US deports former Nazi camp guard, 95, to Germany
BERLIN (AP) — The last Nazi war crimes suspect facing deportation from the U.S. was taken from his New York City home and spirited early today morning to Germany, following years of efforts to remove him from the United States.
The deportation of the 95-year-old former Nazi camp guard, Jakiw Palij, came 25 years after investigators first confronted him about his World War II past and he admitted lying to get into the U.S., claiming he spent the war as a farmer and factory worker.
Palij lived quietly in the U.S. for years, as a draftsman and then as a retiree, until nearly three decades ago when investigators found his name on an old Nazi roster and a fellow former guard spilled the secret that he was "living somewhere in America."
Palij, an ethnic Ukrainian born in a part of Poland that is now Ukraine, told the Justice Department he had Ukrainian citizenship. When their investigators showed up at his door in 1993, he said: "I would never have received my visa if I told the truth. Everyone lied."
A judge stripped Palij's U.S. citizenship in 2003 for "participation in acts against Jewish civilians" while an armed guard at the Trawniki camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and was ordered deported a year later.
But because Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and other countries refused to take him, he continued living in limbo in the two-story, red brick home in Queens he shared with his late wife, Maria. His continued presence there outraged the Jewish community, attracting frequent protests over the years that featured such chants as "your neighbor is a Nazi!"
According to the Justice Department, Palij served at Trawniki in 1943, the same year 6,000 prisoners in the camps and tens of thousands of other prisoners held in occupied Poland were rounded up and slaughtered. Palij has admitted serving in Trawniki but denied any involvement in war crimes.