The world’s most wanted Nazi war criminal, László Csatary, charged with involvement in the murders of over 15,000 Jews, was located, alive and well in Hungary, following a 15 year search.
“Nazi hunter” Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the head of the Wiesenthal Institute in Jerusalem, located Csatary after receiving information from a local man, as part of “Operation Last Chance,” meant to locate the last remaining Nazi war criminals alive.
“We negotiated with the source about the reward he would receive – and then he gave us the information,” Zuroff told Haaretz on Sunday morning.
Zuroff passed along the information on Csatary’s location to the local authorities in Hungary. “I expect them to question him, and take his passport to prevent him from running away,” said Zuroff.
With cooperation from the British newspaper “The Sun,” Csatary was photographed going freely about the city and shopping.
Csatary, 97-years-old, is charged with sending 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz during the spring of 1944, while he served as commander of police forces in the city of Košice. According to information gathered about him, Csatary was a sadist, who abused Jews. He would whip Jewish women with a belt, as well as force Jews to dig holes in the snow with bare hands.
This year, Csatary was declared number one on the Wiesanthal Institute’s list of most wanted Nazis. Over the last few weeks, the Wiesenthal Institute has received information regarding other crimes in which Csatary was involved, including expulsion of Jews from Ukraine to their deaths during the summer of 1941.
“In Sydney, I located a holocaust survivor from Košice. Nine of her family members, including four uncles, were expelled from the city. Csatary personally oversaw the expulsion,” said Zuroff.
After the war, Csatary fled Košice. In 1948, he was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death in absentia. Later on, while living under a false identity in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, Csatary made a living from dealing in works of art. Only in 1997 was his true identity revealed and his Canadian citizenship revoked, which prompted him to flee the country. His trail was then lost.
When a journalist from “The Sun” showed up at his home, the elderly man said “No, no. I don’t want to discuss it,” appearing at the door in socks and underwear. “He lives in peace alongside familes that don’t know a thing about his horrifying past,” wrote the journalist. “Many people died because of your actions,” the journalist told him. “No I didn’t do it, go away from here,” answered the Nazi criminal, slamming the door.
Before he was confronted, Csatary was photographed shopping in the city, apparently “savoring the long life thousands exterminated in Auschwitz had been denied,” wrote “The Sun.”
If Csatary is arrested, tried, found guilty and punished – the man who provided information leading to his location will receive a large reward.