Jakiw Palij, a 95-year old New York City man believed to be a former guard at a labor camp
The U.S. announced Tuesday it has deported to Germany one of the last Nazi war crimes suspects known to reside within the U.S.
Jakiw Palij, 95, was removed from his Queens, New York home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on Monday after having lied to U.S. authorities about his Nazi past when he immigrated in 1949.
Palij concealed his history as an armed guard at the Trawniki slave-labor camp for Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, initially telling immigration officials he had worked as a farmer and at a German factory during World War II.
Palij admitted to the Justice Department in 2001 that he was an armed guard at the camp in 1943, the same year when 6,000 Jewish men, women and children were brutally shot to death there.
The Trawniki camp was part of "Operation Reinhard”, a Nazi plan to kill two million Jews living in the part of Poland not formally annexed into Germany, according to the Holocaust Museum.
Palij was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 2003 "based on his wartime activities and postwar immigration fraud," according to the Justice Department.
He was subsequently ordered deported to either Germany, Poland or Ukraine, but the countries had refused to accept him, leading Palij to live in legal limbo in the U.S. where his Queens home was regularly the site of demonstrations.
Palij was born in a part of Poland that has since become Ukrainian territory.
The State Department expressed "its deep appreciation" to Berlin for accepting Palij.
The White House said Palij's deportation was the result of "extensive negotiations" between President Donald Trump and German officials.
"Despite a court ordering his deportation in 2004, past administrations were unsuccessful in removing Palij," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President Trump prioritized the removal of Palij."
Palij is the 68th Nazi removed from the United States, according to the Justice Department.