An elderly Nazi soldier was stripped of his US citizenship and at the order of President Trump deported to Germany according to a report:
German authorities are unlikely to ever bring to trial a 95-year-old former second world war concentration camp guard who was deported from the US earlier this week, the country’s leading Nazi hunter has said.
Jens Rommel, who heads the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg, said there was not enough evidence to prosecute Jakiw Palij, whom US authorities accuse of involvement in war crimes.
“Right now there is no investigation into him in Germany, which means there is no arrest warrant and as a result it is not very likely that he will ever be convicted,” Rommel told the broadcaster Deutsche Welle on Wednesday.
Palij was taken from his home in Queens, New York City, on Monday, in a wheelchair and wrapped in a white sheet, and flown from New Jersey to Düsseldorf airport in Germany, where an ambulance took him to a retirement home, where he is likely to live out the rest of his days.
US authorities accuse him of participation in the deaths of 6,000 Jewish men, women and children, a charge Palij denies.
The German government has acknowledged its moral responsibility to receive Palij, who could not be prosecuted in the US, and whom other countries such as Poland, where he was born, and Ukraine, where the place of his birth is now located, have refused to take in.
But as Germany fiercely debated the case and the diplomatic wrangling between Berlin and Washington that delayed his deportation for 14 years, some questioned the value of placing him in a German care home.
“Palij will spend the rest of his life here,” an editorial in the left-leaning Taz read. “The Nazi collaborator will now be cared for, receive financial help, a roof, food, clothing, paid for by the state.”
But the paper acknowledged: “Even though there is not enough evidence to prosecute him, nevertheless it is good that Germany has taken him in, because the crimes of national socialism bring with them responsibility … after all, were it not for the Germans, Palij would never have become a Nazi collaborator.”
While authorities in the southern city of Würzburg had been trying to bring a case against Palij since 2016, Rommel said that investigation had been closed because no evidence was ever found linking Palij to any murders.
“His transfer from the USA doesn’t change anything about the state of evidence,” he added. “In theory, prosecutors in Würzburg could resume their proceedings in case something changed, but for that proof would be necessary in particular, which would bring the person into direct connection with the crimes, and that is what has been missing so far.”
Rommel’s institute continues to actively search for Nazi criminals in Germany and abroad, passing on an average of 30 cases to prosecutors every year.
Palij was trained by the SS, the Nazi elite corps, in the Trawniki concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1941. So-called “Trawniki” men like him learned the methods of rounding up Jewish prisoners, and went on to take part in the Holocaust in Treblinka, Bełżec and Sobibór concentration camps.
After the war, Palij was given US residency after lying about his status, receiving US citizenship in 1957. That was revoked in 2003 after US investigators discovered Palij had covered up his service in a Nazi camp.
Palij has never possessed German citizenship. It has emerged that his current legal residency status in Germany is based on a clause of the residency law under which non-Germans can be transferred to Germany if “international law or urgent humanitarian reasons” requires it, or “to protect the political interests of Germany”.
The White House and the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, have called Palij’s deportation a moral victory for the Donald Trump administration, citing months of negotiations with the German government. Protesters have regularly gathered outside Palij’s US home in recent years urging authorities to deport him.
Palij is believed to have been in Germany only once, shortly after the end of the second world war in a camp for displaced persons, before his transfer to the US.
He is believed to have suffered two strokes in recent years. Following his arrival at Düsseldorf airport on Monday, photos showed him emerging from the plane walking unaided to an ambulance flanked by two careworkers.
Journalists were gathering on Wednesday in Ahlen, a town in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia where he is living, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the alleged war criminal. A spokesman for the local district of Warendorf confirmed his presence and said the state would be responsible for the costs of Palij’s accommodation and care.
A state chancellery spokesman told German media that ahead of Palij’s arrival efforts had been made to find accommodation “which took into account the demanding circumstances of this case”. (source)
The Palij case is interesting in light of the US history with National Socialists. Contrary to America “fighting” Nazis, and while she did put some to death, the historical reality is that the United States Government actively sought out, saved, gave citizenship, high-paying jobs in top positions in the government and later with major companies, and protected until death the scientists, propagandists, and other intellectuals who ran the German and Japanese war machines. The program was called “Operation Paperclip,” and it went on until about 1957 according to declassified documents.
All of the men brought over via Paperclip were well-known Nazis who were the brains behind the German war machine. Taking them over was the equivalent of cutting Germany’s brain out and transferring it to the USA, and she did not care about the crimes they committed.
