The Last Harassed German Guard In The USA

Oy vey!! the horror of it. The haters screech, “We can’t let him die here!”

It has been 14 years since a federal court in New York stripped Jakiw Palij of his U.S. citizenship for concealing his service as a guard in a labor camp in eastern Poland. An immigration judge ordered Palij deported to Germany, Poland, Ukraine or any other country that would take him. Palij is from a Polish village in what is now Ukraine. In denying Palij, the German ambassador to the United States wrote in 2006 that “the German Government believes the responsibility for admitting such persons lies with the state whose citizenship they hold.” In court documents at the time, Palij’s lawyer wrote, “The government seeks to strip an infirm old man of his citizenship.”

But the three countries have repeatedly declined to accept him, allowing 94-year-old Palij to spend his retirement in  Jackson Heights neighborhood where he has lived for years, with bicycles hitched to street signs and Christmas wreaths tacked to front doors.

Now lawmakers and Jewish groups have been increasing pressure on the Trump administration to remove him. Legislators have written to the State and Justice departments, and protesters have regularly gathered outside Palij’s house with signs that read, “His hands are drenched in blood.”

In September, every member of the New York congressional delegation penned a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, demanding that he step in before Palij dies here. More than 80 members of the New York State Assembly also have pushed for Palij’s deportation, sending a letter in June to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Last month, the Justice Department responded to members of the New York State Assembly, with Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd writing, “The Department agrees fully that Palij should not live out his last days in this country.”

Those pushing for Palij’s removal want the White House to get involved.

“The 13 years that Mr. Palij has stayed in this country since he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and ordered to be deported is 13 years too many,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “The State Department and the entire Trump administration ought to treat this with the attention it deserves and try everything at their disposal to carry out the court order and remove this former Nazi guard from our country.”

A German government official said in an email to The Post last week that “the Federal Republic of Germany is not a position to accept Jakiw Palij into Germany as he is not a German national and there is no legal ground in the German Residence Act to provide a reason for stay.”

Faulkner, with the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs, criticized that policy in his letter to Gillibrand.

“The United States has made it clear to German authorities that we do not accept that position as having a valid legal basis,” he wrote.

Germany’s stance has long frustrated Justice Department lawyers, who said they had to race against the clock to successfully pursue cases against elderly war criminals and then watch as one after another died on U.S. soil.

In November, on the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht , dozens of Jews stood in front of Palij’s house, chanting and holding signs that read, “Your neighbor is a Nazi.”

jakiw-palij

 

 

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Published in: on December 18, 2017 at 12:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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