United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell credited President Donald Trump for making the deportation of a known former Nazi guard to German a priority.
”The president asked me to do this so I made a point to bring it up at every single meeting … they could tell that we were making it a priority,” Grenell said in a briefing with White House reporters about his conversations with German officials.
The 95-year-old former Nazi guard Jakiw Palij was deported on Tuesday morning from New York City to Germany.
Although previous administrations had failed to convince Germany to accept the 95-year-old Nazi guard, currently living in New York City, Grenell said he was successful.
Grenell said that he made a “moral case” to German officials and cabinet members and urged them to take him back even though he was not a German citizen.
“The previous approach had been trying to work through the legal argument, the reality is that I made a moral argument about that fact that the German government had a moral obligation because this individual served in the name of the former German government,” he said.
Grenell thanked German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Germany Interior Minister Horst Seehofer for bringing “new energy” to the case, working with the State Department to find a solution. He added that many German officials that he spoke with were not familiar with the case until he brought it up.
One administration official credited Rabbi Zev Friedman for leading protests at Palij’s house in New York City for many years to make sure that the public never forgot about the case. He also credited the New York Post for covering the protests.