Minnesota Nazi: US, German, and Polish authorities are now taking a look at 94-year-old Michael Karkoc’s reputed past as a Nazi commander. ‘Nazi hunters’ have had major successes and notable failures in finding and deporting Nazis.
Before he successfully immigrated to the United States in 1949 to settle down as a union carpenter in Minneapolis, Ukrainian-born Michael Karkoc allegedly commanded a brutal Nazi commando unit that burned Polish villages and massacred civilians at the height of Germany’s World War II offensive.
If the allegations are true – and authorities in the US, Poland, and Germany are now looking into the Associated Press report – Mr. Karkoc, who is in his mid-90s, could have his US citizenship revoked and be deported. If the evidence of his involvement in wartime atrocities is strong enough, he could also face war-crimes prosecution in Germany or Poland.
Karkoc has not issued any public statements, and has not answered his door to reporters, according to news reports from Minneapolis.
To be sure, the revelations have shocked Karkoc’s neighbors, as well as the families of World War II victims living in Minnesota and elsewhere.
Karkoc's unit was in full operation during the 1944 Warsaw uprising, in which Nazis brutally crushed Polish rebels trying to shake free from German occupation.
The ability of an alleged Nazi commander to blend into US society highlights the challenges of addressing the legal and moral imperatives of the Holocaust by focusing on persecutors who tried to escape into anonymity.