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Jakiw Palij: White House deports former Nazi camp guard living in NYC

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PALIJ DEPORTATION THUMB
Jakiw
Palij, seen getting off of a plane in Dusseldorf after his
deportation, and (right) in a stretcher shortly
afterward.

BILD
exclusive


  • Jakiw Palij, a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration
    camp guard, was deported early Tuesday morning.
  • He had been living on welfare in Queens, New York,
    until his deportation.
  • He landed in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday.
  • Palij worked at the Trawniki Labor Camp, where
    thousands of Jewish people were murdered in World War
    II.
  • He was granted US citizenship in 1959 after lying about
    his Nazi service to immigration officers.
  • A US judge ordered his deportation in 2004, but the
    order was only enforced this week.

The US has deported a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp
guard, who had been living in the US for almost 70 years.

Jakiw Palij, who worked as a labor camp guard in
German-occupied Poland during World War II, was seen exiting a
plane in Dusseldorf, Germany, and traveling through the city on
Tuesday morning.

Jakiw Palij, who worked as a labor camp guard in German-occupied
Poland during World War II, was seen exiting a plane in
Dusseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday morning. He was then transferred
to a stretcher and taken across the city in an ambulance.

The New York Times reported in 2003 that he had suffered two
strokes and was living in frail health.

He was deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
early Tuesday morning, the White House said in a press release.
He had been living on welfare in Queens, New York, until his
deportation,
Germany’s BILD newspaper reported
.


jakiw palij exit plane
Jakiw
Palij exits a plane in Dusseldorf on Tuesday after being deported
from the US.

BILD EXCLUSIVE/Sebastian
Karadshow/Josef Frank Weiser


Palij was born in what was then Poland, now known as Ukraine. He
trained at the Nazi SS Training camp in Trawniki, German-occupied
Poland, in 1943, and served as an armed guard at Trawniki Labor
Camp, the White House said.

The camp is the site of one of the largest massacres of the
Holocaust. SS and police officers shot at least 6,000 Jewish
inmates at the camp in one single day on November 3, 1943,
according
to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
.


jakiw palij house
Palij’s
house in Queens, New York, as pictured in November
2017.

Kathy
Willens/AP


Palij emigrated to the US in 1949 as a 26-year-old war refugee,
and was granted US citizenship in 1959. He lied about his Nazi
service during his immigration and naturalization process, saying
instead that he spent World War II working in a farm and in a
factory, the White House said.

In 2003, a federal judge revoked Palij’s US citizenship for lying
in his immigration process. A US judge ordered for his
deportation in 2004, but it was only implemented this week.


Palij told The New York Times
in 2003 that he was “never a
collaborator,” claiming instead that his role was to guard
bridges and rivers. He also said he only joined the Nazis to save
his family.

He said: ”They came and took me when I was 18. We knew they
would kill me and my family if I refused. I did it to save their
lives, and I never even wore a Nazi uniform. They made us wear
gray guards’ uniforms and had us guarding bridges and rivers.”

But Eli Rosenbaum, the director of a special investigation unit
for the Justice Department, said at the time that Palij was “very
loyal and very capable and served until April 1945, the last
weeks of the war, while other soldiers were deserting right and
left.”


Jakiw Palij protest outside house
A
protest outside Palij’s house in Queens, New York, in November
2017.

Kathy
Willens/AP


Palij also said in 2003: “Let them come and get
me. I’m not running. What will they do? Shoot me? Put
me in the electric chair? Where are they going to deport me to?
What country is going to take an 80-year-old man in poor
health?”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement on
Tuesday: “The United States will never be a safe haven for those
who have participated in atrocities, war crimes, and human rights
abuses.”

Palij’s case will now be part of an investigation at a Nazi
crimes investigation unit in Ludwigsburg, Germany, BILD reported.

Germany has jailed former Nazi death camps, despite their old
age, in recent years. Oskar Groening, 96, was sentenced to
four years in prison
in 2015, but
died this March
before he could serve his sentence.

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