MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Prosecutors in Europe want to extradite a Twin Cities grandfather accused of Nazi war crimes. An arrest warrant was issued in March for 98-year-old Michael Karkoc. The Associated Press reports an extradition request was then forwarded to Poland’s Embassy in Washington last month.
Karkoc’s son Andriy passionately defends his father.
“Extradition is not something we’re concerned about,” Andriy Karkoc said.
Andriy said there is no evidence to support the claims his father led an S.S. unit that burned down Polish villages and murdered 44 civilians during World War II.
“When this story came out, we were aghast,” Andriy said. “It is horrendous, it is horrific. It is a perversion of truth, perversion of reality and an evil malignant slander against an innocent man. Absolutely we talked about it, he’s innocent.”
Michael Karkoc’s name first surfaced in a 2013 AP report. Germany investigated the war crime claims but determined Karkoc was not mentally competent to stand trial. Andrij Karkoc said that’s the last time he and his father spoke about the issue.
He calls his dad a freedom fighter who fought against the Germans and communism.
“He wrote a book about his role in the Ukranian underground, as a member of the Ukranian Self Defense legion,” Andriy said.
But when the retired carpenter immigrated to the United States, he didn’t disclose that — an association that would have prevented him from entering the country.
Michael Karkoc is not aware Poland is moving forward with its case and extradition.
“He has been wronged,” Andriy said. “I hope that he lives long enough to have that wrong righted.”
The Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. said Wednesday they plan to release a statement on this matter sometime next week.