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Nazi in the heartland.
June 14, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Nazi SS commander living in Minnesota
"A top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press."
posted by edgeways (78 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
In a background check by U.S. officials on April 14, 1949, Karkoc said he had never performed any military service, telling investigators that he "worked for father until 1944. Worked in labor camp from 1944 until 1945."

However, in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc states that he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943 in collaboration with the Nazis' feared SS intelligence agency, the SD, to fight on the side of Germany -- and served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war.


"Some of the stupidest criminals in the world are working right here in America. I've always been very proud of that." - Josiah Bartlet
posted by Etrigan at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I hate Minnesota Nazis.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:05 AM on June 14, 2013 [27 favorites]


(waves hand)
"I am a Carpenter, you don't need to see my papers"
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think the SS controlled the SD.
posted by thelonius at 8:07 AM on June 14, 2013


I don't think the SS controlled the SD.

Why not?
Sicherheitsdienst (English: Security Service), full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS, or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. The organization was the first Nazi Party intelligence organization to be established and was often considered a "sister organization" with the Gestapo, which the SS had infiltrated heavily after 1934. Between 1933 and 1939, the SD was administered as an independent SS office, after which it was transferred to the authority of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt, or RSHA), as one of its seven departments/offices.
posted by Jahaza at 8:10 AM on June 14, 2013


I remember my high school history teaching telling us that he went to a museum in Eastern Europe/Russia (I believe it was the Ukraine but don't remember for sure) and was shown uniforms worn by great local patriots during the war. They were SS uniforms.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:13 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah... OK... perhaps I understand. The SD was "independent" of the SS after 1939? I'm not sure this really matters. The article further says that the SD was "under the dual command of the RSHA and local SS and Police Leaders."
posted by Jahaza at 8:14 AM on June 14, 2013


I don't really think we should be hunting down people from a war that has ended a long time ago. There's enough new problem-causers causing problems. To open the history books, find a pensioner, and act like we are victorious seems incredibly flip and self-congratulatory.
posted by rebent at 8:17 AM on June 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


I agree, if the SS got in the SDs' way, there would be hell to pay. I.E. Heydrich, if fact he amassed so much independent power the british saw fit to whack him.
posted by clavdivs at 8:18 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another Nazi accounting document uncovered by the AP in the Polish National Archives in Krakow lists Karkoc by name -- including his rank, birthdate and hometown -- as one of 219 "members of the S.M.d.S.-Batl 31 who were in Warsaw," using the German abbreviation for the Self Defense Legion.

The AP actually did some decent investigating.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:19 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, he more-than-likely directed soldiers to murder innocent people. On the other hand, speaking as someone who has never served in the military, is that not what commander-type people in the military DO? In ANY military that is in an active conflict or war situation? Isn't there always the possibility of innocents getting injured or displaced or killed? Is that not war itself?

And the crimes, as atrocious as they are, were committed 70+ years ago. I understand the desire for justice for justice's sake, but dude is going to die relatively soon of natural causes anyway just because he is so old already.

I am not condoning the Nazis or what happened in WWII. Or this man's alleged actions at that time. I just don't know what resolution will really be had by prosecuting this elderly man.
posted by jillithd at 8:19 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think I wouldn't be photographed for newspaper articles if I was a war criminal.
posted by SkinnerSan at 8:20 AM on June 14, 2013


Efraim Zuroff, the lead Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem

Now that must be a satisfying job.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:22 AM on June 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


On the one hand, he more-than-likely directed soldiers to murder innocent people. On the other hand, speaking as someone who has never served in the military, is that not what commander-type people in the military DO?

It's not really a job requirement, no.

Isn't there always the possibility of innocents getting injured or displaced or killed?

There's a distinct difference between that and "Burn that village. No survivors." Intent is a huge factor in war crimes trials.
posted by Etrigan at 8:24 AM on June 14, 2013 [27 favorites]


On the other hand, speaking as someone who has never served in the military, is that not what commander-type people in the military DO?

There is a distinction between the purposeful killing of civilians in war versus the inadvertent killing of civilians in combat while in pursuit of legitimate military aims.

It's delinieated in great depth in the Geneva Conventions.

