Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is furious that there are still Nazi war criminals living legally and illegally in the United States-and he’s doing something about it. Beginning this month, the 75th anniversary of the tragedy of Kristallnacht, Assemblyman Hikind is launching a campaign to bring the remaining Nazi war criminals in America to justice.
“People have the nerve to say, ‘They are old now-why bother?’ But what of the hundreds and thousands of innocent victims that were personally tortured and murdered by these criminals? Do we have no obligation to their memories?”
In July, the Associated Press reviewed U.S. Justice Department data and reported that at least 10 suspected Nazi war criminals ordered deported by the U.S. never left the country-and at least four are living here today. “Shockingly, these criminals have remained eligible for public benefits such as Social Security until they exhausted appeals,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “They came here illegally, lied on their registration and naturalization papers, and even after they were caught they were able to take advantage of the system and receive tax-payer benefits. Does it get any more outrageous than that?”
All of the illegal Nazis have been stripped of citizenship and ordered deported. Nevertheless, they have been able to carry on and live out their lives in familiar surroundings. One of the reasons attributed to the illegal Nazis remaining in the U.S. is that their countries of origin do not want them back. This is currently the case of Vladas Zajanckauskas in Sutton, Massachusetts; Theodor Szehinskyj in West Chester, Pennsylvania; John Kalymon in Troy, Michigan; and Jakiw Palij in Queens, New York.
“A Nazi murderer living in Queens,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “Is this a bad joke? If it is, we aren’t laughing.”
While the U.S. can deport these men over evidence of involvement in Nazi war crimes, they cannot put them on trial because their crimes took place outside of the U.S. The responsibility to prosecute is thrust on the countries where the crimes were committed.
“As far as I’m concerned, this farce has gone on too long,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “We don’t want these murderers living among us, among the descendants of the men, women and children their tortured. That is beyond adding insult to injury-it is a mockery. It is our obligation to root out the evil from among us. If their native countries don’t want these Nazi murderers back, then put them on a boat and send them off. They have no right to enjoy the freedoms they denied others.”
This Sunday, Nov. 10, members of the community will join Assemblyman Hikind, Rabbi Zev Friedman of Rambam Mesivta in Lawrence, NY, students from Rambam Mesivta, and Holocaust survivors as they stage a rally in front of the home of Nazi War Criminal Jakiw Palij at 10 AM at 33-18 89th St in Jackson Heights, New York.