According to The Washington Post, the White House made an announcement on Tuesday saying that it was deporting 95-year-old Jakiw Palij, who is a former Nazi camp guard.
Around six million Jews and other Nazi adversaries were killed as a result of the Holocaust and this year marked the 73rdanniversary since the camps were liberated. Thousands of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers have gone without consequences, but recently the number of people going to trial for these war crimes has risen.
Before Nazi Germany was liberated by the Allies, tens of thousands of Nazi criminals disappeared and went into hiding. Some perpetrators left the country, some left the continent, and others elected to hide in German cities.
On Tuesday, Palij, who was Polish born, was sent to Germany, and according to the Washington Post, the White House stated that Palij was the last known alleged former Nazi guard living in the United States.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Palij, who was living in Queens, New York, was arrested for his crimes on Monday and sent to Germany early Tuesday morning. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in Germany reported that Palij was moved to a nursing home upon arrival.
In a statement Tuesday, U.S. officials stipulated that Palij’s deportation was the result of negotiations by “President Trump and his team” and “collaborative efforts with [Germany].”
After the end of World War II, Palij left Europe for the United States, becoming a citizen in 1957 by concealing his Nazi past.
In 2001, however, Palij confessed to being involved with the Nazi SS paramilitary organization. According to The Washington Post, prosecutors contend that there are documents which prove Palij’s knowledge and participation in the Holocaust.
Also in 2001, Palij admitted to U.S. officials that he received training at an SS paramilitary camp where units were chiefly prepared to engage in the Holocaust. The Washington Post reported that Palij worked at Trawniki’s labor camp the very year the Nazis killed 6,000 Jews there. Despite having confessed to participating in the Holocaust, Palij has professed that he did not participate in any killings.
Palij’s lost his U.S. citizenship in 2003 but is only now being deported because officials were unsure of which country Palij should be sent. Germany, Ukraine and Poland, the three countries involved in Palij’s case, initially refused to accept him.
U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell indicated in a call on Tuesday that President Trump “wanted him out of the United States.”
The ambassador said, “The president asked me to do this … they could tell we were making it a priority.” Grenell continued saying, “[The Germans] saw this as a moral obligation that they had, not so much a legal obligation,” making mention to the fact that Palij is not a German citizen.
Palij will be one of two dozen Nazi suspects in Germany whose cases are now under investigation.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Spencer Platt