To blur that line is a vile slander against military veterans who have stayed on the right side of it.
posted by ocschwar at 8:25 AM on June 14, 2013 [52 favorites]


I don't really have a good ideal what should be done about the fellow, but thought it was an interesting story in of itself
posted by edgeways at 8:29 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


He took part in the murder of civilians and has never been punished. Given that he seems to have good health in body and mind, he's still a candidate for prosecution.
posted by Jehan at 8:30 AM on June 14, 2013 [34 favorites]


And the crimes, as atrocious as they are, were committed 70+ years ago. I understand the desire for justice for justice's sake, but dude is going to die relatively soon of natural causes anyway just because he is so old already.

It's the principle that counts. Even if he dies of natural causes five minutes after setting foot in court, he did not manage to escape justice. It makes a huge difference in terms of the example set, to those seeking justice against great odds for crimes committed, and to those who might be contemplating whether or not to follow immoral orders.
posted by acb at 8:33 AM on June 14, 2013 [45 favorites]


Efraim Zuroff, the lead Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem

Now that must be a satisfying job.


When you catch and prosecute one of those motherfuckers? Hell yeah.

Given that he seems to have good health in body and mind, he's still a candidate for prosecution.

Damn right.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:34 AM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, one problem with the article is that it describes the Iron Cross as "a Nazi award for bravery". Obviously Iron Crosses awarded in WW2 were Nazi awards, but Iron Crosses overall have been issued by various German governments since the Napoleonic Wars.
posted by Jehan at 8:34 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's a war criminal in the US. Isn't it standard procedure to be looking forward, and not backwards?
posted by indubitable at 8:38 AM on June 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


There is a distinction between the purposeful killing of civilians in war versus the inadvertent killing of civilians in combat while in pursuit of legitimate military aims.

I'm sure the dead appreciate that distinction.
posted by JackFlash at 8:42 AM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


JackFlash: "I'm sure the dead appreciate that distinction."

Being dead, I am pretty sure that they are the only ones who do not appreciate it. I know nothing about the nuremberg trials but I think that whatever is done to this man should be done in accordance with them.
posted by rebent at 8:46 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I found this to be the most significant and discouraging line in the article: "But Karkoc would be unlikely to be tried in his native Ukraine, where such men are today largely seen as national heroes who fought for the country against the Soviet Union."
posted by Slothrup at 8:47 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, speaking as someone who has never served in the military, is that not what commander-type people in the military DO?

As someone who served in the military, no, no it is not. It is a violation of the Law of War and of all human decency, and you have a duty to refuse such orders.

Or in other words, fuck that guy.
posted by corb at 8:48 AM on June 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Efraim Zuroff, the lead Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem

Now that must be a satisfying job.


One that will be closed down in a few years as old men die off, hopefully to never have anything like it be instated in the future.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:00 AM on June 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't really think we should be hunting down people from a war that has ended a long time ago. There's enough new problem-causers causing problems. To open the history books, find a pensioner, and act like we are victorious seems incredibly flip and self-congratulatory.

I used to think this way, but now I realize that it is the principle of the thing-- the idea that if you commit heinous crimes, especially war crimes, you will never be safe from being called to account. There's not going to be a statute of limitations on the matter: everyone has to answer for what they've done, not just those who got caught up in the initial post-war sweep for criminals. It fulfills our inner need not just for legal justice but our perception of "fairness." You don't get to do a bunch of horrible things and then settle into a comfortable retirement just because you didn't get tracked down within 10 years.

The only caveat I have here is that it is not really a deterrant -- most people don't have the kind of executive function to think, "gee, if I do this in a time of war, 50 years from now I might get caught, even if I get away with it for now." But who knows? Maybe if the pattern is set, perceptions might change in the long term.
posted by deanc at 9:01 AM on June 14, 2013 [20 favorites]


One that will be closed down in a few years as old men die off, hopefully to never have anything like it be instated in the future.

“Nazi vampire hunter” may still be open, however.
posted by acb at 9:02 AM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]



The only caveat I have here is that it is not really a deterrant -- most people don't have the kind of executive function to think, "gee, if I do this in a time of war, 50 years from now I might get caught, even if I get away with it for now." But who knows? Maybe if the pattern is set, perceptions might change in the long term.


