New evidence suggests that Michael Karkoc, the former Nazi SS commander found living in Minnesota, may have actually ordered the 1944 attack on Chlaniow, in which 44 Polish villagers, including women and children, were killed. Initially, Karkoc was simply said to have been near the scenes of that and other Ukrainian massacres, but now the AP has uncovered testimony from a private under Karkoc's command who said Karkoc ordered the attack as retaliation after an SS major was killed. In the wake of the revelation, a German federal prosecutor is recommending murder charges against the 94-year-old Karkoc. State prosecutors still need to make the final decision.
"The command [to attack Chlaniow] was given by one of the commanders to cordon off the village and prepare for battle," said Ivan Sharko, confirmed by a German roster to have served under Karkoc. "The commander of our company, Wolf [Karkoc's pseudonym], also gave the command to cordon off the village and check all the houses, and to find and punish the partisans." He went on to describe the razing of the town, noting that he saw three "peaceful inhabitants who had been killed." Karkoc's family continues to deny his involvement. He continues to live in Minnesota as Germany and Poland investigate his case. (Read more Michael Karkoc stories.)