Minnesota man to be charged with Nazi war crimes.Michael Karkoc has been identified as the commander of a Nazi unit responsible for the murder of 44 Poles in WWII. Officials in Poland made the announcement earlier this week, stating they will seek the extradition of the suspect, a 98-year-old man from Minnesota.
It is believed Karkoc was responsible for burning an entire village with men, women, and children almost 73 years ago. Poland states they are a 100% sure Karkoc is the man they are looking for, citing their evidence is based on years of investigation.
However, Karkoc’s kin have denied the man’s role in the crime. According to Andriy Karkoc, the Associated Press was reporting fake news.
Polish prosecutors from the National Remembrance Institute, a government affiliated agency, have requested a Lublin based regional court to issue a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Karkoc. If the warrant is issued, Karkoc will be extradited to Poland to face a trial. A guilty verdict would mean put Karkoc under life imprisonment.
Mr. Karkoc had previously been investigated in 2013 by German officials after reports of him being a Nazi commander were published by the Associated Press. However, the investigation was stopped after prosecutors found Karkoc to be unfit for trial, based on information sourced from detailed medical documents.
Karkoc’s son has termed the report as “offensive,” stating it was surprising to hear that someone who fought against the Nazis could be called a war criminal. He also mentioned his father’s dementia has progressed after hearing the news.
At present, Karkoc resides in an assisted-living facility. His wife resides at a lock-down memory care unit in same facility.
Efraim Zuroff, an investigator from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, stated that he was pleased to hear about Poland’s stance on extradition and trial. He added the center possessed enough knowledge to place Krakoc as the Nazi unit commander responsible for the massacre.
— Stacey Cole (@SC83Inquisitr) March 14, 2017
However, Zuroff did state the suspect’s health played a key role in determining the possibility of a trial. According to the investigator, Karkoc should not be put on trial if he is unable to stand trial. He cited Karkoc’s possible dementia as the reason, implying the offender was “out of touch” with reality.
Zuroff is now requesting an independent medical investigation be done by doctors in the United States, as Nazi war criminals have tried to avoid trial in the past by pretending to be unfit for trial.