Poland confirms Minnesota man was Nazi commander, seeks arrest and extradition

Polish authorities confirmed on Monday they will seek to extradite a Minnesota man by the name of Michael Karkoc, a suspected Nazi commander, amid allegations that he committed crimes against humanity during World War II.

The Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) said in a statement that "Michael K." is suspected of ordering the killing of 44 Poles in 1944 in eastern Poland when he was a commander in the Nazi's SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.

As a result of that order, several villages - including Chlaniow and Wladyslawin - were set on fire and buildings were destroyed, the IPN said. Archival files from the Nazi SS have also suggested that Karkoc and his unit played a role in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis fought a Polish rebellion attempting to oust German occupiers.

FLASHBACK: See the atrocities of the Warsaw Uprising

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(GERMANY OUT) German infantrymen who were participating in the abolition of the Warsaw uprising - August 1944 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
WARSAW, POLAND: Picture taken in July 1944 shows insurgents fighting in the streets of Warsaw during the Warsaw Uprising. Poland marks 29 July 2004 the 60th anniversary of the start of the World War II Warsaw uprising in which a whole city was destroyed and 200,000 people killed on the orders of German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. AFP PHOTO -- POLAND OUT -- (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)
1944: Captured German soldiers stand in line, during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when the Polish Home Army mounted an insurrection against the Nazis. Original Publication: Picture Post - 9259 - Pictures From The Grave - pub.1957 (Photo by Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Picture taken in July 1944 shows people leaving a storm sewer during the Warsaw Uprising. Poland marks 29 July 2004 the 60th anniversary of the start of the World War II Warsaw uprising in which a whole city was destroyed and 200,000 people killed on the orders of German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. AFP PHOTO -- POLAND OUT -- (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
German soldiers walking by fires set in the warsaw ghetto, which was burned to the ground after the uprising, world war ll, poland, 1944. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
October 1944: A Polish prisoner of war is interrogated by German officers after the failed uprising by the Polish Home Army against Nazi occupation in Warsaw. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1943: Fire breaks out during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a Polish insurrection against the German forces who had occupied Poland at the start of World War II. By 1944 Warsaw was the centre of Polish resistance, but the army was forced to surrender on October 2nd 1944 under pressure from German air raids. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs' The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the 1943 act of Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's final effort to transport the remaining Ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) III. Reich, persecution of jews, poland 1939-45, warsaw ghetto uprising 19.04.-16.05.1943: SS-Brigadier (and Maj.Gen. of Police) Juergen Stroop (center / c-in-c of the german units) ) during the fighting in the Ghetto. april 1943 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) III. Reich, persecution of jews, poland 1939-45, warsaw ghetto uprising 19.04.-16.05.1943: Detention of the managing staff of the company Brauer. april 1943 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Troops of German SS General Jurgen Stroop with a group of children and adults captured in a basement during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Poland, 8th May 1943. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
October 1944: Sick and starved people emerge from basements and sewers in Warsaw, two months after the start of the Warsaw Uprising against the occupying German forces. As a result, thousands of the city's inhabitants were killed or sent to concentration camps, and the city destroyed. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
A group of starved and utterly exhausted Warsaw civilians after the uprising which lasted two months and ended so tragically. The Russians had encouraged the Poles to rise up against their German occupiers but despite being only nine miles from Warsaw failed to help them in their fight. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
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The IPN did not release the last name, as Polish privacy laws prevent that, but the Associated Press previously identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.

The prosecutors have asked a regional court in Poland to issue an arrest warrant for Michael K. as the first step toward an extradition request.

The move comes four years after the AP published a story outlining the evidence linking Karkoc to the alleged war crimes.

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His family has repeatedly denied his role in the atrocities he's been accused of, according to the AP, which his son called "scandalous and baseless slanders."

"There's nothing in the historical record that indicates my father had any role whatsoever in any type of war crime activity," Andriy Karkoc said.

The IPN is a Polish organization responsible for investigating Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles.

The initial press investigation into Karkoc found that he was able to enter the United States in 1949 after claiming no military experience, failing to disclose his role as commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.

(Reporting by AOL with additional reporting from Reuters)

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