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.
The question of how Karkoc was able to settle comfortably in the US – at one point appearing on the cover of a union magazine – also touches on the complex legacy of the US government “Nazi hunters” who zeroed in on hundreds of Nazi collaborators – from death camp guards-turned-New York housewives to the inventor of the Saturn V rocket – and whose work was hampered by political and moral questions, as well as by the difficulty of sifting through partial postwar documents, many of them hidden behind the Iron Curtain.
Before being merged with another Justice Department unit in 2006, the so-called Office of Special Investigations, which opened in 1979 after a series of sensational media stories about Nazis living in the US, located 300 Nazis either in the US or trying to enter the country.