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The Latest: German official: Holocaust justice ‘obligation’

August 21, 2018
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In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, frame from video, Jakiw Palij, a former Nazi concentration camp guard, is carried on a stretcher from his home in the Queens borough of New York. Palij, the last Nazi war crimes suspect facing deportation from the U.S. was taken from his home and spirited early Tuesday morning to Germany, the White House said. (ABC via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the deportation of former Nazi death camp guard Jakiv Palij from the U.S. to Germany (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Germany’s Foreign Minister says that the country has a “moral obligation” to seek justice for victims of the Holocaust, after 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij was deported to Germany.

Heiko Maas says “there is no line under historical responsibility,” adding in comment to German newspaper Bild that doing justice to the memory of Nazi atrocities “means standing by our moral obligation to the victims and the subsequent generations.”

Palij landed in the western German city of Duesseldorf on Tuesday. The local government in Warendorf county, near Muenster, indicated that Palij would be taken to a care facility in the town of Ahlen.

German prosecutors have previously said it does not appear that there’s enough evidence to charge Palij with wartime crimes.

Now that he is in Germany, Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he hoped prosecutors would revisit the case.

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12:15 p.m.

The U.S. ambassador to Germany says President Donald Trump instructed him to make it a priority to secure the deportation of a Nazi war crimes suspect from the U.S. to Germany.

Richard Grenell, who arrived in Germany earlier this year, said the new German government, which took office in March, brought “new energy” to the matter of 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij.

The deportation Tuesday came after weeks of diplomatic negotiations. Palij, who lived in New York, has admitted lying to get into the U.S., but says he spent World War II as a farmer and factory worker.

Grenell told reporters that there were “difficult conversations” because Palij is not a German citizen and was stateless after losing his U.S. citizenship, but “the moral obligation” of taking in “someone who served in the name of the German government was accepted.”

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10:15 a.m.

The White House says a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been deported to Germany, 14 years after a judge ordered his expulsion.

In a statement, the White House said the deportation of Jakiv Palij, who lived in New York City, was carried out early Tuesday.

After World War II, Palij hid his involvement in the slaughter of Jews at the Trawniki camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and gained entry to the U.S. by claiming he was a farmer and factory worker.

Though a judge ordered Palij deported in 2004, he continued to live in limbo at his home in Queens because no country would accept him.

Palij’s fate in Germany is unclear as prosecutors have previously indicated there doesn’t appear to be enough evidence to bring wartime charges.

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