The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 18, 2013

Soldier: Minneapolis man ordered Nazi-led attack

Roster confirms man in Karkoc's unit

(Continued)

"There is no record that Karkoc had a hand in any war crimes," Karkos wrote. "He did nothing wrong. He never lied. He's not afraid of the truth."

Stephen Paskey, who led Nazi investigations for nine years as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations, said the Sharko testimony is highly credible and should bolster cases in Germany and Poland to launch prosecutions against Karkoc. He noted that Sharko did not appear to be in custody or under investigation at the time of his questioning, and that many of his statements are confirmed by historical documents.

"I see no reason to doubt that is what (Sharko) said and that it was said without any pressure," said Paskey, now a law professor at the SUNY Buffalo Law School. "And that's exactly the sort of thing that would help persuade a judge that it's credible — that there's other evidence to corroborate the other things that he said. ... There's no indication in the Soviet statement that the guy they were interviewing had a motive to lie."

Since the initial report, both German and Polish prosecutors have opened investigations into whether to charge Karkoc with war crimes, based on the fact he had "command responsibility" for his unit when it committed massacres. Karkoc was a founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later an officer in the SS Galician Division.

Germany has in recent years taken the position that people suspected of Nazi crimes must be prosecuted, no matter how old or infirm, as it did in the case of retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year at age 91 while appealing his conviction as a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

Thomas Will, who is deputy head of Germany's special prosecutors' office that investigates Nazi crimes, said he is working "intensively" to conclude his probe as soon as possible, especially in view of Karkoc's advanced age.

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