Image from AP/Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS - The news that the former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has been living in Minneapolis for decades is an especially startling revelation for people who lived through Nazi persecution.
Many such people still live in Minnesota, where 94-year-old Michael Karkoc has lived a quiet life in the decades since he served in the Ukrainian Self-Defense Legion. An AP investigation found that Karkoc lied about his military background when immigrating to the United States.
88-year-old Sam Rafowitz of Minnetonka was 15 when he was taken from his native Warsaw and spent four years in concentration camps. Rafowitz said he believes Karkoc should be put on trial for lying alone. Rafowitz says he hasn't forgotten the misery of his imprisonment despite it being some 70 years ago.
"As the principal Minnesota Jewish agency responsible for educating about the millions of all faiths who perished and honoring the survivors of Nazi persecution by focusing on local survivor testimony," said Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), "words fail to express how outraged we are to learn this morning that an alleged former Nazi SS commander could be hiding in plain sight in a community, which is also the home of so many Holocaust survivors and their liberators in the United States armed forces."
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