Poland ‘100 Percent’ Sure Minnesota Man, 98, Was Brutal Nazi SS Officer

news
Photo by Richard Sennott/Star Tribune Minneapolis

A 98-year-old Minnesota man is facing possible extradition to Poland after prosecutors confirmed that he was a top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed women and children during World War II, the Associated Press reports.


Prosecutor Robert Janicki of the National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, told the AP that after a years-long investigation, his office was “100 percent” certain that Minneapolis resident Michael Karkoc is the war criminal they had long suspected him of being.

“All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is Michael K., who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region,” Janicki said.

Records show that in addition to commanding a unit that massacred civilians in the village of Chlaniow, Karkoc had also participated in the brutal suppression of a Polish rebellion against German occupation in 1944 — the famed Warsaw Uprising.

Karkoc’s family, however, staunchly maintains that his hands are clean. “There’s nothing in the historical record that indicated my father had any role whatsoever in any type of war crime activity,” Andriy Karkoc told the AP. “My father’s identity has never been in question nor has it ever been hidden.”

Karkoc’s identity has been in question since at least 2013, when the AP published a story revealing that he was a founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, and that he had also served in the SS Galician Division, a formation within the German military composed primarily of Ukrainian volunteers.

The story, based on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit, and Karkoc’s own Ukrainian-language memoir, described how Karkoc lied to American authorities about his wartime service to gain entry to the United States in 1949. Members of both the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and the SS Galician were barred from entering the U.S. at the time.

Karkoc remarried after arriving in Minneapolis, where he worked in construction and fathered four children, the AP reports. He was also an active member of the the Ukrainian National Association.

This isn’t the first time that a foreign government has considered extraditing Karkoc from the United States. In 2015, German prosecutors shelved an investigation of Karkoc after concluding that he was medically unfit for trial.

However, Polish prosecutors — who, like their German counterparts, began investigating Karkoc after the AP story — have asked a Polish court to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition so he could stand trial for murder in Poland.  

“It sends a very powerful message,” Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the AP. “These kinds of things should not be abandoned just because of the age of a suspect.”

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.

Read More Show Less

Several hundred U.S. troops will remain in Syria after allied forces clear ISIS fighters out of their last stronghold in the country, officials said on Friday.

President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.

Read More Show Less
Chris Osman (Photo: _chris_osman_designs/Instagram)

The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.

"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."

Read More Show Less
Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (DoD photo)

A Richland, Washington city councilman thinks native son Jim Mattis would make a terrific governor or even president.

Read More Show Less

It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.

Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.

The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.

Read More Show Less