NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) has launched an ad campaign urging the expulsion of all illegal Nazi war criminals from the U.S. once and for all.
Hikind, himself the son of Holocaust survivors, was set to release the campaign in newspapers and on Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus shelters beginning next week. The ads ask the question, "Would you be a Nazi's neighbor?"
"The idea that you would have a Nazi living in our community, down the block, enjoying the free air America while this person was involved in the murder of innocent men, women and children is just something that is difficult to live with," Hikind told 1010 WINS.
In particular, Hikind pointed to the case of Jakiw Palij, a Queens resident who worked as an armed guard at an SS slave labor camp for Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II and helped keep prisoners from escaping, according to court documents.
Palij has denied the allegations, but he has been stripped of his U.S. citizenship. Still, the U.S. government has been unable to deport him.
Hikind said following a demonstration outside Palij's house in November, many people became interested in the effort to expel Nazi war criminals.
"We've demonstrated outside of his house – this guy Palij in Queens – with Holocaust survivors, so this is an effort that people know what they're doing. They're getting in touch with us. They want to be part of it. They want to support it in every single way," he said.
Hikind said even though the Department of Justice is trying to remove the war criminals from the U.S., more needs to be done. Thus, he is trying to apply more pressure with the ads to speed up the process.
He said he wants Germany to deal with Nazi war criminals.
"It really is to apply pressure to Germany. Germany is the architecture of the Holocaust," Hikind said. "They were responsible. They need to take these people back and put them on trial, and this is part of that effort, along with what the Justice Department is already doing."
Hikind said he is in contact with the Justice Department Office of Special Investigations, which he said is actively working to remove the war criminals.
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