'Most Wanted' Nazi War Criminal Indicted in Hungary

Laszlo Csatary, 98, allegedly deported 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz and abused many others; he denies the charges.

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Hungarian prosecutors on Tuesday charged 98-year-old former police officer Laszlo Csatary for abusing Jews and assisting in their deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II.

Laszlo Csatary, who has denied the charges, was first detained by Hungarian authorities in July 2012 after his case was made public by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization active in hunting down Nazis who have yet to be brought to justice.

Tuesday's indictment by the Budapest Investigative Prosecutors' Office says Csatary was the chief of an internment camp for Jews in Kosice - a Slovak city then part of Hungary - in 1944, and that he beat them with his bare hands and a dog whip.

Prosecution spokeswoman Bettina Bagoly said Tuesday that Csatary's trial is expected to start within three months.

"He is charged with the unlawful execution and torturing of people thus committing war crimes partly as a culprit, partly as an accomplice," Bagoly said.

Nazi-hunters from the Simon Wiesenthal Center had named Csatary their most wanted war crimes suspect last year.

Csatary was arrested last year thanks to the work of Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who pursued him for the past 15 years. Zuroff, who heads the Wiesenthal Center, received information on Csatary's whereabouts through the center's "Operation Last Chance," which is designed to locate the last of the Nazis who are still alive.

According to the information obtained by Zuroff, Csatary is responsible for the deportation of some 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz in the spring of 1944, while serving as the chief of police in Kosice.

The information on Csatary describes him as a sadist who enjoyed abusing Jews physically. Among other acts, Csatary took pleasure in beating women with a belt and forcing Jews to dig with their bare hands in the snow. In addition, the Wiesenthal Center holds him responsible for some other crimes, among them the deportation of some 300 Jews from Kosice to Kamianets-Podilskyi in the Ukraine in the summer of 1941. Many of them were later murdered.

After the war ended, Csatary fled Kosice and was sentenced in absentia to death for war crimes in 1948. Csatary lived in Canada – in Toronto and Montreal – under a false identity, which was revealed only in 1997. Soon after his citizenship was revoked, Csatary fled the country and was only located last year in Budapest.

When a reporter with The Sun showed up on his doorstep and confronted him, Csatary, wearing only his underwear, said, "Go away I don't want to discuss it."

"I didn't do it, go away from here," he added before slamming the door.

Meanwhile, a prosecutor in Poland says that files concerning a Nazi unit commander are being reviewed to see if they contain sufficient evidence to press charges and request his extradition from the United States, where he is living.

An Associated Press investigation has revealed that Michael Karkoc, 94, entered the U.S. by concealing to American authorities his leadership role in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which was accused of burning down villages in Poland during World War II. AP's evidence suggests that Karkoc was at the scenes, although no records link him directly to atrocities.

Robert Kopydlowski of Poland's National Remembrance Institute said Tuesdaythat prosecutors are reviewing files concerning the crimes for any evidence that would substantiate charges against Karkoc and an extradition request.

Hungarian Laszlo Csatary leaves the prosecution building in Budapest in this July 18, 2012 file photo.Credit: Reuters

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