June 14, 2013
The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called on the U.S. Justice Department to immediately open an investigation of 94 year-old Minnesota resident, Michael Karkoc (pictured), who is suspected of being a Ukrainian SS commandant who concealed his wartime record in order to enter the U.S. after WWII. The unit he was an officer in, the SS Galician Division, were responsible for brutal atrocities against civilians.
In a letter to Eli Rosenbaum, Director, Strategy and Policy in the Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section of the Department of Justice, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, formally requested an immediate investigation: “In view of the serious charges leveled against Michael Karkoc, namely that he was the commander of an SS-sponsored military unit involved in atrocities against men, women and children and that he lied about it to American authorities in 1949 to gain entry into the United States.”
“As you very well know, some of the worst atrocities were committed in Eastern Europe by local Nazi collaborators,” Rabbi Hier went on to write. “The fact that Karkoc was, in addition, a member of the Galician SS should, in itself, be sufficient reason to begin an investigation. That he is 94 years old should have no bearing on the fact that he has never answered for the crimes he is suspected of committing,” he added.
Efraim Zuroff, the Israel Director of the Wiesenthal Center as well as its chief investigator into Nazi war criminals, will be available for comment Saturday after 1:30pm EDT. All other queries can be made to the Center’s Public Relations Department, 310-772-2458, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).