Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is renewing a call for Germany to take back a Jackson Heights man believed to be the last remaining Nazi in the United States.
Gillibrand released a letter Friday to the German ambassador, saying he should work with the American government to deport Jakiw Palij, 94, who worked as a guard at a Nazi-run labor camp in Poland in World War II. The appeal came about a month after Germany rejected another U.S. request to take Palij, according to reports.
Gillibrand told Peter Wittig, who heads the German embassy in Washington, that by deporting Palij immediately, the “United States and Germany can show the world that Mr. Palij’s crimes have not been forgotten.”
Palij has been living in Queens for years even though he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 2003 after federal officials discovered he lied about his Nazi background in order to enter the country. In 2005, he was ordered deported to either Germany, Poland or Ukraine, but no country would accept him.
Palij previously told The New York Times and New York Post he was forced to become a Nazi guard and that his family would be killed if he refused. He said he didn’t take part in any killings.
Elected officials and activists have been increasing pressure for Palij’s removal before he dies.
In August, the New York congressional delegation signed a letter insisting the administration of President Donald Trump deport Palij.
In November, the U.S. Justice Department sent a letter to New York officials saying it agreed “fully that Palij should not live out his last days in this country,” according to news reports.
Despite a subsequent meeting with German officials in Berlin, the agency said Germany still refused to take Palij. Gillibrand said she was “dismayed” by the response.