My father, Michael Karkoc, is not a war criminal

  • Article by: ANDRIJ KARKOC
  • Updated: July 13, 2013 - 6:11 PM

Here’s what people should know about Michael Karkoc.

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mobydick1Jul. 13, 13 6:59 PM

I always find it ironic when we determine war criminals. It seems war criminals are universally on the losing side of a war.

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duke09Jul. 13, 13 7:29 PM

Excellent letter and even better briefing on history of the period. I wish your father all the luck in the world in his quest to clear your family name. God speed.

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davehougJul. 13, 13 7:43 PM

GOSH, you mean it is all more complicated than a single sound bite :)

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batko1994Jul. 13, 13 8:16 PM

Andrij Karkovic's historical account of Ukraine is not only moot, but an irrelevant smokescreen used to cloud the issue of his father's guilt or innocence. When you cut through the baloney you find that the author admits the following relevant and damning facts: "forcibly" conscripted or not, Michael Karkovic was a member of the Nazi German Army, i.e. Waffen SS Galician Division, and after his "desertion" he joined the Ukrainian "underground," i.e. Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army which fought with Nazi Germany against American ally the Soviet Union. Also, he is a Western Ukrainian. The Western Ukrainians were (are) notorious for their historical anti-semitism and were the Nazis chief helpers in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Ukraine during the German occupation. The Western Ukrainians in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army also assisted the Nazis in the murders of nearly 100,000 ethnic Poles in Galitsia and Volhynia in 1943. None of the above by itself proves that Michael Karkovic was guilty of crimes against humanity. However, it certainly does arouse one's suspicions!

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wickeywackeyJul. 13, 1310:05 PM

"There was never a collaborationist government or party in Ukraine" - Seriously??? Try Wikipedia under "Ukrainian collaborationism with the Axis powers".

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hammersteinJul. 13, 1310:39 PM

I'm as inclined to believe a son's subjective defense of his father as I am to believe the AP's damning of him? Somewhere, in-between, lies the truth.

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ethan36Jul. 13, 1311:28 PM

At the heart of this implausible denial is the unsubstantiated assertion that shortly after June 1941, Karkoc horrified by the Nazi mistreatment of Soviet POWs deserted the German Army and even joined the partisans against the Nazis. 

This claim, however, is flatly contradicted by Nazi SS payroll sheets, which Karkoc signed, from as late as 1945. Given that Karkoc’s son never contests this critical piece of evidence that his father lied in his immigration papers about his service with the Nazi SS, why should we believe anything else in this self-serving claim of paternal innocence?

 Moreover, what of Karkoc’s own memoir in which he admitted to helping found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943 in collaboration with the Nazis' feared SS intelligence agency, the SD, to fight on the side of Germany - and served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war? As a naturalized American citizen, Karkoc should get his day in court. The meticulous records kept by the Nazis of their willing henchmen and the admissions contained within his own memoir should prove difficult to overcome, however in maintaining Karkoc’s innocence.

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benedict636Jul. 14, 1312:23 AM

Americans are lousy historians, and will by and large be unable to come to a fair judgement of this case. That whole area of the Balkans, and the slave regions has been in severe turmoil for centuries. Complex and divided loyalties are the rule. Events of the time are now totally clouded and it will be impossible to render a fair opinion form this point in time. So leave this old man alone to die in peace.

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matushkaJul. 14, 13 3:37 AM

Ethan: I didn't read any denials in the article. And there's no proof this Karkoc guy "served with the Nazi SS". (Who, by the way, had a very strict "no ukrainian untermensch" membership policy) The writer says his father's memoir covers from 1939-45. AP waved the bloody flag of the (long-ago exonerated) Waffen SS Galicia Division and you immediately saluted. Joining Galicia's ranks months before Germany's surrender (i.e. Jan. 1945) in no way equates to being on the "Nazi SS payroll", nor does it prove you're a "willing henchman". If you think collaboration means "meeting someone with a live grenade in your pocket", I'd hate to be at your next office meeting! As an (natural-born?) American citizen aren't you just a bit uncomfortable assuming guilt before allowing for the presumption of innocence? According to the article, even AP admits they've got nothing! But Karkoc wrote a book and he's still living, so they're turning him into a "Nazi"! Since their allegations can't be substatiated, they use his book to "prove" he lied on some immigration papers. But the parts of the memoir that "prove" he's a freedom fighter and innocent of their allegations, doesn't count. Who's the expert that verified Karkoc's 68 year old signature on that Nazi payroll sheets? What if some of AP's documents originated in the USSR? Like that "witness testimony" taken in 1948 and 1967 in Ukraine, and then "used" in Poland at a show-trial in 1972? AP has no evidence or proof that he's a war criminal, or anything else for that matter. They just used this story to inflame, scandalize and create a sensation. But to what end and for what possible purpose?

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redkayakJul. 14, 13 8:08 AM

I agree withh the author that the media cannot be trusted with the truth. They have shifted their role from reporting the unbiased truth to twisting the truth to fit their imagined version of the world. That being said, the serious business of determining the guilt or innocence of an accused person should be handled by the justice system and not by the media. Some of the sensatiolized cases include O.J. Simpson, Kathleen Soliah, and George Zimmerman.

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