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Nazi Guard Who Lived in Jackson Heights for Decades Dies in Germany, Months After Deportation

Former Assemblymember Dov Hikind leads rally outside Palij’s 33-18 89th St. home in 2017 (Photo: Hikind)

Jan. 11, 2019 By Christian Murray

A former Nazi collaborator who lived in Jackson Heights for decades before being deported to Germany last year is dead.

Jakiw Palij, 95, died at an old age home in the town of Ahlen, according to reports. He died alone, as his wife died years ago and he had no children.

Palij, who immigrated to the United States in 1949 and was a long-time resident at 33-18 89th St., was a guard at the notorious Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during 1943. On Nov. 3, 1943, about 6,000 Jews were killed and buried in pits there.

He became a United States citizen in 1957, but lied to authorities during the naturalization process. He claimed that he had spent World War II working in a factory on a farm.

However, in 2001, he told the Department of Justice that he had been trained in 1943 at a Nazi SS training camp in German-occupied Trawniki. Thousands of Nazis were trained at Trawniki, according to reports, with many tasked with staffing various killing centers such as Treblinka.

Palij’s citizenship was revoked in Aug. 2003 on the basis of his wartime activities and immigration fraud, and his deportation was ordered in 2004.

But he remained in Jackson Heights until August because Germany, Ukraine and Poland refused to take him. The Trump administration, however, pressured the German government, which finally relented.

Palij’s Visa Photo from 1949 (Courtesy of U.S. Justice Department)

The White House said that President Trump had made it a priority to deport him. “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,” the administration said in a statement in August.

In 2003 Palij tried to defend his actions in an interview with the New York Times.He said he never killed anyone during the war. He claimed that at the age of 18 he was taken to the camp and forced to work as a guard.

Although the federal government never accused him of being directly involved in the killings, it claimed that as a Nazi guard, he “directly contributed to their eventual slaughter” by preventing the victims from escaping.

Over the past decade, there was enormous political pressure to have Palij deported. Nearly 90 Assembly Members signed on to a letter addressed to the U.S. Attorney General in 2017 seeking his removal. The New York City Congressional delegation lobbied the Secretary of State to remove him in 2018.

Palij never faced prosecution over alleged war crimes, according to reports by the BBC. The German government cast doubt that he ever would, citing a lack of evidence.

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12 Comments

HonestJH

I wish someone would have given him gerlad butlers treatment form the Law Abiding Citizen movie

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Jackelyn

You people are digusting
He was my neighbor for 24 years out of the 28 im still living today. I grew up with him. And he was the sweetest person on the block. You people are just repeating the cycle or HATE. Teaching our children to hate based on the past. We knew the real story, that came from HIM. All you people are going based of social media. You guys are WORSE by spreading hate.

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Sean

Now did he really have a choice in the matter, often times the Nazis would execute you on the spot if you disobeyed orders. He may not have wanted to work with them, but was forced to by circumstances. Either you work for us, or we kill you, it’s not much of a choice.

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Jackelyn

Thats exactly what happened. So did he really have a choice in those times? No. But people are idiots and think that spreading hate and teaching our kids hate will fix what happened in the past. Focus this energy on the bullshit racism we have now and make the TODAY world a better place. He was my neighbor. My heart is broken.

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Michael

I rather have died than facilitate the murders. Do you realize what went on at that camp? No you only read about it too. Glad my block has no nazi any longer. He cried because he was guilty

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PC What?

Response Option A: JH Resident, you seem like a perfect candidate for deportation.
Response Option B: JH Resident, I’d personally help build a wall if it kept people like you out.

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JH resident

@ PC What?

I was born in New York to immigrants who came here LEGALLY. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Why would I be a perfect candidate for deportation? Because I have a differing opinion than this man’s sympathizers?

Nothing can take away from what he’s done in his past, it was an atrocity.

Grow up, not everyone is going to agree with you.

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Black Forest Iced Cake

I only wish I believed in Hell, since that’s where he belongs. But he died in a nursing home, being taken care of and he died at age 95. He should have died in prison, where he belonged.

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