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US Deports Former Nazi Camp Guard, 95, to Germany
The home of former Nazi concentration camp guard Jakiw Palij in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)

US Deports Former Nazi Camp Guard, 95, to Germany

Tuesday, 21 August 2018 04:39 AM

Jakiw Palij, who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship because he lied about his collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, was deported to Germany by the U.S.

The U.S. claims the 95-year old was a Nazi guard at the Trawniki camp who helped to prevent the escape of prisoners. Palij played an "indispensable role" in ensuring their later murder by the Nazis, according to a statement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Germans agreed to take him after U.S. lawmakers and Jewish organizations had argued that Nazi-collaborators shouldn’t be allowed to chose where they want to spend their sunset years, according to a statement from Germany’s interior ministry. Germany didn’t ask for his extradition.

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

Palij, who is now stateless, was shipped based on an order of removal the U.S. Department of Justice obtained in 2004. Germany accepted him because of the country’s "moral responsibility" for the Nazi crimes, the German Interior Ministry said.

Palij denies he took part in any atrocities. As an 18-year old, he was forced by he Nazis to train as a guard in then-occupied Poland, he told the New York Times in a 2003 interview. He did it to save his life and his family and only guarded bridges and rivers, he said.

In Germany, a probe against him was dropped and he currently isn’t targeted by prosecutors. He will be hosted by the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, which will also pay for his living expenses, according to the Interior Ministry.

Palij was born in a part of Poland that is now in Ukraine. He immigrated to the United States in 1949 and became a citizen in 1957. He told immigration officials that he had spent the war on his father’s farm then in a German factory. He later admitted that he was trained in Trawniki.

During World War II, German prisoners of war were trained at Trawniki in occupied Poland. Many of them served as guards in the extermination camps in Sobibor, Treblinka and Belzec. The most famous was John Demjanjuk, who was extradited to Germany and later convicted by a Munich court and sentenced to five years in prison for aiding the Nazis in the murder of at least 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp. His case prompted a wave of new prosecutions of camp guards.

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Jakiw Palij, who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship because he lied about his collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, was deported to Germany by the U.S. The U.S. claims the 95-year old was a Nazi guard at the Trawniki camp who helped to prevent the escape...
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2018-39-21
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 04:39 AM
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