A 95-year-old Queens man who in his prime helped the Nazi regime send Jews to their deaths during World War II has been deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on direct orders from President Donald Trump.
“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,” U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said Tuesday on “Fox & Friends.”
Jakiw Palij, who became a U.S. citizen in 1957 and had concealed his Nazi past, was deported Tuesday morning, Fox News reported. He landed in Germany later on Tuesday.
— ICE (@ICEgov) August 21, 2018
“It’s a great day for the United States to have this man out of our country,” Grenell said.
He added, “The fact is we have a president who really wants to fight for the American people, make sure that the rule of law is followed.”
Palij was accused of working at the Treblinka death camp and participating in a November 1943 massacre in which 6,000 prisoners were killed, ABC News reported. He was also allegedly at the Trawniki camp.
“Trawniki was a camp where people were trained to round up and murder the Jews in Poland, so there’s certainly a basis for some sort of prosecution,” said Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He also said the U.S. “deserves a lot of credit” for getting Palij deported.
“The efforts invested by the United States in getting Palij deported are really noteworthy and I’m very happy to see that they finally met with success,” he said.
Palij was the last known Nazi collaborator living in America, CBS News reported.
“Palij had lied about being a Nazi and remained in the United States for decades,” a State Department statement said. “Palij’s removal sends a strong message: The United States will not tolerate those who facilitated Nazi crimes and other human rights violations, and they will not find a safe haven on American soil.”
.@ABC EXCLUSIVE: The last Nazi collaborator deported — ABC News was there as ICE agents wheeled 95 year old Jakiw Palij from his New York home: https://t.co/OmHJYmyw5V@tarapalmeri reports. pic.twitter.com/2SDW3tzgvY
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 21, 2018
Grenell said that the difficulty in deporting Palij, against whom a deportation order was issued in 2004, was that no country wanted to take him because he was not officially a German citizen.
“(Germany) had a moral obligation, not necessarily a legal one, because he worked in the name of the then-German government,” Grenell said.
He said that Germany’s new foreign and interior ministers both “wanted to work with President Trump to make this happen” and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was “aggressive” in seeking to deport Palij.
Grenell said Germany must now decide what it wants to do with Palij.
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