Michael Karkoc, a World War II commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, is accused of burning villages in Poland.
A Polish prosecutor pursuing a Nazi crimes investigation of a Minnesota man said Thursday that experts will compare the man’s photos with that of a Nazi commander to make sure they are the same person.
The Associated Press has identified the man, Michael Karkoc, as a World War II commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of burning villages in Poland. The accusations are based on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and Karkoc’s own Ukrainian-language memoir.
Following the AP story, Poland opened an investigation into the 97-year-old Karkoc, who denies that he fought in the war. Confirming his identity is key to an extradition being sought.
Prosecutor Dariusz Antoniak said Thursday experts will confirm whether Karkoc is the same person as the Nazi commander by comparing facial features in photos of Karkoc with those in a 1940 photo of the commander, taken in Ukraine.
A Polish lawmaker wants to hasten the investigation, arguing that time is running out, considering Karkoc’s age.
Tomasz Rzymkowski, a lawyer with the Kukiz’15 party, is writing to the Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak this week to ask about the findings from the investigation.
German prosecutors shelved their investigation of Karkoc in 2015, saying he is not fit for trial.
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