In June, evidence surfaced that Michael Karkoc had lied to immigration officials about his role as an office in the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which was led by the SS. Although the Associated Press’ investigation did prove that Karkoc lied during his immigration, it could not link him to any of the atrocities against humanity which the Legion was responsible for. The report could place Karkoc in the area at the time of the crimes, but that was as far as they were able to get
Now an investigation that was filed by the Ukrainian intelligence agency and left to sit and cover dust has been dug up and published early this week. The report is able to do exactly what previous evidence had been unable to prove. It establishes a link between Karkoc and the atrocities, even naming him as the one who ordered them to take place.
In the report there are eyewitness reports from a private under Karkoc’s command. The file is also able to provide a roster, made out by the Germans, which proves that Ukrainian Pvt. Ivan Sharko was a soldier under Karkoc’s command at the time of the massacres that took place at this time.
Karkoc’s unit is reported to have murdered dozens of woman and children residing in a small Polish village that had only recently been leveled. At this time Karkoc was being referred to by his nickname “Wolf.” In 1995, a war memoir was published in Ukrainian that is listed as authored by both Karkoc’s real name and his pseudonym “Wolf.”
Sharko testified in 1968 that, “The commander of our company, Wolf, also gave the command to cordon off the village and check all the houses, and to find and punish the partisans.” The report states that no one was spared from the atrocities that followed. Residents were ordered to evacuate their houses, which were later set fire to and if they did not comply they were shot. Following orders would not necessarily save you either, the report states. Peaceful peasants along with complying villagers were shot. Some of whom were seen by Sharko.
When the news first broke in July, Karkoc’s family immediately refuted the claims. A letter was written to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in protest stating that Karkoc had told his family he had not been in Chlaniow, the village, when these killings occurred.
Despite the high profile nature of this revelation the United States is staying relatively mum for the time being. The U.S. Department of Justice has not yet commented on the role it played in the investigation, if it did at all, or if it left the research up to the polish authorities.
They did however acknowledge the newly found evidence but claimed that it is not their policy to ever confirm or deny that a person is or is not under an investigation by their office. Karkoc is currently living in Minnesota with the rest of his family where he was a carpenter for most of his life. He is 94 years old and retired.
By Nick Manai