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Accused Nazi war criminal László Csizsik-Csatáry, 98, dies

Issues

Local media is this morning reporting that the accused Nazi-era war criminal László Csizsik-Csatáry has died due to pneumonia-related causes. He was 98 years old.

Recently under house arrest in Hungary for over a year, Csizsik-Csatáry last week learned of that his sentencing date in Slovakia was set for September 26 after having been tried in absentia this year for his part in sending 16,000 Jewish people to their deaths during World War II.

Csizsik-Csatáry had in fact been found guilty of the same crimes in then-Czechoslovakia in 1948, but escaped to Canada thereafter; he left North America in 1997 after losing his Canadian citizenship reportedly due to his refusal to answer official inquiries about his activities during the war, and moved to Budapest.

An investigation led by the Wiesenthal Center – triggered by some investigative reporting from the British tabloid The Sun, of all sources – found Csizsik-Csatáry in the Hungarian capital in July 2012. At that time, Wiesenthal Center Israel Office Director Efraim Zuroff described Csizsik-Csatáry as a former “commander of the ghetto.”

During the Slovakian trial, Csizsik-Csatáry was described as having been a “key figure” in the deportation of Jewish citizens to the Auschwitz concentration camp from then-Hungarian city Košice and was ultimately given a sentence of life imprisonment.

A war crimes trial of Csizsik-Csatáry was also proceeding in 2013 in Hungary, but the case was suspended in July, with the court citing double jeopardy based on the 1948 conviction.

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