Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

August 10, 2013

Another View: Suspected war criminals must be pursued

An Associated Press investigation ... (that) found a significant number of people who are suspected Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. despite being ordered to leave the country will almost certainly spark complaints related to why we continue such investigations, so many decades after the crimes took place.

Many, perhaps most, of the so-called big-name Nazi decision makers are either confirmed or strongly suspected to be dead. The worst of the worst were executed following the war while others were tracked down and killed, or executed following public trials, in the years that followed.

Still others drew lengthy prison sentences with many of them dying behind bars. What we’re left with now, for the most part, are the mid- to low-level suspects, the boots-on-the-ground guys who are often accused of doing the actual killing.

Many of these people, who are now often in the 80s or 90s, have, in fact, been identified, have undergone thorough evaluations and ultimately ordered for deportation.

Here’s where the problems start: The U.S, which cannot prosecute them because the crimes were not committed on U.S. soil, often cannot find a country willing to take them.

The case of John Kalymon, who lives in downstate Troy, seems fairly typical. According to the AP report, Kalymon, 92, remains in Michigan despite exhausting appeals earlier this year in a process that took nine years.

Prosecutors said Kalymon, who was born in Poland, was a member of the Nazi-sponsored Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in Lviv, which rounded up Jews and imprisoned them.

Prosecutors said Kalymon also shot Jews. Kalymon, who suffers from dementia and cancer, has denied wrongdoing. AP stated that in Poland, authorities said an investigation of Kalymon was closed in January because authorities couldn’t definitively tie him to crimes committed in 1942. In Germany, Munich prosecutors have been investigating Kalymon on suspicion of murder since 2010, said AP.

It’s unclear what country, if any, will take Kalymon, or the others who are under deportation orders. All may ultimately live out their years here in the U.S. without standing trial.

And while that’s troubling, we still believe the U.S. should continue to pursue these cases.

The crimes these people are suspected of were so evil, so hideous, that the world can never forget.

The Mining Journal, Marquette

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