Survivors on Outed Minn. Nazi: 'What Good Is It Now?'

Villagers reflect on massacre by Michael Karkoc's unit

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 24, 2013 8:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – Just weeks ago, the AP outed a Minnesota man as a former Nazi commander; now, Polish survivors are revisiting a massacre by Michael Karkoc's unit. Records suggest Karkoc was near the scene of the Chlaniow massacre as well as one in the Ukrainian village of Pidhaitsi, though there's still no proof he had a direct hand in the attacks, the AP notes. As to the emergence of his past, "What good is it now?" says a woman who was 6 years old at Chlaniow. "He is 94 and has spent so many years in peace and surrounded by his family."

Some 44 villagers were killed in the attack, retaliation after resistance fighters killed another commander. "It was something so absolutely terrible," adds Henryka Jablonska, who faced a submachine gun that wouldn't fire. Her father was discovered dead in a cornfield after the attack; survivor Stanislaw Banach, who hid under haystacks with his brother, also lost his father. But Karkoc "is old and they will most surely say that he is too weak to stand trial," Banach says. Still, Polish and German authorities are seeking evidence to extradite and charge Karkoc.

In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc is photographed in Lauderdale, Minn.   (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)
A mass grave and monument in Chlaniow, Poland, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. It holds the bodies of Poles killed in an attack on the village by the Nazi SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1944.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Henryka Jablonska talks to the Associated Press at her farmhouse near Chlaniaw, Poland, on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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