Protests held outside New York home of accused Nazi guard

Nov. 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A 91-year-old New York man identified as an alleged former Nazi death camp guard says demonstrations outside his home no longer faze him.

"I'm starting to get used to it," said Jakiw Palij after 130 people, organized by local Jewish community leaders, demonstrated Sunday outside his Jackson Heights home in Queens.

Palij has been the target of demonstrations for a decade, since the U.S. Department of Justice identified him as a guard in a Nazi camp in Poland, the New York Post said Monday. He has been stripped of his U.S. citizenship but no country will take him.

"In that camp they took us. They did not give us Nazi uniforms. They gave us guard uniforms. If you tried to run away, they take your family and shoot all of them. I am not SS. I have nothing to do with SS," Palij said.

Rally leader Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Assemblyman and child of Holocaust survivors, said, "There are four people, Nazis, still alive in this country, that we know about. We're not going to let them enjoy their lives, their freedom."

"It's an outrage that people like Palij can walk the streets of Jackson Heights," said Rabbi Zev Friedman, who brought 100 students from the Rambam Mesivta school in Lawrence, N.Y., to demonstrate on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a 1938 campaign of terror against Jews in Germany and Austria.

Several of Palij's neighbors said they objected more to the presence of the demonstrators than Palij's presence, the newspaper said.

"He's a feeble old man. He's no threat to anyone," said neighbor Gerry Fils-Maime.

"Every year they come and scare my children," said another neighbor, Juan Azzaro. "Look at them, up on the stoop, pounding on his door."

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Topics: Dov Hikind
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