Nazi guard Palij deported by U.S. to Germany

Larry Hoffman
August 22, 2018

A statement released by the White House after Palij landed in Germany early Tuesday commended President Trump commended the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for "removing this war criminal from United States soil".

Richard Grenell, who arrived in Germany earlier this year, said the new German government, which took office in March, brought "new energy" to the matter of 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij.

A White House statement said Palij served as an armed guard and had played an "indispensable role" in ensuring Jews were killed.

A judge stripped Palij's U.S. citizenship in 2003 for "participation in acts against Jewish civilians" while he was an armed guard at the Trawniki camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, and Palij was ordered deported a year later.

Palij worked as an armed guard at the Trawniki Labor Camp, where thousand of Jews were shot to death in 1943.

Last August, 21 members of New York's House delegation sent a letter to then-US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging him to deport Palij.

Grenell said US officials helped and President Donald Trump told him Palij's deportation was a priority.

Palij concealed his Nazi service during the naturalization process, telling immigration officials that he had spent the duration of World War II working on a farm and in a factory. "I felt very strongly that the German government had a moral obligation and they accepted that", he added, making clear it was up to Germany to decide whether to prosecute him.

President Donald Trump speaks on Capitol Hill during the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Days of Remembrance ceremony, April 25, 2017, in Washington.

"It's really a credit to President Trump, who was very clear about this case, made clear he wanted this individual out of the United States", Richard Grenell - the US ambassador to Germany who arrived there earlier this year after Democrats delayed his nomination for months - told the network.

Sessions credited the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, formerly the Office of Special Investigations, for successfully helping remove Palij from the United States.

In an interview with DW, Deidre Berger, Berlin Director of the American Jewish Committee, said the deportation of 95-year-old Palij was essential to help young people in particular to understand that there can be no expiration date on the crimes of the Nazis.

A deportation order was issued in 2004, but he was never deported, even though, according to the German Foreign Ministry, "The US has constantly been urgently demanding Palij's return to Germany".

Palij is said to have been born in an area of Poland that is now in Ukraine.

Since then, the Justice Department has initiated legal proceedings against 137 suspected Nazis, with about half, 67, being removed by deportation, extradition or voluntary departure.

In 2003, a federal judge revoked Palij's U.S. citizenship for lying in his immigration process.

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

"In 2001, Palij admitted to officials at the Department of Justice that he trained in 1943 at the Nazi SS Training Camp in Trawniki, in German-occupied Poland".

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

Considering he is Polish and not a German citizen, and the crimes didn't take place on German soil, a lot of arm twisting had to go on before the Germans would take him.

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