Former Nazi Labor Camp Guard Removed to Germany by ICE

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had removed Jakiw Palij, “a former Nazi labor camp guard in German-occupied Poland and a postwar resident of Queens, New York” to Germany. The decision was made “based on an order of removal obtained by the Department of Justice in 2004.”

“The United States will never be a safe haven for those who have participated in atrocities, war crimes, and human rights abuses,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in announcing the move.  “Jakiw 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.  Today, the Justice Department—led by Eli Rosenbaum and our fabulous team in the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, formerly the Office of Special Investigations—successfully helped remove him from the United States, as we have done with 67 other Nazis in the past.  I want to thank our partners at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security for all of their hard work in removing this Nazi criminal from our country.”

According to the DOJ release, Palij, who is 95-years-old, “was born in a part of Poland that is situated in present-day Ukraine, immigrated to the United States in 1949 and became a U.S. citizen in 1957. He concealed his Nazi service by telling U.S. immigration officials that he had spent the war years working until 1944 on his father’s farm in his hometown, which was previously a part of Poland and is now in Ukraine, and then in a German factory.”

Palij reportedly admitted to DOJ in 2001 that “he was trained at the SS Training Camp in Trawniki, in Nazi-occupied Poland, in the spring of 1943.” DOJ’s release notes that, during this time, Trawniki was the location of “one of the largest single massacres of the Holocaust.”

“By helping to prevent the escape of these prisoners during his service at Trawniki, Palij played an indispensable role in ensuring that they later met their tragic fate at the hands of the Nazis,” DOJ’s release states.

“Nazi war criminals and human rights violators have no safe haven on our shores,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “We will relentlessly pursue them, wherever they may be found, and bring them to justice. The arrest and removal of Jakiw Palij to Germany is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the men and women of ICE, who faithfully enforce our immigration laws to protect the American people.”

Posted in The Takedown

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