Walter Schreiber was one of those individuals. Based at Walter Reed Veteran’s Hospital, he helped to design the American bioweapons program. He was highly experienced in the effects of biological warfare and pathogens on human beings, because during his years serving the National Socialists, he was one of the lead scientists conducting human experiments on prisoners of war as a part of the German Aktion T-4, the Nazi Eugenics program.
While Schreiber was experimenting on prisoners using biological agents, Dr. Hubertus Strughold was studying the effects of space and air travel on the human body, such as with extreme temperatures, high or low pressures, and speed. His human experiments involved freezing or cooking prisoners to death and seeing at which point they died, placing them into pressurized containers and seeing how much pressure could be applied or lost before death, including testing on six children to induce epilepsy in them. (page 45 footnote 148). His war crimes were rewarded with US citizenship, appointment to the post of Chief Scientist of NASA in 1956 where he worked for and was protected by the government until his death. It was only at the insistence of Jewish groups who pressured the government following the discovery and confirmation of his crimes, as the Justice Department refused to prosecute him, that his crimes were finally admitted, even though he is still defended for his “contributions” to the US Space program.
Theodor Benzinger was employed by the US military after World War II at Randolph Air Force Base and later at the Bioenergetic Institute of Naval Medical Research in Bethesda, MD. He was sought after and rewarded US citizenship for his work in human experimentation at Dachau in supercooling and oxygen deprivation, which involved freezing people alive, choking them with gas, and other forms of torture to see at which point they died.
Erich Traub was another Nazi who moved the USA and studied at the Rockefeller Institute for medical research and was associated with the American Bund, a Nazi organization said to have been a front for German spies in the US leading up to and during the Second World War. When the war started, he returned to Germany and worked as a virologist who experimented with diseases for the Nazis. After the war he was brought over to the USA and given a high-paying job with the government, where he worked on Plum Island developing bioweapons for the military as well as for the West German government.
Now Unit 731 was the Japanese equivalent of the German Akton T-4. Lead by Shiro Ishii, they did human experiments of equally horrific natures including testing drugs, gases, infecting people with syphillis or other diseases, freezing people alive, conducting vivisections, burning people alive, injecting them with foreign substances, and all kinds of horrors. They spared none, testing on adults, children, and babies:
At least 3,000 men, women, and children from which at least 600 every year were provided by the Kempeitai were subjected as “logs” to experimentation conducted by Unit 731 at the camp based in Pingfang alone, which does not include victims from other medical experimentation sites, such as Unit 100.
Unit 731 participants of Japan attest that most of the victims they experimented on were Chinese while a lesser percentage were Soviet, Mongolian, Korean, and other Allied POWs. The unit received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945.
Instead of being tried for war crimes after the war, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Other researchers that the Soviet forces managed to arrest first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949. The Americans did not try the researchers so that the information and experience gained in bio-weapons could be co-opted into the U.S. biological warfare program, as had happened with Nazi researchers in Operation Paperclip. On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that “additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as ‘War Crimes’ evidence”. Victim accounts were then largely ignored or dismissed in the West as communist propaganda. (source)
After the war was over, Ishii went to the Americans and was brought over, protected from war crimes charges, and given a job developing bioweapons at Fort Detrick for the US government.
There is also the case of the infamous von Braun family, whose descendants live in and dominate local politics in the Huntsville area and were directly employed at Redstone Arsenal to develop rockets for the military. One of the von Braun brothers, Magnus, has been accused of torturing prisoners and having them executed on false charges of espionage while being forced to work on the German rocket program:
“[R]eports that [Wernher] von Braun attended hangings, ordered hangings, attended hangings in SS uniform, etc., have scarcely been discussed in the literature because such testimonies lack credibility,” Neufeld wrote. “But in recent years I have received two reports from French Dora survivors that deserve more consideration.” In the first incident, survivor Georges Jouanin, whose job was to climb into upright tail sections of V-2s to install cables to the servomotor, placed a wood shoe on one of the units. He later recorded that “someone has noticed my wooden-heeled clog atop such a fragile organ, and I feel a hand pulling insistently on the end of my striped pants, thus forcing me out of the tail unit. ‘You, out of here, man, you’re committing sabotage. You shouldn’t step with your foot on this.’ I get slapped in the face twice and my head bounces against the metal panels of the tail unit. Cap in hand, I find myself in front of a man in his 30s, rather well dressed, angry, to who I am not allowed to give an explanation. The seven or eight engineers or technicians in the group of which he came out seem disconcerted, astonished… I went back to my work space and the incident seemed over, without consequences. My civilian foreman, Manger is his name, returns from break and tells me… ‘Our big boss boxed your ears! That was V. Braun.'”
