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)

Polish prosecutors said their investigation was ongoing — and that they have told the Foreign Ministry they need to ask "the American side to question (Karkoc) in the capacity of a suspect." They referred further queries to the ministry, which did not respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. Department of Justice refused to comment on whether it had initiated its own investigation or was aiding the Polish investigation.

"The Department of Justice is aware of the allegations, which have been widely published," spokesman Peter Carr wrote in an email. "We generally do not confirm nor deny whether an individual is under investigation."

Even without the Sharko testimony there is a case against Karkoc from the evidence uncovered in the initial report, Paskey said.

"If he gave the order, there's no question he's guilty of war crimes," Paskey said in a telephone interview. "Even if he didn't give the order, as the commander in the area it was his responsibility — if he knew about it to stop it, and if he learned about it after to investigate it and punish those responsible. That's what command responsibility is."

Other soldiers who served under Karkoc back up Sharko's testimony about civilian killings: Vasyl Malazhenski, also a private, told Soviet investigators that in 1944 that unit was directed to "liquidate all the residents" of Chlaniow — although he did not say who gave the order.

Sharko also testified in the investigative documents that Karkoc's company was directly involved in a "punitive mission" against Poles near the village of Sagryn in 1944.

"We were told that Poles had attacked the village of Sagryn and were killing Ukrainian families," Sharko said. "And that's why we had to defend the families of Ukrainians and take revenge against the Poles."

Sharko made his statements to authorities in Ukraine in 1967 and 1968 for an investigation they were conducting against the Self Defense Legion. The documents noted he was living at the time in the village of Vorchin in Ukraine. Local official Oleksandr Petrovich said Sharko had been a resident, and died in the mid-1980s.

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