NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. officials are moving to deport an elderly New York City man whom they accuse of being a Nazi guard.
Jakiw Palij, 80, is a retired draftsman who has lived in Queens for more than half a century.
But now the Polish-born Palij, who immigrated as a war refugee in 1949, is being pursued by federal investigators who say he was a Nazi guard, complicit in some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust, the New York Times reported Friday.
Last July a judge stripped him of his U.S. citizenship, setting up his deportation. And on Wednesday federal officials announced deportation proceedings would begin.
The officials say Palij worked at the Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during 1943 where some 6,000 Jews were killed and buried in pits.
"I know what they say, but I was never a collaborator," Palij said Wednesday, claiming that the Nazis forced many young Polish men to work as guards.
U.S. officials do not accuse him personally of any atrocities. Rather, they say that by cooperating as a Nazi guard Palij "directly contributed to their eventual slaughter" by either forcing prisoners to work or preventing them from escaping.
Palij, who has suffered two strokes, lives on Social Security checks and takes care of his wife, Maria, 72, who has Alzheimer's disease.