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Man exposed as Nazi dies at 100

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A retired Minnesota carpenter whom The Associated Press exposed as a former commander of a Nazi-led unit accused of war atrocities has died.

Michael Karkoc, whose family maintained that he was never a Nazi or committed any war crimes, lived quietly in Minneapolis for decades until AP’s review of U.S. and Ukrainian records in 2013 uncovered his past and prompted investigations in Germany and Poland. Karkoc died Dec. 14, according to cemetery and public records. He was 100.

His son, Andriy Karkoc, hung up on an AP reporter without confirming his father’s death. Officials at the Kozlak-Radulovich Funeral Chapel, which was listed on one website as having handled the funeral arrangements, declined to comment.

But records at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis show he was quietly buried there Dec. 19, next to his wife, Nadia Karkoc, who died in 2018. And Minnesota Department of Health records show that a Michael Karkoc with the correct birthday died Dec. 14. The family and funeral home did not publish a public obituary.

Karkoc’s involvement in the war surfaced when a retiree who researched Nazi war crimes approached the AP after coming across Karkoc’s name. The AP investigation relied upon a broad range of interviews and documents, including Nazi military payroll information and company rosters, U.S. Army intelligence files, Ukrainian intelligence findings and Karkoc’s self-published memoir.

The records established that Karkoc was a commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which attacked a Polish village where dozens of women and children were killed in 1944, then lied to American authorities to get into the U.S. after World War II.

His family denied he was ever at the scene of the attack, though a second AP report uncovered testimony from a former soldier in Karkoc’s unit who said Karkoc ordered his men to attack the village, Chlaniow, in retaliation for the slaying of an SS major.

Andriy Karkoc has said his father was never a Nazi and denied he was involved in any war crimes. He has also questioned the validity of AP’s sources and accused the AP of “defamatory and slanderous” allegations.

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