Photo Credit: Courtesy US Department of Justice
Nazi labor camp guard Jakiw Palij's US visa photo from 1949.

Calling it “Another win for the American People,” on Tuesday the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement from its Executive Director, Matt Brooks, praising President Trump for deporting 95-year-old war criminal Jakiw Palij to Germany.

“Today we thank President Trump for prioritizing and successfully deporting Nazi war criminal, Jakiw Palij,” goes the statement. “Where other administrations had tried, President Trump, through diplomacy with our European allies, was able to arrange for the deportation of Palij to Germany. We also thank the US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, and the hard-working people at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for their roles in removing this monster from our country.

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“Evidence shows that Palij participated in the Nazi plan to murder all of the Jews in Poland. He served as a guard at Trawniki Labor Camp where, in a single day, 6,000 Jewish children, women, and men were murdered. Palij should have faced the consequences of his war crimes decades ago. We commend President Trump for fulfilling America’s promise to the victims of the Holocaust by ensuring that Palij will never walk on American soil again.”

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, for almost 40 years, Palij lived a quiet life in his home in Queens, which he purchased in 1966, until 2001, when an investigator from the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) showed up at his doorstep to question him about his wartime activities.

Following an interview, Palij signed a statement acknowledging 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 US citizenship in 2003 by a Federal court in New York, where the judge ordered him to be deported to Ukraine, Germany, or Poland. Lawmakers and Jewish groups have been pushing for his extradition, being the last surviving Nazi war criminal ordered to leave America. Since 2005, eight Nazi criminals under deportation orders have died on US soil, with their countries of origin refusing to take them in, never mind prosecute them.

Until Tuesday, German officials have been stressing they would only admit German-born Nazis, or Nazis who were charged with a crime in Germany. So, like the RJC says, thank you, President Trump.

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