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Continued: My father, Michael Karkoc, is not a war criminal

  • Article by: ANDRIJ KARKOC
  • Last update: July 13, 2013 - 6:11 PM

AP searched for evidence on two continents. Reporters located documents in Polish archives, German archives and American archives. They contacted the Polish, German and U.S. governments even before their story was published. They found Soviet witnesses, German sources and Polish evidence.

And after all that international travel, after searching in all those dusty archives, after obtaining all those “secret” documents — the Associated Press was forced to admit that “records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes …”!

Unfortunately, this inconvenient truth didn’t prevent AP from charging that “statements” and “documents” confirm “the company he commanded massacred civilians” and suggest that “Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities.”

Which is it, Associated Press? It can’t be both.

Only one man, Teodozy Dak, was ever tried on such charges. In 1972, based on “witnesses,” “statements” and “evidence” produced by the Soviet government, Dak was convicted in a Polish communist court for his alleged war-crimes. But even if the credibility of that trial were unquestionable, it is entirely irrelevant. There is no record that Karkoc had a hand in any war crimes. His name has never appeared before. It did not appear at the Dak show trial in Poland 41 ago, and it has never appeared since — until the accusations made by Associated Press.

• • •

Germany, Italy, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Latvia and Lithuania all had Nazi-collaborationist governments or parties. Yet today, none of them warrant war-crime investigations or prosecutions. The German government even granted amnesty to convicted former Nazis living in East Germany at the time of German reunification. Apparently, there are no more war criminals available in the countries that perpetrated the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust.

There was never a collaborationist government or party in Ukraine. There were only millions of the Nazis’ victims. My father wasn’t a “top-commander of Nazi-SS led unit.” He was a freedom fighter leading others who, like him, were willing to lay down their lives for freedom. He was a partisan guerrilla, an anti-Nazi and anti-Communist Ukrainian nationalist. According to AP, in Ukraine “such men are today largely seen as national heroes who fought for the country against the Soviet Union” and enjoy an “exalted status.”

Which is it, Associated Press? It can’t be both.

The only “evidence” AP uncovered about my father’s wartime activities comes from his own memoirs. In them he describes service in the German army, and talks about why and how he deserted. He describes his motivation and role in defending his native Ukraine by joining the Legion of Self-Defense. He describes his participation in negotiations to “collaborate” with the Germans while holding a live grenade in his coat pocket. He describes his travel to Warsaw and the armistice negotiated between the Legion and the Polish underground. He describes his journey at the end of the war, and the surrender by the 1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army to the U.S. military.

Most importantly, his memoir is dedicated to the memory of family, friends and fellow countrymen whose hopes for freedom and independence were destroyed, and who died during the horrors of war, from fratricide, or as sacrifices to the terror of Nazi and Communist occupation. It describes an incredible story of survival, death, life, luck, his faith in God, his devotion to family and his undying love for Ukraine.

My father is not a criminal, and never was. He is a hero, who by the grace of God managed to survive the unimaginable.

So far, the only thing Associated Press has “proved” is that everything Michael Karkoc wrote in his memoir is true. My father did nothing wrong. He never lied. And he’s not afraid of the truth.

Sadly, the same cannot be said about the Associated Press.

 ------

Andrij Karkoc lives in Minneapolis.

 

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