Poland plans to seek the extradition of an American on suspicion of World War Two crimes against humanity, Poland's government-affiliated history institute said on Monday.
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 Defence Legion.
A prosecutor in Poland says evidence shows without doubt that a Minnesota man was a Nazi unit commander suspected of contributing to the death of 44 Poles.
Robert Janicki said various evidence gathered in years of investigation into U.S. citizen Michael K. confirmed "100 percent" that he was a World War II commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of burning villages and killing civilians in Poland.
The Associated Press has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc.
Karkoc's family denies he was involved in any war crimes.
Prosecutors of the state National Remembrance Institute have asked a local court in Poland to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. Janicki says if the request is granted, Poland would seek his extradition.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center's top Nazi hunter is applauding Polish prosecutors for deciding to seek an arrest warrant for a 98-year-old Minnesota man suspected of war crimes.
Efraim Zuroff told The Associated Press by phone from Jerusalem on Monday that "it's high time that the Poles became more active seeking people who committed crimes in World War II on Polish soil."
He says any legal step "sends a very powerful message."
Michael Karkoc was put under investigation after the AP published evidence in 2013 establishing he commanded a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children. His family denies he was involved in any war crimes.
Germany shelved its own investigation of Karkoc in 2015 after concluding he was unfit for trial. Zuroff says independent doctors should re-assess him.
Karkoc's son says his father is unable to defend himself.
The son of a Minnesota man accused of being a Nazi unit commander says stories about his father are "misinformation or disinformation" launched by Vladimir Putin's government.
Andriy Karkoc says he can't comment on a Polish prosecutor's announcement Monday that evidence shows his father, Michael Karkoc, was a Nazi unit commander suspected of contributing to the death of 44 Poles.
But the younger Karkoc says his father wasn't in Poland and wasn't responsible for any war crimes. He accuses The Associated Press, which first reported on Michael Karkoc's past in 2013, of "scandalous and baseless slanders." And he says AP is "letting itself be used as a tool for Putin's fake news."
Andriy Karkoc says his father is 98 years old and unable to defend himself.
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