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His son said Karkoc was conscripted, “dragooned is another word,” into the German army at that time when he was around 20. He had tried fleeing when the Nazis occupied Ukraine in the early-1940s and wound up forced into the German Army.
“It wasn’t voluntary, he didn’t even speak German,” he son said. “If you want to live, you sign up.”
A year after he was forced to join the German Army, Karkoc told his son he witnessed horrors at a German prison camp. That so disgusted him, Karkoc deserted and joined the Ukrainian underground as a freedom fighter. When the Germans learned of his defection, they executed 13 residents of his village, his son said.
How his father has gone from a victim of Nazi persecution to an alleged conspirator angers and mystifies his son.
“Any person that is killed unjustly deserves justice,” Andrij Karkoc said. “And if there is evidence or if we can ascertain that a crime has been committed then, by all means, justice should be served, But after 70 years, just because you’re pining for justice doesn’t mean that you can manufacture guilty parties and that’s what’s being done.”
Curt Brown • 612-673-4767