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Hungary criticised after Nazi war crimes suspect Csatary dies before his trial

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Hungary criticised after Nazi war crimes suspect Csatary dies before his trial


Laszlo Csatary goes to his grave without being brought to justice for the wartime atrocities he was accused of carrying out.

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre expressed deep disappointment at the news of his death last Saturday, and criticised the Hungarian authorities.

Despite earlier exposure as a major war crimes suspect, the 98-year-old had spent the last 15 years living freely in Hungary, until his arrest in Budapest last year.

Csatary always denied being a brutal commander who sent thousands of Jews from an internment camp in what is now Slovakia, to their deaths at Auschwitz.

Officials at the city’s Great Synagogue have been reacting to the news of his death.

“He did not escape in a traditional way. He was a hunted man, he was somebody facing judgement before his death,” said rabbi Zoltan Radnoti.

After the war, Csatary was sentenced to death in his absence in Czechoslovakia in 1948, a conviction later commuted to life imprisonment.

He fled to Hungary after his cover was blown in Canada in the 1990s.

Gusztav Zoltai, a Holocaust survivor who is now head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, said: “How could I forgive? I lost 17 members of my family during the Holocaust, including my parents. I have no right to forgive! If I do, I’d violate their memories. But reconciliation is our duty.”

More than 500,000 people in Hungary died at the hands of the Nazis and their allies.

Two-thirds of Hungary’s Jewish community was killed between 1941 and 1945.

Csatary had been due to go on trial in Slovakia next month.

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