Nazi labor camp guard arrested by ICE, deported to Germany: Authorities

Adjust Comment Print

Many New York officials worked for years to have Palij deported. The former Nazi guard lied to U.S. immigration officials about his role in World War II, saying he worked on a farm and in a factory, the White House said in a statement.

Palij told The New York Times in 2003 that he was "never a collaborator", claiming instead that his role was to guard bridges and rivers.

Authorities believed he was the last Nazi collaborator still living in the USA, and his residence in the Queens area of New York City attracted protests from residents.

Palij has admitted serving at Trawniki but denied any involvement in war crimes.

He was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 2003 after a Department of Justice investigation uncovered the truth and his expulsion was ordered a year later.

Last September, all 29 members of New York's congressional delegation signed a letter urging the State Department to follow through on his deportation.

Palij insisted he and other men in his Polish hometown had been forced to work in the camp, but now stands accused of being complicit in the murders of thousands of Jews.

Commander Of Bin Laden Raid: Revoke My Security Clearance Too, Trump
He called Trump's performance at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki "treasonous". McRaven said Brennan's "honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don't know him".

Eli Rosenbaum, director of Human Rights Enforcement Strategy and Policy, said Palij "was the last person in the United States who was under prosecution", in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Palij's case will now be part of an investigation at a Nazi crimes investigation unit in Ludwigsburg, Germany, Bild reported. The Trump administration and ICE's behavior will go down as one of the darkest, most ignoble chapters in American history, and no amount of Nazi airport carpools will undo that legacy. On November 3, 1943, around 6,000 Jewish prisoners at the camp were shot to death in one of the single largest massacres of the Holocaust, according to the White House statement.

A historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum served as an expert witness in Palij's case. But he concealed his Nazi service when he immigrated, the statement said. Palij's US citizenship was revoked in August 2003 by a federal judge in the Eastern District of NY based on his wartime activities and postwar immigration fraud.

Grenell told Fox News that Trump instructed him to make Palij's removal a priority and that the new German government, which took office in March, brought "new energy" to the process. Palij is believed to have been the last alleged war criminal from the Nazi era living on USA soil and being investigated by the Justice Department's Office of Human Rights and Special Prosecutions, according to CNN.

Centre-left Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper (in German) that Germany had a "moral duty" to "come to terms with and face up to the crimes of the Nazi reign of terror".

In reality, officials say, he played an essential role in the Nazi program to exterminate Jews as an armed guard at Trawniki. "U.S. administrators, senators, congressmen, and representatives of the Jewish communities in the United States of America emphasize that people who served the criminal NS [Nazi] regime should not spend the twilight of their lives in the country of their choice, the USA".

Democrats offered rare praise for President Trump on Palij's removal, with frequent Trump critic Senator Chuck Schumer saying he was "glad" Palij had been deported. The 99-year-old, who now lives in Minneapolis, was the subject of a series of 2013 reports by The Associated Press that led Polish prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for him.