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.

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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)