Reuters (UK newswire)
Wednesday 18 July 2012
Hungary detains man, 97,
accused of torturing Jews
in World War II
by Gergely Szakacs
BUDAPEST -- Hungarian prosecutors on Wednesday detained a 97-year-old man accused of whipping Jewish prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two and helping to deport them to Auschwitz concentration camp.
Nazi-hunters from the Simon Wiesenthal Center had named Laszlo Csatary, a Hungarian national, as their most wanted war crimes suspect.
Prosecutors in Budapest said he had hit Jewish prisoners with a dogs' whip when he was a police commander in the Nazi-occupied town of Kosice, which was then part of Hungary and is now in Slovakia. He has denied the accusations.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center says it provided Hungary with evidence that in 1944 Csatary helped to organize the deportation of around 16,000 Jews to the Auschwitz death camp from Kosice.
"Today the Budapest Prosecution Office has taken Laszlo Csatary into custody and has questioned him on suspicion of war crimes," prosecutor Tibor Ibolya told a news conference.
Ibolya said Csatary, who was in good physical and mental condition for his age, was co-operating with investigators.
Prosecutors accuse Csatary of "war crime committed by unlawful torture of human beings," which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In a statement, they said Csatary was in charge of a camp based in a brick factory where close to 12,000 Jews were deported from the town's surroundings.
It was not immediately clear why the Hungarian figures differed from those provided by the Wiesenthal Centre earlier.
Prosecutors also say Csatary was involved in the deportation of the nearly 12,000 Jews in Kosice to death camps, most of them to Auschwitz. The English-language statement said Csatary was present and involved.
In one specific incident in June 1944, the prosecutors said Csatary has refused the request of a Jewish prisoner, crammed in a wagon with nearly 80 other people, to let air in.
At a hearing in Budapest, Csatary was put under house arrest for 30 days, his lawyer, Gabor Horvath, told reporters.
"We have appealed this decision and a higher court will decide whether this stands or not," Horvath said about the house arrest.
Csatary did not speak to reporters when he left the prosecutors' building, surrounded by relatives who ushered him into a car.
The case is expected to last several months.
Another suspect, former Hungarian gendarme officer Sandor Kepiro, died aged 97 in September in Budapest after a court cleared him of involvement in killing more than 1,000 civilians in the Serb city of Novi Sad in 1942.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than/Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)
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hes 97 why now its to late let it go many people did evil things back then its awful but its been 50+ years its time to move on
Jul 18, 2012 12:37pm EDT
Will we start arresting the Zionists who enabled Hitlers war machine to grow? Or the Jews who abused the people of Germany after WW1 and caused the Nazi movement to begin?
Anyone ever wonder why Jews cant get along with any nation in the history of the world, or do we dismiss that as every nation in the history of the world are all Nazis?
Jul 18, 2012 1:44pm EDT
I do not know the whole story, but the worst charge I see in the article is he whipped people?
It seems to me that a statute of limitations ought to apply at some point. It would be different if he were a high level person directly involved in the extermination, but I do not see what is to be gained by prosecuting a 97 year old man for essentially committing assault after 68 years…
Jul 18, 2012 2:19pm EDT
The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers.
A few facts:
Between 1941-1944, Csatary a senior police officer, beat, brutalized and sent 16,000 Jews to their deaths in the Ukraine and Auschwitz. He perpetrated his evil deeds in thecity of Kosice, where, in 1944, Hungarian authorities transferred thousands of Hungarian Jews to German control and transport to the Auschwitz death camp. Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Final Solution, personally visited there in late April 1944 to supervise the campaign to destroy Europe’s lost Jewish community. The total hopelessness is mirrored in these desperate words from a Kosice Jew awaiting his death enroute from Hungary to Auschwitz:
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE CASE:
· In 1948, Csatary was convicted in absentia in Czechoslovakia for war crimes andsentenced to death
· He escaped to Canada and lived under an assumed identity working as an art dealer
· He fled Canada when he was discovered in 1997 while the Canadian government was building a case for his deportation
· He was discovered in Budapest almost a year ago after SWC Chief Nazi Hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff received a tip through ‘Operation Last Chance’
Jul 18, 2012 2:59pm EDT