy had this to say:
“It’s an idiot question. OK, well, I have no idea why you would bring that up. His thoughts on the war are in his memoirs. He fought for the independence of Ukraine.”
Michael Karkoc’s family has said in the past he suffers from dementia, and Andriy says his father has not been informed of the recent development regarding the arrest warrant.
The family plans to fight it.
“To allow humanity to prevail and to bring an end to these baseless attacks on a 98-year-old man,” Andriy Karkoc said.
Andriy says he is calling on Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken to investigate the evidence against his father.
A spokesperson for Klobuchar told WCCO she believes the matter should be addressed through the criminal justice system and not the U.S. Senate.
Michael Karkoc could face life in prison if convicted.