Saturday, November 11, 2017

Jewish high school students demand the U.S. boot former Nazi in rally outside his Queens home 

A group of yeshiva students got a real-life lesson in Holocaust remembrance as they rallied Thursday outside the home of a former Nazi living in Queens.

About 200 students protested in front of Jakiw Palij’s house in Jackson Heights, chanting “his hands are drenched in blood!”

The annual rally comes a month after New York’s entire congressional delegation urged Secretary of State Tillerson to boot the 94-year-old Palij. The war criminal worked as a guard at the Trawniki concentration and SS training camp in German-occupied Poland.

In November 1943, about 6,000 Jewish prisoners were shot to death during a massacre code-named Operation Harvest Festival.

When Palij arrived in the United States in 1949 he claimed he worked on his father’s farm in Poland and at a factory in Germany during the war.

In 2002, the Department of Justice moved to deport him. After a two year legal battle, a federal judge stripped Palij of his U.S. citizenship. An immigration judge later ordered he be sent to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.

But those countries have refused to take him in.

The rally was held on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 “Night of Broken Glass,” a run-up to the Holocaust when Jewish synagogues and stores in Germany were torched by roving Nazis.

“Palij, as the documents show, was a Nazi war criminal who was responsible for the murder of thousands of Jewish people,” said Rabbi Zev Friedman, who organized the rally.

“My parents were Holocaust survivors,” he added. “At the end of the day, why should a Holocaust survivor be able to walk on the same street as this Nazi?”

Students from the Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence, L.I. waived handmade signs reading, “No Palij in the USA,” “Justice NOW,” and “It’s the end of the day for Palij.”

State Assemblyman David Weprin said Palij does not belong in Queens.

“It’s so ironic that this convicted Nazi is living right here in Queens — the most diverse county in the world, where we have people from so many different religions,” he said. “He doesn’t deny that he was a guard in the Nazi concentration camps and as a result was responsible for killing thousands of Jews. He’s living here because nobody will take him.”

Sophomore Avi Koenig, 15, said it is unfair that Palij lives free in American society after all of the horror and atrocities he oversaw during his lifetime.

“It’s against American values to let a convicted war criminal be living right here, enjoying all the benefits of American society,” he said. “No war criminal should be allowed to live peacefully and without retribution or justice for years.”

The students also rallied in front of the German consulate by the United Nations in Midtown East.


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