Northeast Nazi's military unit allegedly tried to murder kids, survivor says
|Pioneer Press file photo|
|Michael Karkoc allegedly served as a Nazi commander before moving to Minneapolis in 1949.|
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An AP report published earlier this month outed Karkoc "as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division." In a followup, the AP's Monika Scislowska tracked down Poles who were just children when Karkoc's Self Defense Legion allegedly tried to murder them and/or their families.
One survivor, Henryka Jablonska, was just six when the Self Defense Legion killed 44 of her fellow Chlaniow residents in July 1944. The massacre was revenge for the killing of a German commander by resistance fighters.
According to Jablonska, a Nazi solider aimed a machine gun at her and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn't fire. She and her mother were able to flee, but when they returned to the scene hours later, they found her dad dead in a cornfield with a gaping head wound.
"It was something so absolutely terrible," Jablonska told the AP.
Another now-87-year-old survivor of the Chlaniow massacre, Stanislaw Banach, said his father told him and his brother to run into the woods when he saw Nazis setting neighboring farmhouses ablaze. They hid only to later find their father dead with a slit throat.
It's unclear what role, if any, Karkoc played in the Chlaniow massacre, but documents unearthed by the AP indicate his unit was at least there at the time.
Despite the investigation now being undertaken by Germany authorities, Jablonska isn't optimistic Karkoc will ever be brought to justice.
"What good is it now?" she said, according to the AP. "He is 94 and has spent so many years in peace and surrounded by his family."
"He is old and they will most surely say that he is too weak to stand trial," Banach added.
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