Michael Karkoc's World War II story stuns Minneapolis, launches global inquiries

  • Article by: Richard Meryhew , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 16, 2013 - 1:20 PM

For decades, Michael Karkoc has lived a quiet life in Minneapolis. Now he stands accused of being a Nazi collaborator.

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AbumazzenJul. 14, 13 1:26 AM

As someone who is currently visitng Latvia I can atest to the coninuing scars of WW II. There are vacant buildings that are waiting for their Jewish owners to return. There is still an emotional tension between ethic groups. I hope there will be an open investigation into his aleged crimes and a trial so our nation can learn that the past effects our presnt, and future.

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sarah1968Jul. 14, 13 3:56 AM

I have a vested interest in holding the Nazi regime and its collaborators accountable because my deceased father suffered all his life with health problems that were caused by his WWII combat service as a heavy machine gun operator. If Karkoc is guilty he needs to confess immediately as doing so will give him peace of mind and maximum time to atone for any criminal acts. In addition if he is guilty, the right thing for he and his family is to accept his punishment with grace and remind themselves often how lucky they were that he will have enjoyed such a long and healthy life having evaded prosecution for 60 years.

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bizsmithJul. 14, 13 5:39 AM

Accused, tried, convicted and punished by the press.

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barbjensJul. 14, 13 7:49 AM

He lied when he came to this country by stating that he NEVER was in the German Army.

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owatonnabillJul. 14, 13 7:56 AM

This is a dead-end pursuit for a variety of reasons. First of all the guy is 94...that means that any witnesses for or against, if they are even alive, will be of like age themselves and any information they might give would be hugely questionable. Second--can we judge actions of a time seven decades or more in the past with the sensibilities of today? Remember, when the German tanks first rolled into Ukraine the Germans were seen as liberators. Who can judge the mindset of someone to whom the atrocities of Stalin against his fellow Ukrainians were all too real, and, if forced into the service of Stalin and/or Ukraine, might have been called upon to commit even worse atrocities (assuming that he committed any atrocities at all) then he would have committed while wearing the uniform of Nazi Germany? It is all too easy for people of today to get all righteously indignant and to demand "justice", but let's face it. Justice, in this case, is clearly impossible. Leave the old guy alone.

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stingballJul. 14, 13 8:19 AM

This man is described as a "kindly old man" and a nice guy who selflessly contributed to his community here in America. That may be so, but that does not mean he is not guilty of committing atrocities against other human beings. There were plenty of Nazis who were kind and affectionate with their own families but brutal and cruel to the people that they oppressed. History is filled with people who possessed this duality.

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FrankieJul. 14, 13 8:53 AM

That's what happens when you have a Sanctuary city.

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yoymrdoeJul. 14, 13 8:54 AM

Millions of illegal aliens in this country murdering and raping citizens and the tribune continues to make an alleged 90 year old former Nazi an issue. Remember Cottonwood.

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rotsternJul. 14, 13 9:00 AM

as the Democrats would say.. "that's old news".. Benghazi, anyone?

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minneg56Jul. 14, 13 9:34 AM

A couple of thoughts. 1. There is not a justification for the actual actions for which Mr. Karoc has been accused. But how many of us well fed readers posting from the safety, security and comfort of our air conditioned dens this morning know, or have actually experienced the exact circumstances under which he was conscripted? 2. Mr. Karkoc has only been ACCUSED of these actions. Most people have difficulty accurately recounting events and accurately identifying people from less than a week ago let alone 70 years. 3. Is a soldier who knowingly blows up a strategically located bridge with a trainload of civilians any less guilty of murder than someone who did the things Mr. Karkoc has been accused? A life taken is a life lost under all circumstances 4. Having talked with numerous WWII soldiers almost all of whom have now passed on, to a man they took things to their graves with them which they never shared with anyone and wish they never had to have done. As for Mr. Karkoc, if he in fact did do the things of which he's been accused, he's carried them over a lifetime. In five years or less most everyone involved will have passed on. Although nobody will nor should forget how terrible war can be, it's time to move forward and direct the efforts and resources toward ensuring these things will never happen again rather than trying to undo horrible past event which will never be undone.

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