The Lublin District Court on Tuesday accepted the prosecutor’s request for arrest [press release] from the Institute of National Remembrance [official website] for Michael Karkoc, a US citizen who is suspected of commanding a German-led Ukrainian military unit during the second World War to massacre the rural residents of Chłaniów, Kolonia Chłaniów and Kolonia Władysławin. The prosecutor requested the arrest and the Lublin District Court ordered provisional detention for a period of three months from the date of the arrest. The man has been identified as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, who resides in Minnesota.
International courts have recently seen an increase of war crime charges against former members of the Nazi party. Last year, Reinhold Hanning, a 94-year-old former Schutzstaffel (SS) guard in the Auschwitz death camp between 1942 and 1944, apologized to Nazi victims at his trial in Detmold [JURIST report], a small town in West Germany. 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 may have emboldened German prosecutors to pursue cases against all those who materially helped Nazi Germany function. In December 2015, a German court allowed [JURIST report] the trial of a 95-year-old Auschwitz paramedic accused of being an accessory to the murder of 3,681 people at Auschwitz. The most recent person imprisoned for their role in the Holocaust was Oskar Groening. Known as the “accountant of Auschwitz,” Groening was charged [JURIST report] in September 2014 as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people. In July 2015 Groening was given a four-year jail sentence for his role at Auschwitz, a sentence he said he would appeal [JURIST reports].