U.S. deports former Nazi camp guard, 95, to Germany

Hillel Goldman associate principal of the Orthodox Jewish Rambam Mesivta High School speaks as he and students from the school protest former Nazi concentration camp guard Jakiw Palij 94 Thursday Nov. 9 2017 in Jackson Heights New York

This 1957 photo provided by the US Department of Justice shows Jakiw Palij, a former Nazi concentration camp guard who has been living in the Queens borough of NY.

Jakiw Palij, 95, admitted he falsely claimed to be a farmer and factory worker during World War II to gain entry into the United States 25 years ago.

Shari Brill, one of Palij's neighbours, said: "When I think, he got to live this idyllic life here, and he took away the opportunity of".

Jakiw Palij's deportation was announced Tuesday, 69 years after the alleged former Trawniki concentration camp guard moved to the US.

A US Justice Department (DOJ) statement from that year noted that the NY judge said "that on November 3 and 4, 1943, "in a brutal spate of killing, ' other units 'slaughtered Trawniki's entire inmate population" of some 6,000 Jewish civilians'".

Palij admitted to USA officials in 2001 that he was trained at the SS paramilitary camp in the town of Trawniki where units were specifically prepared to participate in the Holocaust.

Germany, citing its "moral duty", on Tuesday took in a 95-year-old former guard at a Nazi labour camp where more than 6,000 people were killed, after he was stripped of his United States citizenship. To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President Trump prioritized the removal of Palij. He wasn't deported for years, however, because the European countries where he would be sent to would not accept him.

Grenell said the deportation had been the result of a concerted effort by Trump.

Palij's US citizenship was revoked in August 2003 based on his alleged involvement in war crimes and his immigration fraud.

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In September previous year, all 29 members of New York's congressional delegation signed a letter urging the state department to follow through on Palij's deportation.

Later that year, roughly 6,000 Jewish men, women and children held captive at Trawniki were shot to death - one of the largest single massacres of the Holocaust.

"By helping to prevent the escape of these prisoners, Palij played an indispensable role in ensuring that they met their tragic fate at the hands of the Nazis".

USA officials say his deportation had always been stymied by Germany's reluctance to take him in.

But rather than a prison cell, Palij spent the next 15 years in his NY residence as authorities took their time processing his extradition order.

Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany who negotiated the deal by continuing to pressure the German government said: "He is probably going to die sometime soon, he's little bit sickly and so we wanted to make sure that he didn't die in peace and comfort in the United States, but that he was brought back somewhere to face more justice". He was convicted in 2011 of being an accessory to more than 28,000 killings and died 10 months later, at age 91, with his appeal pending.

Jakiw Palij, former Nazi concentration camp guard, lives in the Queens borough of NY. Interior to reverse pesticide ban at wildlife refuges MORE last August, urging him to negotiate a deportation agreement for Palij so that their constituents were not forced to live beside "a painful reminder for Americans who fought against the Nazis or lost loved ones in the Holocaust".

Jens Rommel, the state prosecutor who heads Germany's "Nazi hunter" office - officially known as the Central Office of the Land Judicial Authorities for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes - told DW that the case against Palij was not strong.

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