Poland will investigate Nazi-led unit commander

Poland will investigate Nazi-led unit commander Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jun 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

WARSAW / MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Polish prosecutors say they will investigate a commander in a notorious Nazi SS-led unit who has been found to be living in Minnesota. 

An investigation revealed Friday that Michael Karkoc, 94, entered the U.S. by lying to American authorities about his leadership role in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.

The unit is accused of burning down villages in Poland filled with women and children. AP's evidence suggests that Karkoc was at the scene of the crimes, although no records link him directly to atrocities.

Poland's National Remembrance Institute said Friday that its prosecutors will investigate Karkoc's wartime role and provide "every possible assistance" to the U.S. justice system, which has used lies in immigration papers to deport dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals.

The news is an especially startling revelation for people who lived through Nazi persecution.

Many such people still live in Minnesota, including 88-year-old Sam Rafowitz of Minnetonka. Rafowitz was 15 when he was taken from his native Warsaw and spent four years in concentration camps. Rafowitz said he believes Karkoc should be put on trial for lying alone.

Rafowitz says he hasn't forgotten the misery of his imprisonment despite it being some 70 years ago.

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