New York Lawmakers Urge Secretary of State Tillerson to Personally Intervene in Deportation of Nazi Guard Living Illegally in U.S.

Aug 23, 2017 Issues: Foreign Affairs/Israel, New York and Our Neighborhoods

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Members of the New York Congressional Delegation wrote a letter urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to personally seek the deportation of a Nazi prison guard living in Queens. Led by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Congressman Dan Donovan (R-NY), the lawmakers asked Secretary Tillerson to use his influence to ensure that Jakiw Palij—a convicted Nazi guard—is deported, so New Yorkers and Americans are not forced to live besides “a painful reminder for Americans who fought against the Nazis or lost loved ones in the Holocaust.”

Mr. Jakiw Palij supported the Nazi regime during the Holocaust and served as a guard at the Trawniki camp in Poland. Mr. Palij’s American citizenship has been revoked, but he continues to live in New York City. The U.S. government has, to date, unsuccessfully appealed to the German, Ukraine, and Polish governments to accept Mr. Palij.

“The facts on Jakiw Palij speak for themselves,” said Congressman Nadler.  “As a guard at the infamous SS camp in Trawniki, Poland, Mr. Palij was a part of the Nazi genocide machine that killed millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust. Having escaped authorities after the war, Mr. Palij lied about his Nazi history when he entered the United States. When Justice Department officials uncovered Mr. Palij’s dark past and finally caught-up with him, his American citizenship was revoked. Yet he continues to live right here in New York City – a man who contributed to the forced labor and eventual slaughter of tens of thousands of Jewish and other prisoners in the Holocaust is living out his days without facing justice. I hope Secretary Tillerson will treat this case with the urgency it requires so that we can finally make sure Mr. Palij is deported and forced to answer for his crimes.”

“Those who participated in the atrocities of the Holocaust have no place in our communities,” said Congressman Crowley. “The Nazis’ crimes were beyond heinous, and we have the responsibility to pursue justice on behalf of their victims. I’m proud to join Reps. Nadler and Donovan in urging Secretary Tillerson to decisively step forward and intervene personally so the victims of Jakiw Palij’s crimes see justice done.”

“Jakiw Palij has yet to face justice, and it’s a dishonor to the Jewish people and millions of Holocaust victims that he continues to live freely in New York City,” Congressman Donovan said. “Those complicit in the Holocaust’s atrocities don’t deserve to enjoy the rights they took from others. I hope that Mr. Palij is swiftly deported.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Nita Lowey, Thomas Suozzi, Peter King, Eliot Engel, Adriana Espaillat, Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez, Lee Zeldin, Kathleen Rice, Jose Serrano, Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, Louise Slaughter, Brian Higgins, Paul Tonko, Yvette Clarke, Gregory Meeks, and Sean Patrick Maloney.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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