Jakiw Palij, a former Nazi concentration camp guard who lived for decades in New York and resisted expulsion for 14 years, died on Thursday in a pension in Ahlen, Germany. He was 95.
German officials confirmed death, according to an American ambassador. No cause was quoted.
Before scientists tracked him to Queens of 1993, Palij had lived for decades in anonymity, a Polish-born rapporteur in one of the most diverse neighborhoods of a city known for his immigrant communities. He arrived in the United States in 1949 in his 20s after receiving a visa intended for people who left the homeless at World War II, according to Peter Black, the former chief of justice for a department of justice who devoted to deporting former Nazis.
Mr. Palij told the truth in an account – he was born on August 16, 1923 in the village of Piadyki, then part of Poland and now Ukraine – but lied about his life during the war.
In reality, Mr Palij had voluntarily served in Hitler’s Schutzstaffel or SS, in February 1943, according to information prepared by the Ministry of Justice. He went through training in Trawniki’s labor camp in Poland, where the Nazis prepared Operation Reinhard, the planned extermination of Poland’s two million Jews.
With two other Nazi soldiers who also emigrated to the United States, Palij served the Bible Battalion, guarding forced laborers who made uniforms and brushes, according to court documents. On November 3, 1943, the Nazis in the death camps estimated 6,000 Jews in a single day, according to historian Christopher Browning’s book “Ordinary Men”. Mr Browning called it “the greatest death operation against Jews throughout the war.”
Mr Palij received Union citizenship in 1957 and bought with his wife a home in Queens from a Polish Jewish couple who had survived the Holocaust and did not know Pali’s past. 19659002] A decade after investigators identified Mr Palij, a federal judge dismissed him from his US citizenship, based on the Ministry of Justice’s statement that he lied to his visa application and served as a Nazi guard in the concentration camp, a year later a judge ordered him to be deported – But neither Poland nor Ukraine would agree with him.
Germany also refused to accept Mr Palij, who was never a German citizen. “I was never a partner”, he told the New York Times 2003. He v inserted the government to arrest him: “Let them come and get me.”
“What should they do? Shoot me? Put me in the electric chair? “He asked.” Which country will take an 80-year-old man in poor health? “
The men who emigrated with Palij were also persecuted by US officials: One died in Queens 2007 with a case awaiting him; others were removed from their citizenship in 2001 and died in Florida nine years later.
After other former Nazis died or were rejected, Palij became the last known Nazi war crime that suspected he was living in the United States. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, year, students protested and teachers from Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence, NY, outside his house.
The Trump administration made his expulsion a priority and in August 2018 announced that Germany would receive Mr Palij. On the same day, officials escorted him from his home and he flew to Münster in northwestern Germany.
He had no children and The Associated Press reported that his wife was deceased.