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Article updated: 6/24/2013 8:27 AM

Germany investigates commander of Nazi-led unit

A mass grave and a monument in the village of Chlaniow, Polandand holding the bodies of Poles killed in an attack on the village by the Nazi SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1944. Forty four villagers and one visitor were killed. An investigation by the AP revealed that a commander in the legion, Michael Karkoc, 94, is living in the United States.

A mass grave and a monument in the village of Chlaniow, Polandand holding the bodies of Poles killed in an attack on the village by the Nazi SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1944. Forty four villagers and one visitor were killed. An investigation by the AP revealed that a commander in the legion, Michael Karkoc, 94, is living in the United States.

 

Associated Press

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By Associated Press

BERLIN -- German prosecutors have opened a formal preliminary investigation of a Minnesota man who was a commander of a Nazi-led unit during World War II, to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring charges and seek his extradition.

The Associated Press found that 94-year-old Michael Karkoc entered the U.S. in 1949 by lying to American authorities about his role in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of torching villages and killing civilians in Poland. AP's evidence indicates that Karkoc was at the scene of the massacres, although no records link him directly to atrocities.

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Kurt Schrimm, the head of the special German prosecutors' office responsible for investigating Nazi-era crimes, said Monday prosecutors "have opened a preliminary investigation procedure to examine the matter."

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