Or even, “if I do this, I will always be a fugitive, forever looking over my shoulder and breaking out in a cold sweat whenever someone looks at me for a moment too long”. The uncertainty of being hunted could be a greater deterrent than the certainty of prison.
posted by acb at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


deanc: I used to think this way, but now I realize that it is the principle of the thing-- the idea that if you commit heinous crimes, especially war crimes, you will never be safe from being called to account.

Has any winning side of a war ever been held to account for war crimes? I can't recall anybody but losers of conflicts in those tribunal docks.
posted by dr_dank at 9:09 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]



There is a distinction between the purposeful killing of civilians in war versus the inadvertent killing of civilians in combat while in pursuit of legitimate military aims.

I'm sure the dead appreciate that distinction.


The distinction is there for the benefit of those living in areas where armed combat is going on.
posted by ocschwar at 9:09 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


You don't get to do a bunch of horrible things and then settle into a comfortable retirement just because you didn't get tracked down within 10 years.

The problem is that you very much do get to do that - the ICC isn't allowed to prosecute retrospectively. I feel that one standard of justice should be applied to all war criminals, regardless of the fame of their crimes or the power of their victims.

The uncertainty of being hunted could be a greater deterrent than the certainty of prison.

Punishment as deterrence does not work for average criminals. Why would it work for these sociopaths?
posted by forgetful snow at 9:10 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I would hate for the precedent to be set of, 'Sure, he's a murderer, but he's gotten away with it so far - why not let it go?'

I don't care how futile it seems to be - I think this requires prosecution.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:11 AM on June 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


Buy him a ticket on a rail car, or perhaps a day treatment in a spa facility. A trip to the dentist for a tooth extraction perhaps? Some time with some family photos; so he can hold on to the moment forever.
Yeah, got no love.
posted by buzzman at 9:12 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]



Punishment as deterrence does not work for average criminals.


Despite have large supplies of sarin at his disposal, Bashar al Assad so far has been too scared to use them in the conventional way (air drop in large amounts to kill all personnel in a large area) and so has only used them where he might maintain plausible deniability.

Which is why chemical weapons casualty numbers in Syria has been low thus far.

The punitive mechanisms of the laws of war are far from perfect, but they do have an effect.
posted by ocschwar at 9:13 AM on June 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


If the case turns out to be solid, prosecute him, with the full awareness that war-era documentation isn't always perfect, and neither are the memories of events that happened 70+ years ago. The prosecution(s) of Ivan Demjanjuk demonstrated some of the problems with cases against alleged Nazi war criminals.
posted by immlass at 9:15 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has any winning side of a war ever been held to account for war crimes? I can't recall anybody but losers of conflicts in those tribunal docks.

A few Bosnian Muslims have been prosecuted for war crimes against Serbs. But that's recent, and I think it is part of the structure of the ICC-- the idea that there is a permanent tribunal in place that prosecutes war crimes in general, not a "victors' tribunal" that gets convened after the war to call the criminals on the losing side to account.
posted by deanc at 9:25 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm sure the dead appreciate that distinction.

Granted that war is always terrible and we should all try to make sure that it doesn't happen at all, surely the objective outcome of just throwing our hands in the air and saying "All soldiers are murderers anyway, what's the point of making distinctions?" is more dead civilians when wars do happen.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:26 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have a friend who's father was a Nazi soldier. He is German. His father is long dead.
His father didn't vote for the Nazi's. He did't support the Nazi's. But he was literally forced to join and do what they wanted out of fear of having his whole family being shot.
He wasn't alone. There were many men who were forced to do things they wouldn't have done themselves to save their families. Does that make it right? No. Should they instead have joined others in fighting the Nazi's. Sure. But when that gun is to your head, or worse yet, your mothers and children's, and you've already been brainwashed about patriotic duty and country...that becomes much harder.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:26 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the case turns out to be solid, prosecute him, with the full awareness that war-era documentation isn't always perfect, and neither are the memories of events that happened 70+ years ago.

If someone says, "I joined a division of the SS", I'm going to take his word for it, absent clear evidence that he's lying.

