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AP IMPACT: Commander in SS-led Nazi unit living in US

  •  In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to  a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990.  Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.  (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)

    In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff) Purchase photo reprints »

  • This undated reproduction shows a page of Michael Karkoc's 1949 U.S. Army intelligence file that AP had declassified by the U.S. National Archives in Maryland through a Freedom of Information Act request. Officials note in the document that Karkoc told them he performed no military service during the war; working for his father until 1944 and in a labor camp from 1944 to 45. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo)

    This undated reproduction shows a page of Michael Karkoc's 1949 U.S. Army intelligence file that AP had declassified by the U.S. National Archives in Maryland through a Freedom of Information Act request. Officials note in the document that Karkoc told them he performed no military service during the war; working for his father until 1944 and in a labor camp from 1944 to 45. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  •  In this picture taken May 10, 2013, Heorhiy Syvyi, 78, left, and Ivan Hrushka share their war memories in their home village of Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk.  Nearly two dozen civilians, primarily women and children, were slaughtered in Pidhaitsi.  Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time. Heorhiy Syvyi was a 9-year-old boy when troops swarmed into town on Dec. 3 and managed to flee with his father and hide in a shelter covered with branches. His mother and 4-year-old brother were killed.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    In this picture taken May 10, 2013, Heorhiy Syvyi, 78, left, and Ivan Hrushka share their war memories in their home village of Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. Nearly two dozen civilians, primarily women and children, were slaughtered in Pidhaitsi. Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time. Heorhiy Syvyi was a 9-year-old boy when troops swarmed into town on Dec. 3 and managed to flee with his father and hide in a shelter covered with branches. His mother and 4-year-old brother were killed. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The June 3, 1944 photo provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum shows Heinrich Himmler, centre,  SS Reichsfuehrer-SS, head of the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS, and Minister of the Interior of Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1945, as he reviews troops of the Galician SS-Volunteer Infantry Division   Michael Karkoc  a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. Michael Karkoc became a member of the Galician division after the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion was incorporated into it near the end of the war. (AP photo/ U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Atlantic Foto Verlag Berlin)

    The June 3, 1944 photo provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum shows Heinrich Himmler, centre, SS Reichsfuehrer-SS, head of the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS, and Minister of the Interior of Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1945, as he reviews troops of the Galician SS-Volunteer Infantry Division Michael Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. Michael Karkoc became a member of the Galician division after the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion was incorporated into it near the end of the war. (AP photo/ U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Atlantic Foto Verlag Berlin) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The photo taken  June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the header of  Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois.  The petition was granted.  Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.  (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    The photo taken June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the header of Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois. The petition was granted. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The photo taken June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the oath of allegiance on Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois.  The petition was granted.  Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    The photo taken June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the oath of allegiance on Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois. The petition was granted. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) Purchase photo reprints »

  •  In this picture taken May 10, 2013, a monument pays tribute to civilians who were burned alive during WWII in Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. The monument reads: “To our parents, wives, children, who were murdered by the German occupants on December 3, 1943 in Pidhaitsi. 21 people, including 9 children.” Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    In this picture taken May 10, 2013, a monument pays tribute to civilians who were burned alive during WWII in Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. The monument reads: “To our parents, wives, children, who were murdered by the German occupants on December 3, 1943 in Pidhaitsi. 21 people, including 9 children.” Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) Purchase photo reprints »

  • In this picture taken May 10, 2013, Ivan Hrushka, 69, approaches the site of a peasant house - under trees in the distance on the right - where 21 people, including nine children were burned alive  on Dec.3, 1943, in his home village of Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre of civilians . There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    In this picture taken May 10, 2013, Ivan Hrushka, 69, approaches the site of a peasant house - under trees in the distance on the right - where 21 people, including nine children were burned alive on Dec.3, 1943, in his home village of Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre of civilians . There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) Purchase photo reprints »

  •  In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to  a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990.  Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.  (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)
  • This undated reproduction shows a page of Michael Karkoc's 1949 U.S. Army intelligence file that AP had declassified by the U.S. National Archives in Maryland through a Freedom of Information Act request. Officials note in the document that Karkoc told them he performed no military service during the war; working for his father until 1944 and in a labor camp from 1944 to 45. Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo)
  •  In this picture taken May 10, 2013, Heorhiy Syvyi, 78, left, and Ivan Hrushka share their war memories in their home village of Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk.  Nearly two dozen civilians, primarily women and children, were slaughtered in Pidhaitsi.  Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time. Heorhiy Syvyi was a 9-year-old boy when troops swarmed into town on Dec. 3 and managed to flee with his father and hide in a shelter covered with branches. His mother and 4-year-old brother were killed.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • The June 3, 1944 photo provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum shows Heinrich Himmler, centre,  SS Reichsfuehrer-SS, head of the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS, and Minister of the Interior of Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1945, as he reviews troops of the Galician SS-Volunteer Infantry Division   Michael Karkoc  a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. Michael Karkoc became a member of the Galician division after the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion was incorporated into it near the end of the war. (AP photo/ U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Atlantic Foto Verlag Berlin)
  • The photo taken  June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the header of  Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois.  The petition was granted.  Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.  (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
  • The photo taken June 3, 2013 in Chicago shows the oath of allegiance on Michael Karkoc's petition for naturalization obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Illinois.  The petition was granted.  Karkoc a top commander whose Nazi SS-led unit is blamed for burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
  •  In this picture taken May 10, 2013, a monument pays tribute to civilians who were burned alive during WWII in Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. The monument reads: “To our parents, wives, children, who were murdered by the German occupants on December 3, 1943 in Pidhaitsi. 21 people, including 9 children.” Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • In this picture taken May 10, 2013, Ivan Hrushka, 69, approaches the site of a peasant house - under trees in the distance on the right - where 21 people, including nine children were burned alive  on Dec.3, 1943, in his home village of Pidhaitsi close to Ukraine's western city of Lutsk. Evidence uncovered by AP indicates that Ukrainian Self Defense Legion commander Michael Karkoc's unit was in the area at the time of the massacre of civilians . There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

BERLIN — An Associated Press investigation has found that a commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of atrocities has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II.

Records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request show that Michael Karkoc lied to American authorities to get into the country.

Eyewitness accounts confirm the Ukrainian company he commanded burned down villages filled with women and children, and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene as company leader. No records show he had a direct hand in atrocities.

The U.S. Department of Justice has used lies in immigration papers to deport dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals.

Karkoc refused to discuss his wartime past at his home in Minneapolis.

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