It may come as a surprise to people whose families were untouched by the Holocaust or World War II in general that Holocaust survivors and WW-II Allies’ veterans are not the only ones leaving this earth as they reach old age. The others–a notorious group–are the perpetrators of death and suffering, who are disappearing from the earth without having been punished for their monstrous deeds. One such example appears in this morning’s newspapers:
MINNEAPOLIS – The news that the former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has been living in Minneapolis for decades is an especially startling revelation for people who lived through Nazi persecution.
Many such people still live in Minnesota, where 94-year-old Michael Karkoc has lived a quiet life in the decades since he served in the Ukrainian Self-Defense Legion. An AP investigation found that Karkoc lied about his military background when immigrating to the United States.
Today, there are still hundreds of murderers like Karkoc. Most people believe that all Nazis who operated death, concentration, slave-labor, and POW camps were Germans. Not so. Like Karkoc, hordes of Nazi sympathizers of other nationalities participated willingly and enthusiastically. It is also a common belief that those perpetrators who escaped justice after the war remained in Europe and melted into the general population. Again, not so. Many found refuge in North and South America. Hundreds found it relatively easy to lie about their backgrounds and to enter the US, where they have led quiet lives and raised families. Some are our neighbors.
One might ask: why prosecute a 94-year-old man like Kukoc? The answer is simple: because it is the right thing to do.