Nazi Commander Found Living in Minnesota

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 14 2013 1:03 PM

AP Investigation Uncovers Nazi Commander Living in Minnesota

105130343
Michael Karkoc lives in northeast Minneapolis in an area with a large Ukrainian population

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

A 94-year-old man who has been in the United States for more than 60 years was a top commander in a Nazi SS-led unit, the Associated Press revealed Friday. Michael Karkoc now lives in Minnesota and when he entered the United States in 1949 told authorities he had not performed military service during World War II. That wasn’t really accurate. Karkoc was a founding member and an officer of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later was an officer in the SS Galician Division. Although there's no evidence he committed war crimes himself, there does seem to be pretty clear proof that “the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians" as well as suggestions that he "was at the scene of these atrocities,” according to the AP.

It’s a little surprising it has taken so long to uncover Karkoc's past considering he hasn’t done a very thorough job of hiding it. He published a Ukrainian-language memoir in 1995 in which he writes about how he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense League in 1943. But his name was only flagged by a retired clinical pharmacologist who carries out Nazi war crime research in his free time. When the AP knocked on Karkoc’s door in northeast Minneapolis, he refused to speak: "I don't think I can explain," he said.

Advertisement

Polish prosecutors said Friday they will investigate Karkoc considering most of the unit’s crimes took place in Poland. German authorities have also said they are interested in exploring the case to see if there is enough evidence to prosecute.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.