Decades have passed, but a man who once served as a Nazi concentration camp guard has been deported from the United States, and sent back to Germany.
Jakiw Palij, now 95-years-old, served as a prison guard at the Trawniki Concentration Camp in Poland in 1943.
In 1949, the former guard came the United States – and lied about his past. Palij claimed he split his time working in a factory, and on his family farm. Since then, he has earned citizenship in the United States, and has been living in Queens, New York.
For many years a Nazi forced labor camp guard had been living in NY – a terrible injustice. Past Administrations failed to deport him. Today, @realDonaldTrump got the job done! ICE has removed this despicable Nazi from our great country. https://t.co/yBaboYK5N5
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) August 21, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that authorities have been fighting to deport him for years:
“Jakiw Palij lied about his Nazi past to immigrate to this country and then fraudulently become an American citizen. He had no right to citizenship or to even be in this country.”
US Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York issued a complaint to revoke his citizenship in 2002, and it was subsequently taken from him in 2003. Palij was ordered to be removed from the country in 2004, and lost his appeal in 2005.
No one wanted to claim him – not Germany, not Poland, and not Ukraine, and therefore he remained living in New York. More than a decade has passed, and Germany has agreed to have him sent back there.
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell described it as a sort of obligation:
“They saw this as a moral obligation that they had, not so much a legal obligation.”
Despite this, Palij doesn’t face a great chance of being prosecuted once he goes to Germany:
Germany 'unlikely to prosecute Nazi guard deported from US' https://t.co/7kg5JpUiha
— The Guardian (@guardian) August 22, 2018
Palij was removed from his residence in Jackson Heights, Queens, taken in his wheelchair by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday.Sessions made a mention that there have been 67 similar cases of Nazis being forcibly removed from the United States. He assured the U.S. doesn’t stand to house people like this:
“The United States will never be a safe haven for those who have participated in atrocities, war crimes, and human rights abuses.”
Palij has avoided blame, insisting he isn’t responsible and was forced to work at a guard at a concentration camp.
Trawniki imprisoned 12,000 Jews. More than 6,000 men, women, and children were massacred, all of them shot to death, upon the camp closing on November 3, 1943.
Palij was not directly involved with the shooting, but as a guard, stopped them from escaping.
Given his age, Twitter doesn’t believe the man is much of a threat:
But then again, he was a Nazi.
Yes, a 95 year old man is a huge threat now. He wouldn’t live through a trial.
— Kippy Jameson (@kippythekat) August 22, 2018
People are thanking authorities and the ICE:
Most are saying it shouldn’t have taken this long, considering he has lived here as a citizen of the United States for almost 70 years now.
Good! Should have been deported when he was found living here immediately!
— Sandra S Beechey (@SandraBeechey) August 22, 2018
Thank you @ICEgov !!!
— Alex Murad (@juicesaysthis) August 22, 2018
Palij was the final remaining case regarding a Nazi for the Justice Department’s Office of Human Rights and Special Prosecutions.