Ex-Nazi Guard in Queens Is Deported to Germany

Queens resident Jakiw Palij faces possible war crimes charges
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2018 6:19 AM CDT
Updated Aug 21, 2018 6:54 AM CDT
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This 1942 photo, provided by the the public prosecutor's office in Hamburg via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, shows Jakiw Palij.   (US Department of Justice via AP)
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(Newser) – In 1966, a man named Jakiw Palij and his wife bought a home near LaGuardia Airport from a Polish Jewish couple who had survived the Holocaust, reports the AP. It's likely they never would have sold had they known Palij's past—he served as a Nazi prison guard at a death-camp in Poland, then lied about that in order to enter the US after the war, say Justice Department officials. On Monday, immigration officials rousted the 95-year-old from his Queens residence and shipped him to Germany to face possible war crimes charges, reports ABC News. Palij is believed to be the last Nazi war crimes suspect in the US who had been facing deportation. He is now in a German nursing home as prosecutors there try to figure out if they have enough evidence to convict, reports the Washington Post.

Palij's Nazi history has been long known. A fellow guard at the Trawniki camp tipped off authorities back in 1989, per the AP, and investigators first confronted him a few years later. In 2001, he finally admitted he worked as a guard, but said he did so because he feared he'd be killed otherwise. "I know what they say, but I was never a collaborator," Palij told the New York Times back in 2003, the year his US citizenship was revoked. The US tried to deport him then, but Germany, Poland, Ukraine all refused to take him. The US says Monday's deportation took place after "extensive negotiations" with Germany. "Trawniki was a camp where people were trained to round up and murder the Jews in Poland, so there's certainly a basis for some sort of prosecution," said Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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