Palij was reportedly a guard at the Treblinka death camp, where 6,000 Jews were murdered. He was also a member of the armed forces at Trawniki extermination camp, where participants in “Operation Reinhard,” an ambiguously named plan to massacre two million Polish Jews, were trained. According to the Daily Beast, German wartime records indicate that Palij took part in the bloody 1943 Warsaw ghetto liquidation. After initially denying allegations by the DOJ Office of Special Investigations, Palij signed a 2001 affidavit “confirming his Nazi service.” By tate’d been living in the U.S. by that time more than 50 years, having previously lied about being a humble farmer in his native Poland. In 2003, a federal judge removed Palij’s U.S. citizenship, and one year later a court ordered him deported to Ukraine.
That problem is that Ukraine refuses to take him, as do officials in both Germany and Poland. Palij cannot be tried in U.S. courts because he is no longer a U.S. citizen, and his World War II crimes were committed far from American soil. Jakiw Palij is one of 11 Nazi war criminals ordered out of the country since 2005, nearly all of whom have remained in the U.S. until their deaths. (One was successfully sent to Germany where he died in a nursing home, his body later buried in an Ohio cemetery.) As ICE steps up arrests of noncriminal immigrants, including an honorably discharged Army veteran, the father of a terminally ill child, farmworkers being paid next to nothing, and a college science professor, Palij continues to quietly live out his days in Queens.