Arrest warrant sought for MN man, alleged Nazi commander

WARSAW, Poland - A prosecutor in Poland says that evidence shows without doubt that a Minnesota man was a Nazi unit commander suspected of contributing to the death of 44 Poles.

Robert Janicki said that various evidence gathered in years of investigation into U.S. citizen 'Michael K' confirmed "100 percent" that he was a World War II commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of burning villages and killing civilians in Poland.



The Associated Press has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc.



Prosecutors of the state National Remembrance Institute have asked a local court in Poland to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, Janicki said.

Karkoc's family denies that he was involved in any war crimes. His son Andriy Karkoc says stories about his father are "misinformation or disinformation" launched by Vladimir Putin's government. The younger Karkoc says he can't comment on a Polish prosecutor's announcement Monday that evidence shows his father, Michael Karkoc, was a Nazi unit commander suspected of contributing to the death of 44 Poles.

But Andriy Karkoc insists his father wasn't in Poland and wasn't responsible for any war crimes. He accuses The Associated Press, which first reported on Michael Karkoc's past in 2013, of "scandalous and baseless slanders." And he says AP is "letting itself be used as a tool for Putin's fake news."

He says his father is 98 years old and unable to defend himself.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's top Nazi hunter is applauding Polish prosecutors for deciding to seek an arrest warrant for Karkoc.

Efraim Zuroff told The Associated Press by phone from Jerusalem on Monday that "it's high time that the Poles became more active seeking people who committed crimes in World War II on Polish soil."

He says any legal step "sends a very powerful message."

Germany shelved its own investigation of Karkoc in 2015 after concluding he was unfit for trial. Zuroff says independent doctors should re-assess him.
 

© 2017 Associated Press


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