Michael Karkoc, the man who made a peaceful living in Minnesota for decades before accusations surfaced he'd led a Nazi unit in World War II, died last month, according to the Associated Press.
He was 100. Karkoc, who became a U.S. citizen in 1959 and worked as a carpenter, lived in northeast Minneapolis and was a member of the St. Michael's and St. George's Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian National Federation.
In 2013, the AP broke the original story depicting Karkoc as a commander of the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, a regional offshoot of the Nazi SS. In that role, Karkoc was said to have ordered an attack on a Polish village called Chlaniow, killing "dozens of women and children" in 1944.
Karkoc's family denied he was even there, let alone ordering the massacre, despite "Nazi military payroll information and company rosters, U.S. Army intelligence files, Ukrainian intelligence findings and Karkoc's self-published memoir," the AP reports.
Karkoc's son Andriy Karkos (who spells his last name differently than his father) reportedly hung up on an AP reporter's phone call rather than confirming his father's death. Records indicate Michael Karkoc died on December 14, and was buried at Hillside Cemetery next to his wife, Nadia, who died December 15, 2018.
In 2015, German investigators said they would no longer pursue a case against Karkoc, then 96, citing his age. Polish prosecutors were less forgiving, and sought Karkoc's extradition in 2017, saying they were "100 percent" positive Karkoc was responsible for the death of 44 Polish civillans.
Also in 2017, Andriy Karkos, who'd accused journalists of "slandering" his father, defended Michael Karkoc, saying his father was not a Nazi but a "lifelong Republican," who hung a picture of Ronald and Nancy Reagan on the wall in his bedroom.