New evidence that a Minneapolis man who commanded a Nazi SS-led unit ordered an attack on a Polish village in World War II underscores the need for federal authorities to investigate, a leader of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas said Monday.
A German federal prosecutor in charge of investigating Nazi crimes says he is recommending murder charges against a Minnesota man shown in a June AP report to be a former commander in a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children.
At least 10 suspected Nazi war criminals ordered deported by the United States never left the country, according to an Associated Press review of Justice Department data — and four are living in the U.S. today. All remained eligible for public benefits such as Social Security until they exhausted appeals, and in one case even beyond.
Prosecutors in Poland and Germany said Tuesday they are reviewing files on a Minnesota man who was a commander of a Nazi-led unit to see if they have enough evidence to press charges and request his extradition from the United States.
The revelation that a top former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has lived quietly in Minneapolis for the past six decades came as a shock to those who knew 94-year-old Michael Karkoc. World War II survivors in both the U.S. and Europe harshly condemned the news and prosecutors in Poland have said they’ll investigate.
The family of a 94-year-old Minneapolis man is disputing a report that he commanded a Nazi SS-led unit in World War II and lied about his wartime past in order to become a U.S. citizen. The Associated Press reported Friday that Michael Karkoc was a top commander in the Ukrainian Self-Defense Legion, citing Karkoc’s own memoir among other evidence. Wartime records don’t show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, though records indicate he lied about his past when immigrating to the U.S.
The news that the former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has been living in Minneapolis for decades is an especially startling revelation for people who lived through Nazi persecution.
Mary Neuman still has nightmares about living in Auschwitz “In one minute you can be dead and in one minutes you can be sent to the gas chambers, so it was unpredictable.” Neuman said.
Steve Hunegs is the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He is shocked by Friday’s news.
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