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Jakiw Palij: the quiet New York pensioner who stood guard as Holocaust victims were gunned down by Nazis

Jakiw Palij led two lives. There was the quiet pensioner who lived in the New York borough of Queens and spent his time caring for his sick wife and tinkering with his beloved vintage car. And there was the young man who stood guard at a Nazi concentration camp while the SS made 6,000 Jews dig their own graves and played waltzes by Johann Strauss to drown out the sound as they machine-gunned them.

By the time the 95-year-old Mr Palij was deported to Germany in the early hours of Tuesday morning, his secret had been out for years. But when he arrived in the US in 1949 he convinced the authorities he was just another refugee, and for the next 40 years, as he became an American citizen, he kept…

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