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Minnesota man was Nazi SS commander, German prosecutor says

(JTA) — A German prosecutor has recommended that murder charges be brought against a retired Minnesota carpenter who the prosecutor says is a former commander of the Nazi SS.

Thomas Will, the deputy head of the special prosecutor’s office that investigates Nazi crimes, believes that Michael Karkoc, 94, ordered his unit to attack a Polish village in 1944. The village was razed and dozens of adults and children were killed, according to the AP.

An AP independent investigation last summer found that Karkoc was in the area at the time of the massacres but could not link him directly to the attack.

But according to AP, a newly discovered file on the investigation unearthed in the Ukrainian intelligence agency’s archive included testimony from a private under Karkoc’s command, Ukrainian Pvt. Ivan Sharko, who said in 1968 that Karkoc had ordered the assault.

Karkoc, who entered the United States in 1949, still lives in Minneapolis. He did not disclose his position as a commander in the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which was led by the SS, on his application for citizenship, the AP reported.

Will’s office cannot file charges, but the prosecutor told AP that he will ask Germany’s Federal Criminal Court this week to determine which state prosecutor should get the case. The new prosecutor would review the evidence and decide whether to charge Karkoc and if Germany has jurisdiction.

Polish prosecutors said their investigation was ongoing.

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