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The poor health of an elderly Jackson Heights man accused of lying about his alleged Nazi past to enter the country is not preventing the case against him from moving forward, according to published reports.
The federal government is seeking to revoke the citizenship of Jakiw Palij, 78, of 33-18 89th St., a Polish immigrant who allegedly served as a Nazi guard at a forced labor camp during a campaign that killed 1.7 million Jews in Poland, according to court papers.
His attorney, Ivars Berzins, asked U.S. Magistrate Viktor Pohorelsky during a hearing Monday in Brooklyn federal court to give him more time to prepare because Palij was being uncooperative, the Daily News said. He is not only dealing with his own health problems but is also consumed with the care of his wife, who has Alzheimers disease, Berzins told the court.
But the judge ordered Palij to appear for a deposition Nov. 21, prosecutor Steven Kim said Tuesday.
The U.S. attorneys office for the Eastern District has charged Palij with illegally obtaining his citizenship and is now trying to revoke it, according to a complaint filed in May.
Palij denied the allegations in court papers, claiming he was a farmer and factory worker during the war, the News reported.
Palij was not available for comment, and a secretary for Berzins said he would not discuss the case.
In 1949, Palij allegedly hid his Nazi past to qualify as a displaced person, claiming he had served as a farmer and factory worker during the length of the war, the complaint said.
He was eventually awarded a visa and entered the United States in Boston on July 22, 1949, earning his citizenship in April 1957.
Alan Vinegrad, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District York, is asking the court to revoke Palijs citizenship and issue a judgment forever restraining and enjoining (him) from claiming any rights, privileges, benefits, or advantages under any document evidencing United States citizenship.
The complaint does not charge Palij with directly killing anyone but asserts that he acquiesced in activities or conduct contrary to civilization and human decency, which made him ineligible to receive a visa.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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