New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) led a group of Holocaust survivors in beseeching German Chancellor Angela Merkel to put Jakiw Palij on trial for his war crimes. Palij, who served as an armed guard at the Trawniki forced-labor camp under the direction of the then German government, participated in the extermination of some 6,000 Jews. Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell and President Donald Trump, Palij was finally removed from his home in Queens, New York, and deported to Germany last month.
“Palij played an active and indisputable role in the tragic murder of these innocent people,” said Hikind and a group of survivors from Aushwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp, in a letter to Chancellor. “As an armed guard at the Trawniki forced-labor camp, under the direction of the then German government, Palij and his fellow Nazis subjected prisoners to inhumane conditions, and in November 1943, some 6,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot to death in one of the largest single massacres of the Holocaust.”
After Palij was discovered living illegally in Jackson, NY, Hikind and others spent nearly 14 years working to deport him. This year, Hikind redoubled his efforts in an effort to bring the issue directly to the attention of President Trump who ultimately agreed with Hikind and directed Ambassador Grenell to get the Nazi deported.
“On behalf of the undersigned Holocaust survivors, as well as the thousands who still remain alive, I applaud your country’s decision to accept Jakiw Palij following a U.S. Federal Court decision ordering his removal from the United States in 2004,” Hikind wrote to Merkel. “This action demonstrates to the world that while justice may move slowly, ultimately it does prevail.
“The removal of Palij from the United States to Germany was the product of the close cooperation between our two governments. This however, must serve as the first step in ultimately obtaining justice on behalf of those massacred. Placing Palij on trial would give Holocaust survivors a measure of comfort knowing that their horrible ordeal ended in justice for them, as well as those who perished.”
(YWN World Headquaters- NYC)