In the second case, an inmate named Guy Morand testified that while testing rocket servomotors, he tried to cover for another prisoner who had mislaid a chronometer, which brought the wrath of an enraged foreman down upon him. “Like the good Nazi he was,” Morand remembered, “he immediately started shouting it was sabotage, when just at that point von Braun arrived accompanied by his usual group of people. Without even listening to my explanations, he ordered the Meister to have me given 25 strokes in his presence by an SS [man] who was there. Then, judging that the strokes weren’t sufficiently hard, he ordered that I be flogged more vigorously, and this order was then diligently carried out.” Morand went on to say that “following the floggings, von Braun made me translate that I deserved much more, that in fact I deserved to be hanged, which certainly would be the fate of the ‘Mensch’ (good-for-nothing) I was.” Morand adds that the man was “one of the inventors of the V-2” and frequently made “rapid inspections” of his work area. (source)
If one does not even count the crimes against fellow men, there is the entire fact that the American rocket program was not American, but German, built all by Nazis who were brought over through the program after the war, their records “cleansed,” and then given jobs with the military.
When the Russians began storming German and Japanese controlled areas, they arrested and put the scientists who worked with Germany and Japan to death. It was the USA who, knowing the crimes that were committed, actively protected, brought them over, “cleaned” their records, gave them jobs, and then dismissed those who talked about the camps as regurgitating “communist propaganda,” or the 1950s’ equivalent of “fake news”.
If Operation Paperclip was not bad enough, after World War II ended, the US Government proceeded to promote the very same National Socialism and ultranationalism they claimed to fight against around the world. This program was called “Operation Gladio,” and its justification was that as the Soviet Union was promoting “international” socialism, the USA would back National Socialism. You can read our study of Operation Gladio here.
Operation Gladio was said to have ended with the Cold War, but if it has then it is only in name, as the principles which it was based upon- the promotion of National Socialism in a coming war against Russia- has only continued to exist and has intensified. This is exemplified best by the recent struggle within Ukraine, where the US and German governments have backed the Azov brigades, which are a paramilitary neo-Nazi group fighting against Russia.
Operation Paperclip, Operation Gladio, and the sister programs after the Second World War and beyond are not rogue manifestations of a small or even sizeable cabal in government. These were well-designed programs that went up to the highest levels of all three branches of government. The USA actively sought out and protected the minds of those who designed, implemented, maintained, and protected the programs of genocide that defined the Second World War, while she selectively prosecuted low-level, insignificant men to give the impression that she actually was against the horrors in the camps, and her actions continue the same pattern of behavior.
This is why the intense focus on prosecuting low-level, insignificant men like Jakiw Palij are a joke in comparison with the historical reality. Remember, Palij’s crime was that of being a Nazi guard in a Nazi camp- essentially convicted of being with an employer at a certain time. This is not said to deny any potential criminal activity, but to say that if the same approach was applied to the von Braun family and the scientists brought over for the US rocket program, then the entire US Space Program should have been put on trial for war crimes because it was the Nazi scientists who created it, and with them the top generals of the US military should be on trial too for aiding and abetting known criminals and conspiring to hide their activities.
I do not want to deny the seriousness of the crimes committed by those with past associations with National Socialists or the Japanese Empire. However, if “nazi hunters” were serious about stopping real National Socialists, all they would need to do is visit Washington D.C. or any of the major US Military research installations, such as Fort Meade in Maryland or Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, as it was the military and industrial complexes of the USA who directly sought after and employed many loyal German and Japanese architects of the Reich and Empire in formal capacity. These people were not employed in spite of the war crimes that they committed, but because of the fact that they had committed crimes and wanted the knowledge they gained from them.
It is ironic that President Trump would have this man deported in light of history of the US Government in supporting National Socialism. Additionally, it is even more ironic because the first person that President Trump pardoned from his prison sentence was Shalom Rubashkin, an Orthodox Jew who was convicted of extensive tax fraud, financial theft, and numerous labor violations and then tried to flee to Israel. As the story notes, Palij was never convicted of any actual crimes other than being employed with the Nazis as a soldier. Rubashkin, on the other hand, was actively involved in defrauding his workers and the banks of their monies, which is a sin that the Bible states “cries out to Heaven for vengeance” along with homosexuality, the willful murder of the innocent, and the oppression of the widow and orphan.
“Nazi hunting” too often seems to be an excuse for people to hunt down and harass insignificant people for things they did or may have done decades ago with the force of politics and government on their side, earning “brownie points” with major industrialists, financiers, and AIPAC while ignoring that the greatest enemy is within and has not changed. Jakiw Palij was deported to Germany, which has already said they are going to transfer him to a nursing home to presumably let him die in peace.
Meanwhile, the current National Socialists are still here, working as hard as ever to revive the horrors of the last century.