Annual Nazi-hunting Report Downgrades U.S., Commends Germany

United States' ranking of Nazi-hunting efforts lowered because of failure to prosecute notorious Nazi who lived quietly in Minnesota, Simon Wiesenthal Center says.

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Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, November 25, 2013
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, November 25, 2013Credit: AFP

The world's predominant Nazi-hunting group took the United States to task over its failure to prosecute a member of a notorious Nazi unit who lived quietly in Minnesota for decades in its annual report released Monday.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center report lowered its ranking of the U.S.'s Nazi-hunting efforts from A to B. It was the first time the U.S. has been ranked so low.

Efraim Zuroff, director of the center's Israel office, said the ranking was in part because the U.S. took no action against Michael Karkoc.

An Associated Press investigation in 2013 found that Karkoc, a commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of atrocities, has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II. Zuroff cites the AP story in his report.

A German investigation began after the AP published the story establishing that Karkoc commanded a unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children, then lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States a few years after World War II.

This year's report praised Germany for loosening criteria to make it easier to prosecute former Nazis. For decades prosecutors could only go after those suspected of specific involvement in specific atrocities. Now anyone who served in a death camp or a mobile killing squad during WWII can be prosecuted as accessories to murder.

Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of World War II, wiping out a third of world Jewry.

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