I have a friend who's father was a Nazi soldier. He is German. His father is long dead.

There's a difference between being a member of the military of Nazi Germany and joining the Nazi party and joining the SS. And war crimes tribunals and US immigration policy make a distinction between the two.
posted by deanc at 9:28 AM on June 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Northeast Minneapolis where this dude lived for 60+ years is a heavily Germanic/Eastern European neighborhood, known for dilapidated old breweries and sausage shops. It has tons of retirees, many of whom are first or second generation immigrants from Europe. Ironically it also has a lot of Jewish people -- at the time the guy moved there, it was probably a mostly Jewish area. These days it is rapidly gentrifying and filling up with hipsters.
posted by miyabo at 9:30 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has any winning side of a war ever been held to account for war crimes? I can't recall anybody but losers of conflicts in those tribunal docks.
No, but sometimes they have been treated equally. Both Karl Dönitz and Otto Skorzeny escape prosecution for some of their wartime deeds because it was shown that Allied personnel had done the same that they were accused of. So even though the winners weren't willing to prosecute their own men, they at least were willing to not prosecute the losers for same crimes.
There's a difference between being a member of the military of Nazi Germany and joining the Nazi party and joining the SS. And war crimes tribunals and US immigration policy make a distinction between the two.
Not after a certain date. By the end of the war the SS including forced conscripts and not only volunteers. Famously Günter Grass.
posted by Jehan at 9:31 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes there is a difference. But in all reality the Nazi's fought against their own people just as much as they fought against the rest of the world.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:32 AM on June 14, 2013


rebent: "I don't really think we should be hunting down people from a war that has ended a long time ago. There's enough new problem-causers causing problems. To open the history books, find a pensioner, and act like we are victorious seems incredibly flip and self-congratulatory."

There's no statute of limitations on war crimes, is there?

jillithd: "On the one hand, he more-than-likely directed soldiers to murder innocent people. On the other hand, speaking as someone who has never served in the military, is that not what commander-type people in the military DO?"

I vas jeest following orders.
posted by brundlefly at 9:32 AM on June 14, 2013


I guess this somehow proves those wiretaps are paying off!
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:33 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seems to me this is an immigration issue - entered the US under false conditions, when he should have been barred.

Send him back to face his past. No statute of limitations on his responsibility.

As an aside, Ukraine in the 30s-40s was a special kind of hell in which Soviets perished a third of the population through forced collectivisation/famine, when not sending off Kulaks to the gulag.

Then the anti-soviet reactionary element allied with the Nazis and became passionate fascists. The Ukrainian Nazis committed some of the most heinous war crimes outside of the camps.

Not much room to survive, let alone thrive, anywhere in the middle in the Ukraine.
posted by C.A.S. at 9:49 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is a distinction between the purposeful killing of civilians in war versus the inadvertent killing of civilians in combat while in pursuit of legitimate military aims.

I agree. So which of those describes Dresden or the firebombing of Tokyo? Hiroshima?
But yeah, prosecute this guy and find out for sure what his war crimes were and punish him accordingly.
posted by rocket88 at 10:00 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


So which of those describes Dresden or the firebombing of Tokyo? Hiroshima?

"Both Karl Dönitz and Otto Skorzeny escape prosecution for some of their wartime deeds because it was shown that Allied personnel had done the same that they were accused of. So even though the winners weren't willing to prosecute their own men, they at least were willing to not prosecute the losers for same crimes. "

Cities contained factories important to the war efford, and so carpet bombing by both sides was deemed legitimate, although in hindsight also deemed useless.
posted by ocschwar at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Normally, I'm pretty wary of prosecutions of extremely old folks for things that happened a lifetime ago. But given that we are legitimately talking about One of the Worst Things That Ever Happened EVER, I'm pretty comfortable with the statute of limitations being extended until the day the very last of the bastards draws his final breath.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:06 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's also screwed up about this ordeal is that other news outlets (which I don't want to link to) published his address and photos of his house. I actually saw one in an unrelated Facebook group I subscribe to - so instead of being tried in a court of law, he gets to be tried by internet vigilantes. I'm disappointed (yet unsurprised) that the gravity of the crimes he's accused of committing has already made him guilty.
posted by antonymous at 10:15 AM on June 14, 2013


There's a difference between being a member of the military of Nazi Germany and joining the Nazi party and joining the SS. And war crimes tribunals and US immigration policy make a distinction between the two.

