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Jakiw Palij

(1923 - 2019)

Jakiw Palij was a former Nazi guard who immigrated to the United States in 1949, claiming on his immigration papers that he had been a simple farm-worker on his father's land during the war.  Palij entered the U.S. through Boston and earned his citizenship, purchasing a home in Queens, New York in 1966.  For almost 40 years Palij lived a quiet life, until an investigator from the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) showed up at his home in 2001 to question him about his wartime activities. 

Following an interview Palij signed a statement aknowledging his activities during the war, although he claimed that he was forced into service and never took part in any killings. Palij told investigators that he had trained with the SS in Trawniki, in German-occupied Poland, in 1943, and was subsequently employed as a guard at the Trawniki Labor Camp.  

Palij was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 2003 by a Federal court in New York, where the judge ordered him to be deported to the Ukraine, Germany, or Poland. Lawmakers and Jewish groups have been pushing to have him extradited, as he is the last surviving Nazi collaborator who has been ordered to leave American soil. 

Since 2005, eight Nazi collaborators under deportation orders have died in the United States after being rejected by Germany and their countries of origin.  German officials have stated that they will only admit ex-Nazis who previously held German citizenship, or have been charged with a crime in Germany.  

On August 21, 2018, at 95 years of age, Palij was deported from the United States to Germany under a deportation order dating to 2004. He reportedly died in a home for the elderly in the town of Ahlen on January 10, 2019.

Sources: Debbie Cenziper, Scott Nover.  Former guard at Nazi camp is the last remaining war collaborator ordered out of the United States. Authorities want him gone before he dies, Washington Post, (December 16, 2017);
Corey Kilgannon.  Accused Nazi Guard Speaks Out, Denying He Had Role in Atrocities, New York Times, (November 21, 2003);
Justice Long Delayed for Nazi Collaborator, New York Times (November 29, 2017);
Brendan O'Brien.  Accused former Nazi guard arrested, deported to Germany, Reuters, (August 21, 2018);
“Jakiw Palij: Nazi guard deported by US dies in Germany,” BBC, (January 10, 2019).