Nazi collaborator in notorious SS unit lived undetected in Archway council home
- Credit: Polly Hancock
A former soldier in a Nazi-led battalion accused of massacring women and children during the Second World War lived undetected in Archway until his death at the Whittington Hospital last year.
The Ham&High can reveal that Ukrainian-born Serhij Woronyj, 89, who served as a rifleman in the notorious 31st Punitive Battalion, also known as the Ukrainian Self Defence Legion, lived in Bovingdon Close until his death from a heart attack in March 2013.
Woronyj, who was captured by British forces in 1945 and imprisoned in the Italian city of Rimini before being transferred to the UK in 1947, was tracked down in Archway by independent researcher Dr Stephen Ankier.
He believed Woronyj could still be alive until the Ham&High discovered the retired printer’s death certificate.
Dr Ankier said: “The battalion that Woronyj belonged to was originally formed late in 1943 to help the Germans fight Soviets and Polish partisans.
“However, it was not long before this SS-led unit was involved in committing executions and atrocities against Jews and Poles.
“During 1944, the battalion attacked and destroyed several Polish villages and killed many unarmed villagers, including women and children. A section of the battalion was deployed to help suppress the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis.”
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Dr Ankier’s research, which involved numerous trips to archives in Germany, Poland and the UK, made international headlines last year, after he discovered one of the unit’s commanders, Michael Karkoc, living in Minnesota, USA.
It is understood German authorities are now considering whether there is enough evidence to prosecute Karkoc and have him extradited from the USA.
One of Woronyj’s neighbours in Bovingdon Close described him as “a big man who kept himself to himself”. She was unaware he had died.
His council home is now occupied by a cousin who did not wish to comment when contacted by the Ham&High.
Dr Ankier added: “Appalling atrocities on a massive scale were committed by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War.
“I believe that it is essential to find and document the truth about these terrible crimes as a way to pay homage to the victims’ memories and to inform new generations.”