Aug 21, 2018

U.S. deports 95-year-old former Nazi camp guard

The United States deported Jakiw Palij, 95, one of the last known former Nazi war crimes suspects on American soil, back to Germany on Tuesday, per the AP.

The details: Palij admitted to being a guard at the Trawniki camp during World War II, but denied having participated in any war crimes — though thousands of prisoners died there. He was granted U.S. citizenship after lying about his past, but it was stripped by a judge in 2003 when his true identity was revealed. Though a judge first ordered his deportation in 2004, it first required intense negotiations with Germany, led behind-the-scenes by the U.S Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, per reporting from Axios' Jonathan Swan.

A Trump administration statement, per ABC News:

"President Trump commends his Administration’s comprehensive actions, especially ICE’s actions, in removing this war criminal from United States soil. Despite a court ordering his deportation in 2004, past administrations were unsuccessful in removing Palij. To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President Trump prioritized the removal of Palij. Through extensive negotiations, President Trump and his team secured Palij’s deportation to Germany and advanced the United States’ collaborative efforts with a key European ally."

And from Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

"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."
Go deeper