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Nazi collaborator deported back to Germany

Camille C. '21, Writer

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One of the last Nazi guards lived a safe and quiet life in a racially diverse corner of New York City for decades. The collaborator lied on his U.S. immigration papers in 1949 about the type of work he did during the second World War. On Nov. 6. he was deported to Germany, ending a 14 year battle to remove him from American soil.

At the order of President Trump, Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed Jakiw Palij from his home on Nov. 5. Palij lied to reporters, saying he was never a Nazi collaborator, and decided to remain in the U.S. as a citizen for his lifetime.

One student had a different perspective than officials and President Trump did with the German man.

“I believe the President made a wrong decision with the immigrant. Trump should have not removed the man so easily, because he was still considered a United States citizen. I understand that he lied to officials when he came into the United States, but that was the only option at the time,” Lily B. ’21 said.

At the time of the incident “Palij rejected that he was a collaborator, telling The New York Times, he was conscripted at 18 when the Nazis took over his farm,” according to ABC News.

Ninety-five-year-old Palij was first tracked down by investigators in 1993, and had his American Citizenship taken 10 years later. A federal judge found he had falsely claimed in his application he had worked on his father’s farm in Poland and at a German factory during the period he was actually serving the Nazis at the Trawniki labor camp in Poland.

A federal immigration judge “wanted Palji deported”. But for years, American officials failed to persuade any country to accept a man born in what was once Poland and is now Ukraine, and who had served a murderous German regime,” according to The New York Times.

On Nov. 6, White House officials announced President Trump had secured Palij’s deportation. Trump had immigration authorities apprehend him, and take him from his home in Queens, New York to travel back to Düsseldorf, Germany. Palij arrived at the Düsseldorf Airport, and was taken by a Red Cross ambulance to a nursing home near Münster in Northwestern Germany.

“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,”  White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement to ABC News.

Many U.S. citizens had different perspectives on what President Trump should do with the immigrant.  An OHS history teacher, Daniel Harris agrees with what President Trump and his officials decided to do with the immigrant.

“President Trump did the right thing with the immigrant, because the man lied and violated human rights to get into our country,” Harris said

Neighbors were pleased with Palij being deported back to Germany after living in the U.S.

“I’m glad this man is finally being sent back. He’s a war criminal, and did not deserve to live in the United States. He doesn’t deserve to die in the United States, a place of freedom and equality where we respect each other’s differences,” Palij’s neighbor said to reporters from ABC News.

 

 

 

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