In July, weeks after Karkoc’s commanding role in the SS-led Legion was revealed, Karkos questioned the statements from men in his father’s unit and comments in his father’s memoir suggesting he was at the scene. He was cited by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as saying his father told him he was not in Chlaniow when the killings took place, and wrote in a letter to the same newspaper that his father was no war criminal.
“There is no record that Karkoc had a hand in any war crimes,” Karkos wrote. “He did nothing wrong. He never lied. He’s not afraid of the truth.”
Stephen Paskey, who led Nazi investigations for nine years as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations, said the Sharko testimony is highly credible and should bolster cases in Germany and Poland to launch prosecutions against Karkoc. He noted that Sharko did not appear to be in custody or under investigation at the time of his questioning, and that many of his statements are confirmed by historical documents.
“I see no reason to doubt that is what (Sharko) said and that it was said without any pressure,” said Paskey, now a law professor at the SUNY Buffalo Law School. “And that’s exactly the sort of thing that would help persuade a judge that it’s credible — that there’s other evidence to corroborate the other things that he said. ... There’s no indication in the Soviet statement that the guy they were interviewing had a motive to lie.”
Following the initial report, both German and Polish prosecutors opened investigations into whether to charge Karkoc with war crimes, based on the fact he had “command responsibility” for his unit when it committed massacres. Karkoc was a founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later an officer in the SS Galician Division.