Accused Nazi Concentration Camp Leader Dies Before Trial in Hungary

Top news these days among Hungarian and European netizens is the death of László Csizsik-Csatáry, one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals who died on Saturday, August 10 while awaiting trial in Hungary.

The 98-year-old Hungarian native who topped the dwindling list of surviving Nazi war crime suspects died in a hospital as his trial for allegedly sending nearly 16,000 Jews to death camps neared. The announcement of Csatáry's death was made by officials on Monday, August 12 in Budapest.

His lawyer stated that the Nazi war crime suspect died in the hospital over the weekend after contracting pneumonia. His death came as a setback for Holocaust survivors still seeking some justice.

A file that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had prepared on Csatáry implicated him in the deportation of 300 people from Kassa (Kosice) in 1941. In August 2012, the Budapest Prosecutor’s Office dropped these charges, saying Csatáry was not in Kassa at the time and lacked the rank to organize the transports. In January 2013, it was reported that Slovak police had found a witness to corroborate other charges relating to deportations of 15,700 Jews from Kassa from May 1944.

A group of Jewish men, women and children being led to a concentration camp during WW II; photo provided by by the German Federal Archives, used under Creative Commons 3.0 license.

A group of Jewish men, women and children being led to a concentration camp during WW II; photo provided by by the German Federal Archives, used under Creative Commons 3.0 license.

Hungarian authorities have said Csatáry was the chief of an internment camp for Jews in 1944 in Kosice, a Slovak city then part of Hungary, beating inmates with his bare hands and a dog whip. He had also been charged with assisting in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. He denied the charges.

Csatáry was sentenced to death in absentia in Czechoslovakia in 1948 for similar war crimes. A Budapest court in July suspended the case against Csatáry citing double jeopardy, as the charges filed by Hungarian prosecutors were similar to those in his 1948 conviction. Hungarian prosecutors appealed against the decision and a ruling was pending.

Csatáry's case and his whereabouts were revealed in 2012 by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish organisation which hunts Nazis who have yet to be brought to justice.

Most netizens from around the globe couldn't hide their disappointment regarding his death.

Twitter user Richard S. said:

Political scientist Siniša Bundalo from Serbia wrote:

When I see how this Hungarian fascist #Csatáry got away with it I don't quite believe the saying “justice is slow but…”!

— Siniša Bundalo (@Sinisa_B) August 12, 2013

Jan Nemecek, a Twitter user from Slovakia, noted:

Hans Meijer, a communications advisor at Gemeente Hilversum in the Netherlands, shared the news:

Andrew Yurkovsky, a U.S. journalist covering Central and Eastern Europe, tweeted:

Another Twitter user echoed what many were saying online:

In response to the media announcement of his death, people from around the world responded with calls for justice:

@radiomitre #Csatary Well now he will face the worst of justices and without lawyers.

— jose luis lopez (@jossephuss) August 13, 2013

A year ago Csatáry's unknown location was discovered by reporters for British paper “The Sun”, who knocked on his door for statements. Csatáry's trial was scheduled to begin next month.


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