For a Ukrainian at that time joining the regular German army was not possible. If one wanted to join the Nazis in fighting the Bolsheviks (what a fun coin-toss that would be) the only choice in town was the Waffen-SS "Galician" Division. This is not to say that Karkoc did not order or take part in any atrocities, only that the "choice" to join a Waffen-SS division is not an automatic indication some kind of criminal intent.

I think the U.S. is likely to deport him. Since he did not accurately divulge his military history when entering the country it makes it straightforward, and without necessitating a trial. It will then be up to Germany or Poland or whoever to try him.
posted by Kabanos at 10:31 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


But given that we are legitimately talking about One of the Worst Things That Ever Happened EVER

The actual war crime, which he should of course be prosecuted for, was the massacre of 60+ civilians in Poland.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:38 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I found this to be the most significant and discouraging line in the article: "But Karkoc would be unlikely to be tried in his native Ukraine, where such men are today largely seen as national heroes who fought for the country against the Soviet Union."

Would he fall into the jurisdiction of any other countries? Like, say, Germany or Israel?
posted by acb at 10:45 AM on June 14, 2013


Right before that line it says: "The current deputy head of that office, Thomas Will, said there is no indication that Karkoc had ever been investigated by Germany. Based on the AP's evidence, he said he is now interested in gathering information that could possibly result in prosecution.

Prosecution in Poland may also be a possibility because most of the unit's alleged crimes were against Poles on Polish territory."
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:48 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given the guy's own admissions and the evidence of the unjust slaughters, I struggle how anyone could take the position that prosecution should not occur. Sure, maybe he can defend himself and ultimately prevail, but he should at least be prosecuted. But it sure looks like probable cause exists, and if you are not going to prosecute such people, then the law has no purpose.

Obscuring the issue by interjecting Chomsky-starter-kit innuendo about the war crimes of Amerikka is disappointing and derailing. This is about a person who deserves to be subjected to at least prosecution and any person who believes in the concept of justice cannot readily dispute that. That's the only issue on the table here.
posted by dios at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


If you are unhappy that justice has not been served in every crime, you do not help further your cause by suggesting we fail to pursue justice at all.
posted by samofidelis at 10:58 AM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other here, but holy shit there are a lot of fnords in this article. Both on the photo caption, as well as the photo gallery captions, the fact that he was accused of burning villages (filled with women and children... which is odd, usually villages are filled with cheese) as an SS commander is pasted in. In the gallery, it jarringly comes mid-paragraph.

There's also no current photo of him. Are we that afraid of someone having compassion for a former Nazi? Why?
posted by maus at 11:15 AM on June 14, 2013


If the Ukranian attitude towards those who fought against the Soviets is as others in this thread have described, it seems the best bet for him is probably to just go there of his own accord.

OTOH, is he even a citizen of Ukraine? The US as a general policy doesn't deport people if doing so would make them a stateless person, and Ukraine didn't exist as a country until 1991, and presumably Karkoc wasn't a citizen of the Soviet Union which held the territory prior to that. It is possible, if he doesn't have a citizenship anywhere but the US at this point, that there's nowhere to deport him to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:15 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pruitt-Igoe: "The actual war crime, which he should of course be prosecuted for, was the massacre of 60+ civilians in Poland."

I was speaking more broadly of Nazi atrocities in general. There are smaller barrels into which we can sort this set of crimes, but given how it's being framed and how people are reacting to it, my point would be the same either way.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:30 AM on June 14, 2013


Point taken, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:40 AM on June 14, 2013


Chomsky-starter-kit

Contents include: posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Of course he should be prosecuted. Until that old business is out of the way, we're never going to get around to prosecuting Cheney and crew for their crimes.
posted by fredludd at 1:05 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nazis who participated and/or instigated atrocities should be prosecuted for said acts, no matter how old they are or how long ago they enacted their heinous crimes. To say otherwise is idiotic, frankly. I mean....... Karkoc has admitted his hands are dirty. The guy’s a criminal. I hope he gets prosecuted to the absolute and fullest extent possible under law.
posted by but no cigar at 2:03 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Better late than never.
posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


