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Poland seeks extradition of Minnesota man accused of Nazi war crimes

[JURIST] Poland's special prosecutors have requested the US extradite a Minnesota man accused of Nazi war crimes. Michael Karkoc, 98, is a former commander of an SS-led Nazi unit responsible for [AP report] burning Polish villages and killing civilians during World War II. The request for extradition was filed last month [Independent report] by the National Remembrance Institute (IPN) [official website]. Although records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, documentation, including his own memoirs and statements from other men in his unit, suggests he was present and supervised the atrocities. A previous attempt [Newsweek report] to extradite Karkoc to Germany was dropped when his lawyer provided documentation showing he was unfit to stand trial. According to his family, Karkoc is suffering from advance Alzheimer's disease. He denies any involvement in war crimes.

Efforts to seek justice and restitution for the victims of the Nazi Germany era are still underway, over 70 years after the close of World War II. Earlier this month the Austria Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [JURIST report] that the government seizure of the apartment complex where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler [Britannica profile] was born is constitutional. In May Romania enacted legislation [JURIST report] enabling restitution for Holocaust survivors. In November 2016 the Germany Federal Court of Justice [official website, in German] upheld [JURIST report] the conviction of former Nazi SS Officer Oskar Groening [BBC profile], known as the "accountant of Auschwitz," for his role in the deaths of over 300,000 people during the Holocaust. Two months earlier the Neubrandenburg state court in Germany started the trial of a 95-year-old former SS medic [JURIST report] who served at the Auschwitz camp. The same month a court in Kiel, Germany, ruled that a 92-year-old woman charged with Nazi crimes was unfit to stand trial [JURIST report]. Prior to 2011 German prosecutors often chose not to charge individuals they regarded as "cogs" in, rather than active members of, the Nazi war machine. The 2011 conviction [JURIST report] of former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [BBC profile] may have emboldened German prosecutors to pursue cases against all those who materially helped Nazi Germany function.

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