Former Nazi guard Jakiw Palij, who was deported from the United States to Germany last year after years of unsuccessful attempts, has died at the age of 95.
In 2001, Palij confessed to U.S. Department of Justice officials that he was a guard at Trawniki, leading to a 2004 deportation order for the former Nazi.
Students from Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence, took up the cause of getting Palij deported in 1994 and were finally vindicated in 2018 when He was finally deported in August by federal immigration agents. The move was driven by the Trump administration and hailed by Jewish groups and local elected officials.
Students began with rallies each year outside Palij’s Queens home on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 “Night of Broken Glass,” a run-up to the Holocaust when Jewish synagogues and stores in Germany were torched by roving Nazis.
In more recent years students also rallied in front of the German consulate by the United Nations. The frequent protests outside his home featured chants such as “Your neighbor is a Nazi!”
Previous administrations were unable to remove Palij from U.S. soil because Poland, Germany, Ukraine and other nations refused to accept him.
“Deserving of special mentions are the several generations of high school students at Rambam Mesivta, in Lawrence, Long Island, who, under the leadership of their revered teacher, Rabbi Zev Friedman, himself a child of Holocaust survivors, never stopped crying out publicly for justice in this case,” said Eli Rosenbaum, a Westbury native who served as the acting director of the Office of Special Investigations, the U.S. Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit.