World's most wanted Nazi arrested in Hungary

Hungarian authorities detained, grilled and put under house arrest on Wednesday a 97-year-old who tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center's dwindling wanted-list of suspected Nazi war criminals.

Laszlo Csatary, accused by the Wiesenthal Center of organising the World War II deportation to their deaths of some 16,000 Jews from the ghetto of Kosice in present-day Slovakia, however protested his innocence.

"Our viewpoint is that at this age, being under house arrest is already quite a shock," state prosecutor Tibor Ibolya said. "We have to make sure that this man remains alive and is able to stand trial."

"One of his arguments in his defence is that he was obeying orders."

Clutching a plastic bag, dressed in a grey jacket and surprisingly sprightly for his age, the former senior police officer said nothing as he was whisked away in a car by two friends or relatives.

This followed his early-morning arrest in the Hungarian capital Budapest and several hours of questioning by an investigating magistrate at a military prosecution office.

"The suspect is in good physical and mental health. He is being cooperative. He was surprised (about being arrested) but he expected to be questioned," Ibolya said.

Csatary, full name Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary, helped run the Jewish ghetto in Kosice, a town now in Slovakia that was visited in April 1944 by Adolf Eichmann, a key figure in the Nazis' Final Solution, the Wiesenthal Center says.

While there between 1941 and 1944, Csatary beat and brutalized Jews and sent 16,000 to their deaths in Ukraine and to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz extermination camp, it says.

In 1948, a Czechoslovakian court condemned Csatary to death in absentia but he made it to Canada where he lived and worked as an art dealer before being stripped of his citizenship there in the 1990s.

He ended up in Budapest where he has lived freely ever since, until the Wiesenthal Center alerted Hungarian authorities last year.

British tabloid The Sun raised attention to his case with a report at the weekend after tracking down the old man, photographing him and confronting him at his front door.

Acting on the information provided by the Wiesenthal Center, which was supplemented by fresh evidence last week, prosecutors began an investigation in September.

Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi-hunter, welcomed the arrest and urged Hungarian authorities "to complete the rest of the judicial process and bring Csatary to justice as quickly as possible."

He said: "This is the debt owed to his many victims who were tortured and sent to be murdered at Auschwitz. The passage of time does not diminish the guilt of the killers and old age should not afford protection to the perpetrators of Holocaust crimes."

The fact that Csatary lived freely in Hungary for some 15 years and the lack of progress by prosecutors also added to worries about the direction of the EU member state under right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Almost exactly a year ago, a court in Budapest acquitted Hungarian Sandor Kepiro, 97, of charges of ordering the execution of over 30 Jews and Serbs in the Serbian town of Novi Sad in January 1942.

The Wiesenthal Center, which had also listed Kepiro as the most wanted Nazi war criminal and helped bring him to court, described the verdict as an "outrageous miscarriage of justice." Six weeks later Kepiro died.

Recent months, meanwhile, have seen something of a public rehabilitation of controversial figures, most notably of Miklos Horthy, Hungary's dictator from 1920 until 1944 when he fell out with his erstwhile ally Adolf Hitler.

Anti-Semitic writers like Albert Wass and Jozsef Nyiro, a keen supporter of the brutal Arrow Cross regime installed in power by the Nazis in 1944, have also been reintroduced into the curriculum for schools, meanwhile.

The decision by the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, Orban ally Laszlo Kover, to attend a ceremony in May honouring Nyiro, prompted Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to return Hungary's highest honour in disgust.

Holocaust survivor Wiesel, 83, said "it has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the white-washing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary's past."

A far-right website meanwhile posted photos of several dozen "anti-Hungarian" Jews" who gathered on Monday outside Csatary's flat calling for his arrest, offering a reward for information on the protestors.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options