Previously an armed guard at the Trawniki camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, 95-year-old Jakiw Palij of New York City was deported to Germany early Tuesday, more than 25 years after he admitted lying to get into the U.S.
In 1993, Palij told investigators, “I would never have received my visa if I told the truth. Everyone lied.” However, it wasn’t until 2003 that Palij was stripped of his citizenship for “participation in acts against Jewish civilians.”
Though ordered deported in 2004, it is only happening now more than 14 years later because Germany, Poland, Ukraine and other countries refused to take him.
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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.
Last September, all 29 members of New York’s congressional delegation signed a letter urging the State Department to follow through on his deportation.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador who arrived in Germany earlier this year, said President Donald Trump — who is from New York — instructed him to make it a priority. He said the new German government, which took office in March, brought “new energy” to the matter.