Polish MP Tomasz Rzymkowski announces interpellation in Karkoć’s case: “this matter is urgent”

– All indications are that the person identified by the journalists, including Kresy.pl web-portal, and a British researcher, is the one we are looking for. Laying charges and indicting Karkoc would potentially give satisfaction to all victims of an alleged Waffen-SS war criminal, the Ukrainian who collaborated with the Third Reich – says Polish MP Tomasz Rzymkowski (Kukiz’15), speaking with Kresy.pl. He also announced the submission of an interpellation on the issue to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

As reported earlier,Polish investigators will apply a new method that can confirm the identity of the Waffen-SS officer Mykhailo Karkoć, alleged to be responsible for the murder of dozens of Poles during World War II. Today, he lives in Minneapolis as Michael Karkoć and is a US citizen. In 2013, his case was described extensively by journalists of the Associated Press but now, thanks to the joint efforts Kresów.pl and British Holocaust researcher Dr. Stephen Ankier, Poland has a chance to provide justice for the victims of this alleged Ukrainian criminal. What is facial recognition and comparative imagery analysis using photographs?

Can photographs discover the truth? Investigators will use a new method to confirm the identity of the alleged Ukrainian criminal

According to Mr Thomas Rzymkowski, Polish MP (Kukiz’15), we are dealing with an unique situation. – We have found one of the last living members of the criminal organisation of the Waffen-SS, recognised by the international community as a genocide organisation and forbidden in international law– Rzymkowski said in an interview with Kresy.pl.

Facial recognition and comparative imagery analysis using photographs will be used by experts of the Forensic Laboratory of the Police Headquarters in Lublin. However, the Lublin Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation, who consulted experts, rejected the idea that this technique can help identify a person, due to the process of aging. However, according to our information, there is a good chance that a picture from 1940 can successfully be compared with more modern photographs. In particular, the photograph of Michael Karkoć with his brother is important because it had previously been published as coming from the family archive of Michael Karkoć himself, and was described by his son Andrej as being his own father.

Polish investigators are working to confirm the identity of the alleged Ukrainian criminal

However, according to unofficial information obtained by Kresy.pl, due to their already heavy current workload, the experts will not be able to perform the analysis of Karkoć images for some time, and the results will be known most probably only in February 2017 year. Nevertheless, experts are aware of the importance of time in this case and, if possible, will perform the analysis earlier.

– This is a worrying situation in which the Polish authorities – I am thinking of experts associated with the police – who are considering such a long time ahead, when in fact everything should have already been processed– emphasizes the deputy Rzymkowski. – Mr. Karkoć is a person in a very advanced age. Personally, I doubt that he could stand before Polish or an international court for the crimes of which he was a potential accomplice during his lifetime– he adds. In his opinion, in the case of a positive identification, charging Karkoć would be of paramount importance:

– All indications are that the person identified by the journalists, including Kresy.pl web-portal, and a British researcher, is the one we are looking for. Laying charges and indicting Karkoc would potentially give satisfaction to all victims of an alleged Waffen-SS war criminal, the Ukrainian who collaborated with the Third Reich.

If the results of the analysis were to be known only next February, it would be a month before Karkoć’s 98th birthday. – The progress of nature cannot be stopped. At any time he could die because of his age, from all kinds of diseases, which we do not really know about. This obstruction on the part of the Polish state is a very disturbing situation – says MP Rzymkowski, who announced, that he would intervene in this matter.

– I will submit an interpellation to the Interior Ministry, asking Minister Mariusz Blaszczak if he knew about the situation and what action he will take to speed up the process. The fact is that this matter is very urgent– says Rzymkowski. – I hope that The Polish National Remembrance Institute (IPN) will expedite matters significantly when it comes to the process of extradition. It is essential that the American administration learn that this person is wanted in Poland and it is very urgent to place him in front of Polish justice– he adds.

Deputy of Kukiz’15 also recalled that a similar situations occurred several years ago in France and referred to the case of Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon” who was the head of the local Gestapo and who stood before French justice. He also pointed out that after 1989, very few Nazis or their collaborators were prosecuted by the Polish justice system. – This situation was different during the communist period, and it is different nowadays. The same applies to the communist oppressors– says Rzymkowski, drawing attention to the case of Stefan Michnik, the brother of the chief editor of “Gazeta Wyborcza”:

– A terrible mockery of the Polish judiciary and a matter of continuous remorse is the case of the brother of Adam Michnik, Stefan, who did not appear before Polish justice despite the fact that he was the prosecutor in the Stalin period and the person who has been instrumental in the death of many Polish patriots.

Read also: Polish requests to extradite alleged Ukrainian criminal – the commander of the SS involved in the pacification of the Warsaw Uprising

The current deliberations the IPN is to determine with what would it be possible to accuse Karkoć: it concerns his collaboration with the Third Reich and participation in the murder of 44 civilians in Władysławinie and Chłaniowie in the Lublin region. This took place by men he commanded.

The SS led Ukrainian Self-defense Legion was composed of Ukrainian volunteers, whose original purpose was to fight the communist insurgency in the German-occupied Ukraine and the Home Army in Poland. In 1945, the Legion, also known under the German name of the official 31. Schutzmannschafts-Bataillon der SD, was merged into the Ukrainian SS Division Galicia. Finally, its members were taken captive by the Americans.

Karkoć, using the pseudonym Wolf or Wołk, fought first in the Legion and then in the SS Galicia Division as an officer. The Polish National Remembrance Institute possess files on Karkoć and his name appears on payrolls of the Legion – with a last payment recorded on 8th January 1945 r. in Krakow. He was the commander of the 2nd company of the Legion, which according to statements made after the war, carried out the pacification of villages in the Lublin region on 23rd July 1944 in retaliation for the killing by the AK of a German liaison officer. The brutal action killed 44 residents in Chłaniów and neighboring Władysławin, including children. Subsequently, in September 1944, a company unit led by Karkoć together with other members of the Legion took part in the fighting in Czerniakow during the Warsaw Uprising and in the Kampinos Forest. Later, the Legion fought in southern Poland, as well as in Slovenia, where it clashed with communist guerrillas.

After the war Karkoć sought the right to go to the USA. The US government did not give such consent to soldiers who were members of SS units. However Karkoć lied to the American authorities by stating that he did not do any military service throughout the entire war. Eventually he managed to get a visa and in 1949 he emigrated to the United States. He lived in the Ukrainian area of ​​Minneapolis, where he worked, among others, in the organisation of Americans of Ukrainian origin.

In 1995. Karkoć published his memoir, in which he admitted for the first time, that he was a soldier of the Legion and also that he joined the SS. However, he did not mention any of the massacres that were perpetrated by his unit. Moreover, Karkoć does admit in his memoir that he was with his unit in July 1944, at a time when it murdered the residents Chłaniów. In 2013, on the basis of materials collected by a British Holocaust researcher, a retired pharmacologist Dr. Stephen Ankier, the full case against Karkoc was investigated and then published by journalists of the Associated Press in 2013.

Soon after this revelation, both the Polish and German authorities started to investigate this case. It may be significant that the German prosecutor never questioned the identity of Karkoć in the States as being the same Karkoć who was in the Legion and who served as a former officer of the Waffen-SS. Moreover, at no time has Karkoć ever denied these facts.


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