Pastor: Minnesota Nazi Seemed Like 'Good Citizen'

Prosecution of Michael Karkoc should be simple: Nazi hunter

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 15, 2013 11:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Minnesota neighbors of Michael Karkoc are stunned at the AP's finding that he led a Nazi unit said to have massacred civilians. "I know him personally. We talk, laugh. He takes care of his yard and walks with his wife," says Karkoc's next-door neighbor. Adds a pastor at a church Karkoc attends, per the AP: "All the time I am here, I know him as a good man, a good citizen. He's well known in the congregation." Karkoc's son, meanwhile, says his father "was never a Nazi": "That's the god's honest truth."

US, German, and Polish prosecutors are now investigating Karkoc, the Christian Science Monitor notes. A top Nazi hunter in Jerusalem says the case should be simple for the US. "If he was the commander of a unit that carried out atrocities, that's a no brainer," he says. So why haven't US authorities already caught him, the Monitor wonders? A 2010 Justice department report says some 10,000 former Nazis may have been living in the US at one time. But "there is enormous difficulty in marshaling the evidence for these prosecutions, many subjects died before investigation was complete, the cases take years to litigate to completion, and the office (dedicated to the task) is small."

In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc is photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to  a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990.
In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc is photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990.   (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)
People walk past the home in Minneapolis, Minn., where 94-year-old Michael Karkoc lives, Friday, June 14, 2013.
People walk past the home in Minneapolis, Minn., where 94-year-old Michael Karkoc lives, Friday, June 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Richard Sennott)
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