An accused former Nazi who moved to Queens more than a half century ago is hearing it from protesters who want him to face punishment. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Chanting words like "kick him out" and "coward," dozens lined the sidewalk outside the Jackson Heights home of Jakiw Palij to demand his removal from the U.S.
Despite years of demonstrations led by Jewish groups seeking his deportation, Palij lives a mostly quiet life here.
"He doesn't belong in our country," said Rabbi Zev Friedman, who organized the protest. "He shouldn't be getting police protection here. He shouldn't be getting mail delivery here. He shouldn't be getting the same rights that you and I have as citizens here.
Palij is accused of being an SS guard at slave labor camps in Poland where thousands of Jews died.
In court filings, he has denied wrongdoing. But his American citizenship was revoked years ago, and in 2004, a federal judge ordered him deported him to Germany, Ukraine or Poland to possibly stand trial. But those countries have refused to accept him, leaving him in limbo, since he cannot be arrested and tried in the U.S. on the charges.
"We think the moral responsibility is on Germany," Friedman said. "We are hoping that Germany will take him back and put him on trial."
Palij, who says he was forced to become a guard at 18, has denied killing anyone. Federal officials say he contributed to their death by either forcing prisoners to work or preventing them from escaping.
Over the years, there have been several protests outside his door. But this time, some of Palij's neighbors were heard yelling for Rabbi Zev Friedman and his group of mostly high school students to leave the now-elderly man alone. Two men who said they have known Palij since they were children sat on his stoop to show their support.
"I don't view him as a 92-year-old nice old man. I view him as a 20-year-old that was involved in murder that has escaped justice for 72 years," Friedman said.
Friedman says he needs to pay for his crimes and that he will continue to push for deportation until that happens or Palij dies, whichever comes first.