Led by Assembly Members Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) and Michael Simanowitz (D-Queens), numerous members of the New York State Assembly, including Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle, are urging U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to finally deport Nazi Jakiw Palij from the United States. A letter signed by more than 85members of the Assembly from both sides of the aisle insists that Palij, a decades-long resident of Queens, New York, no longer be allowed the privileges of law-abiding citizens.
During World War II, Palij worked at the notorious Treblinka death camp, where thousands of innocent men, women and children were murdered and thrown into pits. He was also an armed guard at the nearby Trawinki training camp, where Nazi troops were trained to carry out the extermination of Polish Jews.
Palij came to America claiming that he was a farmer and war refugee, concealing his work as a Nazi guard, and was granted citizenship in 1957. After the revelations about his past became known, he was subsequently stripped of his U.S. citizenship, which was obtained illegally and under false pretenses. His deportation order was upheld by the courts in 2004 but as of today, Palij remains a resident of Queens.
“The rights and freedoms we enjoy in America should not extend to those who helped facilitate the death of countless innocent people,” said Hikind, who has been working to deport Palij for more than a decade. Hikind’s parents were Holocaust survivors. “Palij’s presence here mocks the memory of the millions who perished,” he said. “There is no question of his guilt. It is imperative that someone responsible for Nazi atrocities be held accountable for his crimes. While his victims can no longer seek justice, we must, and with this new administration and Attorney General, there’s reason to believe we’ll see that justice. I’m never giving up.”
“Jakiw Palij’s presence in Queens is an insult to the memories of millions of Holocaust victims, and those who continue to bear their pain to this day,” said Assemblyman Simanowitz. “The atrocities committed by Palij are unspeakable; to gift him the hard fought freedoms of this country is intolerable. I stand with my colleagues in calling for his deportation and for justice to be served.”
Both Hikind and Simanowitz recognized Rabbi Zev Friedman from Rambam Mesifta for keeping the spotlight on Palij over the years with numerous demonstrations outside of the Nazi’s home.
85 Assembly Members signed. In addition to Majority Leader Morelle, Hikind, Simanowitz, these members signed:
Peter J. Abbate, Jr. (D-Kings), Thomas J. Abinanti (D-Greenburgh), Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx), Ken Blankenbush (R-Black River), Karl Barbenec (R-Westbrookvile), Kevin M. Byrne (R-Mahopac), Kevin A. Cahill (D-Kingston), Ron Castorina, Jr. (R-Staten Island), William Colton (D-Kings), Vivian E. Cook (D-Jamaica), Clifford W. Crouch (D-Bainbridge), Brain Curran (R-Lynbrook), Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island), Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Kings), Anthony D’Urso (R-Nassau), Carmen N. De La Rosa (D-New York), Michael G. DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst), Erik M. Dilan (D-Kings), Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Joseph A. Errigo (R-Conesus), Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), Christopher S. Friend (R-Big Flats), David F. Gantt (D-Rochester), Joseph M. Giglio (R-Gownada), Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx), Deborah J. Glick (D- Manhattan), Andy Goodell (R-Jamestown), Al Graf (R-Holbrook), Pamela Harris (D-Kings), Stephen Hawley (R-Batavia), Pamela J. Hunter (D-Syracuse), Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights), Mark Johns (R-Webster), Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan), Michael P. Kearns (D-Buffalo), Ron Kim (D-Flushing), Kieran Michael Lalor (R-Fishkill), Charles D. Lavine (D-Glen Cove), Peter Lawrence (R-Greece), Joseph R. Lentol (D-Kings), Peter D. Lopez (R-Schoharie), Chad A. Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station), William B. Magnarelli (D-Syracuse), Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers), David G. McDonough (R-Merrick), Steven F. McLaughlin (R-Melrose), Brian D. Miller (D-Glendale), Michael Miller (D-Glendale), Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head), Joseph D. Morelle (D-Rochester), Angelo J. Morinello (R- Niagara Falls), Walter T. Mosley (D-Kings), Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue), Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), Michael J. Norris (R-Lockport), Felix W. Ortiz (D-Kings), Steven Otis (D-Rye), Philip A. Palmesano (R-Corning), Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), N. Nick Perry (D-Kings), Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach), Victor M. Pichardo (D-Bronx), Edward P. Ra (R-Franklin Square), Andrew P. Raia (R-Northport), Phil Ramos (D-Bay Shore), Jose Rivera (D-Bronx), Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows), Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), Luis R. Sepulveda (D-Bronx), Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), Frank Skartados (D-Milton), Dan Stec (R-Queensbury), Al Stirpe (D-North Syracuse), Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island), Clyde Vanel (D-Queens), Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster), Mary Beth Walsh (R-Ballston), Raymond Walter (R-East Amherst), Helene E. Weinstein (D-Kings), David I. Weprin (D-Queens).
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