'Jewish friends urged me to deport Nazi from NY,' says Trump

President Trump tells Fox News Jewish New Yorkers, including friends, had urged him since 2016 campaign to deport SS guard living in NYC.

David Rosenberg ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump took a personal interest in the case of a Nazi-era concentration camp guard living in the United States, pressing the Justice Department to secure the man’s deportation from the country.

On Monday, 95-year-old Jakiw Palij was deported from the United States to Germany, which accepted the Ukrainian national on Tuesday as a ‘moral duty’, over Palij’s involvement in World War II-era war crimes at a Nazi concentration camp.

Palij illegally concealed his war-time activities from US immigration officials when he moved to the United States in 1949, and was naturalized in 1957.

The former Nazi concentration camp guard took up residence in Queens, New York in 1949, and his lived there ever since.

Authorities later discovered Palij’s crimes, including participation in the November 1943 massacre of thousands of Jews held at the Trawniki camp, prompting courts to strip him of his American citizenship in 2003 and order his deportation in 2004.

On November 3, 1943, more than 6,000 men, women and children imprisoned at Trawniki were shot to death in one of the largest single massacres of the Holocaust.

"During a single nightmarish day in November 1943, all of the more than 6,000 prisoners of the Nazi camp that Jakiw Palij had guarded were systematically butchered," Eli Rosenbaum, then director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, said at the time.

"By helping to prevent the escape of these prisoners, Palij played an indispensable role in ensuring that they met their tragic fate at the hands of the Nazis."

The deportation order was never implemented, however, after getting bogged down in a lengthy appeals process.

Speaking with Fox News, Trump said that he had taken a personal interest in the case, and since the 2016 presidential campaign, had wanted to ensure that Palij’s deportation order was carried out.

“I have a lot of Jewish friends who said to me about this man living in Queens,” said Trump.

“That's where I grew up. And he was… not just a prison guard, he was a prison guard that supervised the killing of many, many Jews… And he's lived here for decades. And he walks the street of Jackson Heights. I know Jackson Heights very well. I walked the same streets.”

Locals lobbied Trump prior to his election to guarantee that Palij was removed from the country.

“People came up to me… they tell me about this Nazi who lived in Queens, who walks the street like he owns the place.”

Trump said a local Democratic lawmaker later expressed his gratitude for securing Palij’s deportation.

“The Obama administration was unable to pull it off and frankly the Bush administration was unable to pull it off and I was able to pull it off.”

“Dov Hikind, who's a very Democrat assemblyman from New York… He was giving me such praise. It was so nice. He said ‘thank you, Mr. President. Thank you’. It was so nice to watch, because of the fact he's a Democrat.”