Michael Karkoc, 94, told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Galician Division and a Ukrainian nationalist organization he served in were both on a secret American government blacklist of organizations whose members were forbidden from entering the United States at the time.
Heorhiy Syvyi, left, was 9 when the Ukrainian SS force that Karkoc was reportedly part of stormed his village to kill everyone as revenge for the murder of a German officer.
"When we came out we saw the smoldering ashes of the burned house and our neighbors searching for the dead. My mother had my brother clasped to her chest. This is how she was found — black and burned," said Syvyi, 78, sitting on a bench outside his home."
While the U.S. was unaware of Karkoc's past, he apparently felt safe enough to publish a Ukrainian-language memoir in 1995, which detailed his time working with Nazis.
Asked about his wartime service for Nazi Germany outside of his home, Karkoc said, "I don't think I can explain."
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.