Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Laszlo Csatary March 4, 1915 - Aug. 10, 2013 Nazi War Criminal Wanted for Atrocities in Occupied Hungary

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Laszlo Csatary March 4, 1915 - Aug. 10, 2013 Nazi War Criminal Wanted for Atrocities in Occupied Hungary

Article excerpt

Laszlo Csatary, a former Hungarian police officer who was once declared the most-wanted Nazi war criminal and who was indicted in June for his alleged role in the deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps, died Aug. 10 at a hospital in Budapest. He was 98.

The cause was pneumonia, his lawyer, Gabor Horvath, told news agencies. Csatary had lived for decades in Canada before returning in the mid-1990s to Hungary, where he was located after a manhunt led largely by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Nazi-hunting organization that had placed him at the top of its most-wanted suspects.

At the time of his death, Csatary was entangled in an international legal battle that from the outset seemed unlikely to be resolved within his lifetime. His case reflected the difficulty of rendering justice in crimes nearly seven decades old, after the passage of time had eroded evidence and aged the surviving victims and perpetrators.

"Thirty years ago," French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld was once quoted as saying, Csatary "would have been 3,500th on the list."

In Hungary, where Csatary was indicted less than two months ago, a court had suspended the case to protect him from double jeopardy. He was convicted of war crimes in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and sentenced in absentia to death; officials in modern-day Slovakia recently commuted the sentence to life imprisonment and were reportedly considering a request for his extradition.

Csatary denied the accusations brought against him, and the chief Hungarian prosecutor relayed to media outlets his insistence that he had acted during the war on higher orders -- a defense commonly mounted by alleged Nazi war criminals.

Efraim Zuroff, an official with the Wiesenthal Center, said at the time of Csatary's detainment in July 2012 that "when you look at a person like this, you shouldn't see an old, frail person." Instead, Mr. Zuroff said, "Think of a man who at the height of his physical powers devoted all his energy to murdering or persecuting and murdering innocent men, women and children."

Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary was born on March 4, 1915, in Many, a small town in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

After the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, Csatary became what the Wiesenthal Center described as a senior police officer and ghetto commandant in Kassa, now the Slovakian city of Kosice. …

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