He should be prosecuted. You don't get to get away with war crimes just because you have a senior citizens bus pass.
posted by arcticseal at 6:30 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what, I'm comfortable with there being no statute of limitations for organized mass murder.
posted by ostro at 7:30 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, why does the guy being very elderly have any bearing at all on how we should treat him? That's an honest question. Elderly people evoke compassion because they're vulnerable in many ways, but if they're mentally competent to stand trial (which obviously needs to be assessed), why does it matter?
posted by ostro at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look at that Super Power! Shiny! Sparkling even! They presecute Nazi War Criminals (TM), no matter how old! (assuming crimes are committed under flags other than the USA, and only in prior centuries. Conditions may apply, see Obama for details)
posted by Goofyy at 8:34 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


rocket88 So which of those describes Dresden or the firebombing of Tokyo? Hiroshima?

Robert McNamara in Fog of War:

"[USAAF Maj. Gen. Curtis] LeMay said, 'If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals.' [For the firebombing of Tokyo and several other Japanese cities] And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost."
posted by mlis at 11:02 AM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chomsky-starter-kit innuendo
Aww, I Amazon just shipped mine...

“I'm sure the dead appreciate that distinction.”


Oh, right, sorry. We’ll just leave your government to the genocide then? As soon as they eradicate all their ethic enemies, we’ll have a target rich environment with no collateral damage so we can fire at will.


“It's the principle that counts. Even if he dies of natural causes five minutes after setting foot in court, he did not manage to escape justice.”

True. But to be fair, he lived in Minnesota. Michelle Bachman. Jesse Ventura. Crazy signless road traffic/DUI-arama. Blizzards. Mosquitoes. Bizarro Canada version of politeness that comes off as passive aggression. Funky hunting laws (you have to specifically remove gall bladders from bear) Lousy beer, worse fresh fruit, complete dearth of ethnic food apart from Germanic/norwegian or middle American.

Prosecuted sure, but he should get 10 years knocked off for enduring ludefisk alone.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:03 PM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


"If he was the commander of a unit that carried out atrocities, that's a no brainer," Zuroff said. "Even in Germany ... if the guy was the commander of the unit, then even if they can't show he personally pulled the trigger, he bears responsibility."

Plenty of war crimes on the Allied side. Not just Dresden et.al. but deliberate execution of POWs.
The Dachau reprisals for example were deliberate. Bullets from guns have much more intent behind them than bombs from (then) planes.
Although killing death camp guards isn't exactly an unsympathetic crime. You see what the guards had been doing there, I can see the anger leading to that kind of crime. Been there myself. Didn't commit a war crime, but I'm not unsympathetic to the rage. Still, it's intolerable to act on it.
So what happened at Canicatti, say, as a more pure example of a war crime - deliberately firing on unarmed civilians.

Regardless of where this guy is now, how old he is, etc. he should be on the hook for it if he did in fact participate in or have command responsibility during an atrocity.

While I am not sure of the facts with this guy, those who lawfully and honorably fight war are done an injustice if any war criminal is let walk.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:29 PM on June 15, 2013


I live three blocks away from him. I have no value to add to this thread, I just find it weird that there's a Nazi living on the other side of Broadway.
posted by machaus at 1:48 PM on June 15, 2013


At least he's not an Illinois Nazi. I hate those guys.
posted by codswallop at 1:58 PM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dump his ass in Tel Aviv and stand back with popcorn.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:40 AM on June 16, 2013


This guy wasn't rounding up Jews. He spent most of the war fighting the soviets in the Ukraine. At one point he was ordered to liquidate some villages in Poland, and we know that his troops did so.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:31 PM on June 16, 2013


I'd be very surprised if the Israelis care.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:53 PM on June 16, 2013


Poland checking files on Nazi unit commander
posted by jillithd at 7:53 AM on June 18, 2013


There Could Be ‘Hundreds’ of Nazi War Criminals Still Living in the United States
posted by homunculus at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2013


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