A day after the Associated Press identified a suspected former Nazi SS commander as a 94-year-old northeast Minneapolis man Friday, the question among many baffled observers may be: How?
At least that's what the Christian Science Monitor is asking as news spreads around the world, both literally and virtually. In "Minnesota Nazi: How did Nazi Hunters miss Michael Karkoc?," CSR takes a historical view on the Ukrainian's reputed past as a Nazi commander.
"'Nazi hunters have had major successes and notable failures in finding and deporting Nazis," reports the Monitor, without saying which category Karkoc is in. "If the allegations are true – and authorities in the US, Poland and Germany are now looking into the Associated Press report – Mr. Karkoc, who is in his mid-90s, could have his US citizenship revoked and be deported."
Karkoc has not responded to reporters who have come to his home in the St. Anthony West neighborhood, but his son, Andrij Karkos, read a statement late Friday denying the AP story and claiming it defames his father, who came to the United States in 1949. (The son spells his last name different than the father.)
"Though records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, statements from men in his unit and other documentation confirm the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians, and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities as the company leader," the Post quotes the AP. "Nazi SS files say he and his unit were also involved in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis brutally suppressed a Polish rebellion against German occupation."
ABC News reports the Department of Justice, which handles such cases in the U.S., would not comment on an open investigation.
USA Today, meanwhile, is running the son's denial.
The UK's Daily Mail has a story and pictures that show a man claimed to be Karkoc -- "living in secret for the last 60 years in Minnesota" -- wearing a National World War II Museum cap to his church's Father's Day celebration, while "enjoying his quiet life in America."
The Huffington Post is running another AP story which talks to Karkoc's friends and neighbors.
Oh, yes! The neighbors. KARE 11 is all over that uniquely local angle. "If you want to blend in, this is the place," Phil Cross tells the station about his neighborhood, placidly perched on the east side of the Mississippi in northeast.
Another neighbor raises a good question: He wonders where Karkoc is now.