Nazi commander has been living in Northeast Minneapolis since 1949, report says

Categories: Minneapolis
mplsNazi.jpg
Chris Polydoroff
Michael Karkoc was a Nazi commander before moving to Minneapolis in 1949, remarrying (his previous wife died in 1948), and having four more kids.
You expect to find hipsters, artists, students, and all sorts of interesting folks up in Northeast... but Nazis?

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According to a fascinating report by the Associated Press, there's been at least one of them up in that part of town since 1949 -- Michael Karkoc, a 94-year-old Ukraine native who worked "as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division," the AP, citing wartime records, writes.

As the report details, records indicate Karkoc's unit was at the scene of civilian massacres, including the brutal 1944 Warsaw Uprising, though the exact role he played in them is unclear.

In any case, while trying to emigrate to the United States in 1949, Karkoc falsely told American authorities he wasn't a part of the military during the war and "worked for father until 1944. Worked in labor camp from 1944 until 1945," records state. His status as a former Nazi commander would have prevented him from coming to America had it been known at the time.

In a curious twist, Karkoc outed himself as a former Nazi in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995. Though Karkoc's memoir is available at the U.S. Library of Congress, the AP was actually tipped off about his Nazi past by a retired British clinical pharmacologist who moonlights as a Nazi hunter.


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AP screengrab
Karkoc's Northeast Minneapolis home.

The AP sent reporters to Karkoc's Northeast home in an attempt to interview him. But Karkoc, still walking without a cane or walker, simply said, "I don't think I can explain," and wouldn't comment further.

Thomas Will, a prosecutor with the special German office that investigates Nazi war crimes, said Karkoc, even at his advanced age, might still be prosecuted for war crimes.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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