Former Nazi death camp guard deported to Germany

Hillel Goldman associate principal of the Orthodox Jewish Rambam Mesivta High School speaks as he and students from the school protest former Nazi concentration camp guard Jakiw Palij 94 Thursday Nov. 9 2017 in Jackson Heights New York

Richard Grenell, the USA ambassador who arrived in Germany earlier this year, said President Donald Trump - who is from NY - instructed him to make it a priority.

Richard Grenell, who arrived in Germany earlier this year, said the new German government, which took office in March, brought "new energy" to the matter of 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij.

The White House said in a statement that immigration authorities carried out the deportation order early Tuesday.

The White House released a statement Tuesday, detailing the deportation of Jakiw Palij, who allegedly lied about his past to become a US citizen back in 1957.

The White House said Jakiw Palij had served as a guard at the Trawniki Labor Camp, where about 6,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot dead on November 3, 1943, in one of the single largest massacres of the Holocaust. ICE deports Nazi who was supposed to be deported in 2004, but neither George W. Bush nor Barack Hussein Obama had been able to convince Germany to accept him back.

Palij has admitted serving here but denied any involvement in war crimes.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement on Tuesday: "The United States will never be a safe haven for those who have participated in atrocities, war crimes, and human-rights abuses".

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Grenell said US officials helped and President Donald Trump told him Palij's deportation was a priority.

He later entered the U.S.by claiming he was a farmer and factory worker.

At least 23 alleged Nazi criminals who are believed to have worked in death camps were already facing charges in Germany and Austria by June, marking a dramatic increase compared with previous decades, according to a document German prosecutors shared with The Washington Post.

The White House said in a statement that President Donald Trump had "prioritised" the removal of Palij "to protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families".

But Eli Rosenbaum, the director of a special investigation unit for the Justice Department, said at the time that Palij was "very loyal and very capable and served until April 1945, the last weeks of the war, while other soldiers were deserting right and left".

In August 2003, a federal judge revoked Palij's US citizenship, based on his wartime activities, human rights abuses and postwar immigration fraud.

Palij was born in a part of Poland that is now in Ukraine.

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A former guard at the Trawniki camp in Nazi-occupied Poland - in which some 6,000 Jews were slaughtered during the so-called "Operation Harvest Festival" in November 1943 - Palij made his way to the USA after WWII by claiming he was a farmer and a factory worker.

In 2003, Palij's United States citizenship was revoked.

"The United States will never be a safe haven for those who have participated in atrocities, war crimes, and human rights abuses", Sessions said in a statement, slightly tarnished by the 69 years the USA had been doing exactly that for Palij.

Palij's deportation was reportedly held up for more than a decade because German officials argued he was Polish.

Grenell said the deportation had been the result of a concerted effort by Trump.

Although Germany has put several aged former Nazi guards on trial in recent years for crimes committed during the Holocaust, the head of the Central Office for Investigation of Nazi Crimes, Jens Rommel, told AFP it was unlikely he would be prosecuted.

USA officials say his deportation had always been stymied by Germany's reluctance to take him in.

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"Good riddance to this war criminal", Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said.

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