In June 2013, it was revealed after an investigation by the Associated Press that local Ukrainian immigrant and retired Minnesota carpenter, 95-year-old Michael Karkoc, allegedly served as a top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning Polish villages and killing innocent civilians during WWII. Evidence surfaced that Karkoc entered the United States illegally in 1949 by concealing his role as an officer and founding member of the infamous Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.
Debate ensued regarding whether – almost 70 years after the events – justice could be served and, if so, where and delivered by whom? CHGS maintains its firm belief that not pursuing justice is a betrayal to the victims. The prosecution of Nazi criminals and their allies, regardless of their age, serves also as a valuable means by which to remind the world of the horrors of the Holocaust and to confront those who would deny or willingly forget the past.
This May, Germany’s highest criminal court ruled that, even though Karkoc’s alleged crimes were against non-Germans and not committed on German soil, his role in a SS-led office “served the purposes of the Nazi state’s world view.” This gives Germany legal jurisdiction over the matter and, as such, the case has been referred to Munich prosecutors who will examine the evidence again to determine whether to charge Karkoc and seek his extradition from the United States.
To see Director Alejandro Baer’s comments on the ruling on KSTP channel 5, please click here.