Hungary charges Nazi war crimes suspect (98)
László Csatáry accused of beating Jewish prisoners and helping organise their deportation to extermination camps
László Csatáry is charged with the unlawful execution and torture of people, thus committing war crimes partly as a perpetrator, partly as an accomplice, said a spokeswoman for the chief prosecutor’s office in Budapest. Photograph: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh
Hungarian prosecutors have charged a 98-year-old man with torturing Jews and sending thousands to death camps during the second World War.
László Csatáry was a police officer and allegedly the head of a detention camp in Kosice, a town in Slovakia that was controlled by Hungary during the war. He is accused of beating and whipping Jewish prisoners and helping organise their deportation to Auschwitz and other extermination camps.
About 12,000 Jews are believed to have been sent to their deaths from Kosice. “He is charged with the unlawful execution and torture of people, [thus] committing war crimes partly as a perpetrator, partly as an accomplice,” said a spokeswoman for the chief prosecutor’s office in Budapest.
Csatáry is thought to have “regularly beat the interned Jews with his bare hands and whipped them with a dog-whip for no special reason, regardless of their sex, age or health”, prosecutors said.
Csatáry, who is expected to go on trial within three months, denied the accusations when put under house arrest last year in Budapest. He fled Kosice after the war and, in 1948, a Czechoslovak court found him guilty in absentia of war crimes and sentenced him to death. He is believed to have arrived the following year in Canada, where for decades he lived incognito as an art dealer.
Csatáry was stripped of Canadian citizenship after his true identity was revealed in 1995. Two years later, he left Canada and is believed to have returned to Hungary. He was tracked down last summer by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.