AP — Major events in the life of Jakiw Palij, the 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard who was deported to Germany last August after living quietly in the US for decades. Local media reported he died on Wednesday at a care home in Ahlen.
Early life and Nazi service
- Aug. 16, 1923: Born in Piadyki, Poland, now P’yadyky, Ukraine.
- September 1939: Soviet Union occupies Piadyki shortly after start of World War II.
- June 1941: Nazi Germany seizes Piadyki after invading Soviet Union.
- Early 1943: Nineteen-year-old Palij is recruited into Nazi service.
- February 1943: Reports to Trawniki training camp and is assigned to guard an adjacent labor camp where thousands of Jews are held.
- March 1944: Assigned to the Deployment Company, whose mission includes arresting suspected Jews and sending them to concentration camps.
- Late 1944: Assigned to the Streibel Battalion, which forces Polish civilians into slave labor.
- February 1945: Palij’s battalion clears rubble from the bombing of Dresden.
- May 1945: Germany surrenders.
- April 30, 1948: A fellow Piadyki-born Nazi guard, listed in records as Nikolaj Gutsulyak or Mykola Hutsulyak, tells Soviet authorities that he served with Palij at Trawniki.
- Early 1949: Palij asks US Displaced Persons Commission to designate him a displaced person eligible to immigrate to the US He doesn’t disclose his Nazi service, providing an alternate timeline of his life during the war, saying he worked on his father’s farm in Piadyki, then farmed in Germany and finally worked in a Germany factory.
- June 1949: The commission, unaware of Hutsulyak’s comments, deems Palij a displaced person.
- July 22, 1949: Palij, 25, arrives in Boston on the SS Gen. Heintzelman, a US military transport ship, from Bremerhaven, Germany.
Becoming a US citizen
- March 22, 1957: Palij, 33, files petition for naturalization to become US citizen. He and fellow Trawniki guard Jaroslaw Bilaniuk list the same New York address on their papers. Another guard, Mykola Wasylyk, serves as a witness for Palij’s naturalization.
- April 22, 1957: Palij is granted US citizenship.
- April 30, 1960: Palij marries Maria Turczan at a Ukrainian Catholic Church in Manhattan. Bilaniuk, who is from Palij’s hometown, serves as a witness.
- 1966: The couple purchases a home near LaGuardia Airport in Queens from a Polish Jewish couple who survived the Holocaust and were not aware of his past.
Exposed and deported
- Dec. 6, 1989: Hutsulyak tells authorities in Canada that Palij is “living somewhere in America.”
- 1990: US investigators find Palij’s name in Czech records. Investigators ask Russia and other countries for records on him.
- Aug. 6, 1993: US investigators confront Palij at his home.
- October 2011: Investigators interview Palij for a second time. He signs statement acknowledging he was a Trawniki guard and served in the Streibel Battalion.
- 2002: Asserting his Fifth Amendment rights, Palij refuses to answer investigators’ questions once the government initiates legal action against him, saying that “the answer might tend to incriminate me.”
- 2003: Citizenship revoked.
- 2004: Deportation ordered, but Germany, Poland and Ukraine refuse to take him.
- Aug. 20, 2018: Palij, 95, is rousted from his New York City home and deported to Germany.
- Jan. 9, 2019: Dies in a care home in Ahlen.