Minnesota Nazi

Minnesota Nazi, After more than three decades in existence, the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting team is facing what could end up being its last investigation after reports emerged Tuesday that a 94-year-old Ukrainian immigrant in Minnesota had led a Nazi SS unit accused of burning villages during World War II.
In northeast Minneapolis, news crews and curious neighbors milled outside the modest home of Michael Karkoc, who has lived in the United States for more than 60 years, after a report linked him to a Ukrainian SS squad.
The Associated Press reported that wartime documents and interviews with soldiers indicated that Mr. Karkoc commanded a company that massacred civilians, although the records did not point to his direct hand in war crimes.
The Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, which since 1979 has investigated and deported suspected war criminals, refused to say whether it was investigating Mr. Karkoc. The department has not taken any legal action against him, documents show, and officials declined to say whether his case had ever attracted any federal interest.
“While we do not confirm or deny the existence of specific investigations, I can say as a general matter that the Department of Justice continues to pursue all credible allegations of participation in World War II Nazi crimes by U.S. citizens and residents,” said Michael Passman, a Justice Department spokesman.
Officials in Germany and Poland said they were interested in finding out more about Mr. Karkoc’s history. Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Israeli office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the most prominent Nazi-hunting groups in the world, said evidence linking Mr. Karkoc to Nazi activities appeared strong. “This is a case that is definitely worth pursuing,” Mr. Zuroff said.
The Justice Department has frequently brought cases against people suspected of being Nazis based on evidence that they lied about their histories in getting into the United States. The Associated Press report suggested that Mr. Karkoc had concealed his service as a military officer when he came to the United States, giving the Justice Department a potential avenue for inquiry.
Over the years, the Justice Department has denaturalized or deported 107 people with Nazi ties living in the United States,  but the cases have slowed to a trickle in recent years as suspects died or reached their 80s and 90s.
A handful of Nazi investigations remain open, Justice Department officials say. A man who served in a Nazi unit at the Trawniki concentration camp, who was stripped of his citizenship and ordered deported in 2006, has remained free in Massachusetts while the United States has sought to find a country that will accept him.
Mr. Karkoc is an active member of his neighborhood Ukrainian church, and remains physically active, taking regular walks without the aid of a cane or walker, and puttering in his garden.
“He was on the ladder the other day cleaning out the gutter,” said Stan Patrick, 70, who lives across the street.
Mr. Patrick suggested that the government should leave Mr. Karkoc alone. “If they confront him and go through a bunch of hullabaloo, he’ll probably have a heart attack and die. Just let him go about his business.”
But other neighbors differed.
“I’m alarmed,” said Carey Tinkelenberg, 29, whose father spent years in a Japanese-run prison in World War II. “It’s absolutely personal.”
No one answered the phone at Mr. Karkoc’s home on Friday, and a man there ordered visitors at the door to “stay off the property.”

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