Man Recently Indicted Anew for Nazi-Era Crimes Dies at 98

Article excerpt

Laszlo Csatary, a former police officer indicted in June by Hungarian authorities for abusing Jews and contributing to their deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II, has died. He was 98.

Csatary died Saturday of pneumonia in a Budapest hospital, said his lawyer, Gabor Horvath B.

Hungarian authorities have said Csatary was the chief of an internment camp set up in a brick factory for about 12,000 Jews in Kosice - a Slovak city then part of Hungary - in 1944, beating them with his bare hands and a dog whip regularly and without reason. He had also been charged with "actively participating" in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

According to the indictment filed by Hungarian prosecutors, on June 2, 1944, Csatary rejected a request by one of the deportees to allow a ventilation hole to be cut into the wall of a railroad car on its way to a death camp and crammed with around 80 people.

"With his actions, the accused willfully assisted in the illegal killings and torture carried out against the Jews deported from Kosice to the concentration camps in areas occupied by the Germans," the indictment said.

Csatary denied all those charges.

Holocaust survivor Edita Salamonova, whose family was killed in the Auschwitz death camp after their deportation from Kosice, said she remembered Csatary well.

"I can see him in front of me," Salamonova told The Associated Press in an interview in Kosice last year. "A tall, handsome man but with a heart of stone."

Salamonova remembered Csatary's presence at the brick factory, which has since been torn down, and would keep out of his sight when he was around.

"One had to hide. You never knew what could have happened anytime," said Salamonova, who was able to return home after enduring several Nazi camps.

Csatary was sentenced to death in absentia in Czechoslovakia in 1948 for similar war crimes. Last month, a Budapest court suspended the case against him because of double jeopardy, as the charges filed by Hungarian prosecutors were similar to those in his 1948 conviction. …