Northeast Nazi Michael Karkoc ordered murder of Polish civilians, testimony indicates

Michael Karkoc, the 94-year-old Nazi commander who has been living quietly in northeast Minneapolis since 1949, ordered the murder of Polish civilians in 1944, according to testimony recently unearthed by the Associated Press.

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The testimony in question was given to Soviet authorities in 1968 by Private Ivan Sharko, a Ukrainian who served under Karkoc's command.

Here's an excerpt of Sharko's account of what happened in Chlaniow, Poland:

"The command was given by one of the commanders to cordon off the village and prepare for battle. The commander of our company, Wolf [a.k.a. Karkoc], also gave the command to cordon off the village and check all the houses, and to find and punish the partisans."...

"The legionaries surrounded the homes, set fire to them with matches, or with incendiary bullets, and they shot anyone who was found in the homes or anywhere in the streets. Most of the houses were burned as a result of this action. How many people were killed in all, I don't know. I personally saw three corpses of peaceful inhabitants who had been killed."

The AP reports that officials in the German special prosecutors' office that investigates Nazi crimes have recommended murder changes be brought against Karkoc, though they made their recommendation even before the AP unearthed Sharko's testimony from the Ukrainian intelligence agency's archive.

Karkoc's son, however, continues to deny his father had any involvement in war crimes or the killing of civilians.

Reached for comment by the AP last Friday, Karkoc's son, Andriy Karkos, said, "Until and unless the Associated Press can provide their alleged evidence and their witness, we will not respond to your defamatory and slanderous allegation." (Sharko died in the 1980s.)

The U.S. Department of Justice won't comment on whether they're investigating Karkoc or will assist in any possible attempt to extradite him to Europe to face charges, the AP reports.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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