331 Club in Northeast Minneapolis
by Steve Timmer
Jun 16, 2013, 10:00 AM

Standing against the wolfpack

I know Andriy Karkos; I have for years. Drinking Liberally, the social and political club that gets advertised here sometimes, meets at the 331 Club in Northeast Minneapolis; the bar is just a few blocks from Andriy’s home, and he sometimes strolls by, often being towed by a dog, or towing children, or both. He’s hardly a liberal, but he, just as the DLers themselves, likes a good political debate. He’ll often engages us in conversation; Andriy is a quick wit, but he’s always good natured about it.

I enjoy it when Andriy shows up; the others do, too, and he has great kids. If he is especially engaged in something being discussed, he’ll walk the dog or kids home and circle back to talk some more.

So, I felt some vertigo when this showed up in my twitter feed:

The photo linked in the tweet shows Andriy standing in a parking lot across the street from the 331 Club, by himself, facing a wolfpack of reporters. He was defending his father. His father is Michael Karkoc; you’ve undoubtedly heard of him by now. In the linked Strib story this morning is this:

Karkoc, a retired carpenter living in northeast Minneapolis, has received worldwide attention since the Associated Press reported Friday that he had served as an officer in a Nazi SS-led military unit responsible for burning villages and killing many civilians in the final years of the war. Although the AP reported it had not found evidence that Karkoc took a direct hand in war crimes [emphasis added], it said he had apparently [emphasis added] been present during several atrocities, including the vicious suppression of Polish nationalists by the Germans in the 1944 Warsaw uprising.

You know, it’s funny, but Judith Miller just came to mind. Strange.

Anyway, where was I?

If you tuned in to the television coverage, you were treated to tell us about the Nazi war criminal next door interviews with Karkoc’s neighbors. Several people I know found that distasteful; so did I.

Also distasteful is the idea that we are now engaged in a grim foot race with Father Time to string Michael Karkoc up before he dies on his own. Again, from the Strib story this AM:

The case against 94-year-old Michael Karkoc, accused of being a former SS officer, is likely to be a “race against time,” legal experts say.

But it is only a race if you’ve already decided Michael Karkoc is guilty. I mean, there have been several war criminals hiding out in the United States who were brought to justice, right? He must be one, too, right? Well, please, people and media, not so fast.

There are a lot of people who are profoundly affected by this story in addition to Michael Karkoc: his neighbors, members of the Ukrainian church that Karkoc attends, and his children, their spouses, and his grandchildren. All innocents.

It is now time for this story to fade from the front page and let the legal process work — not race — and grant the innocents some peace.

And Andriy, you’re welcome at DL anytime.

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