Under the heading of “better late than never!” the last known Nazi war criminal, the 95 year old Jakiw Palij, has been arrested at his Queens home by ICE and deported to Germany. It’s justice done, yet in this summer of fear and anger, it feels hollow to focus on the past without looking at the present.
According to a press release from the State Department, Palij served as an armed guard at the Trawniki slave-labor camp for Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland during the second World War. He concealed his Nazi service when he immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1949. A federal court stripped Palij of his citizenship in 2003 and a U.S. immigration judge ordered him removed from the United States in 2004 based on his wartime activities and postwar immigration fraud. A careful reader will notice that that was 14 years ago. So, nu?