Hungary arrests the 'most wanted living Nazi'

The Jerusalem Post/July 18, 2012

Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal center tells the 'Post' he is "overjoyed by the news," calls it a great victory.

Police in Hungary on Tuesday arrested Laszlo Csatary, said to be the world's most wanted living Nazi, and charged him with war crimes related to the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz during World War II.

Hungarian prosecution said it indicted the 95-year-old for the part he played in sending 15,700 Jews to Nazi death camps when he was the police chief of Kosice.

Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who tracked down Csatary to a suburb of Budapest late last year, told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the arrest took place he was overjoyed by the news.

"Hallelujah," he said. "You can't understand what this means to me. It's a great victory and a very important one."

The Jerusalem Post ran a story on Zuroff's claims against Csatary last April, but it wasn't until The Sun sent a journalist to Hungary last week and published shirtless photos of the pensioner answering the door that it made headlines around the world. Over the past week the story has been picked up by media outlets around the world putting pressure on Hungary to act.

"It's very simple, we owe our debt to The Sun," said Zuroff. "People may snicker but The Sun spent thousands of pounds to photograph him and embarrass him. To get a nazi in prison you have to take a photo of him in his underwear."

The visit by Hungarian President Janos Ader to Israel on Tuesday, where he is set to attend a ceremony at Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, may have also also played a part in the decision to prosecute the Hungarian national.

Zuroff said he had sent a letter to senior Israeli politicians ahead of Ader's arrival calling for them to ask for the arrest of Csatary, but he had no idea if they received it.

Csatary was the police chief of Kosice during the deportation of 15,700 local Jews to Auschwitz in spring 1944, according to Zuroff.

After the war he emigrated to Canada but was stripped of his citizenship in 1995 when his wartime role was discovered and he subsequently returned to his country of birth.

Zuroff said on Thursday he hoped Csatary's trial will be swift due to the suspect's age.

Asked why he insisted on bringing the remaining Nazis and their collaborators --the youngest of which are well in their 90s-- to trial over 60 years since World War II ended, Zuroff said "the passage of times does not diminish the guilt of the killers."

"Don't look at Csatary when he if old and frail, look at a man who when he was at the height of the his powers devoted them to killing people," he said.

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