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László Csatáry

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László Csatáry

László Csatáry
Born (1915-03-04)4 March 1915
Mány, Austria-Hungary
Died 10 August 2013(2013-08-10) (aged 98)
Budapest, Hungary
Cause of death
Residence Budapest, Hungary
Occupation Art Dealer
Known for Alleged war crimes

László Csatáry (4 March 1915 – 10 August 2013) was a Hungarian citizen and an alleged Nazi war criminal, convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in 1948 by a Czechoslovak court. In 2012, his name was added to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals.[1]


Csatáry was born in Auschwitz.[1][5] He is also accused of having inhumanely exercised his authority in a forced labour camp.[4] He is also accused of brutalizing the inhabitants of the city.[6] He was convicted in absentia for war crimes in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and sentenced to death. He fled to Canada in 1949 claiming to be a Yugoslav national and settled in Montreal where he became an art dealer.[7] He became a citizen in 1955.[2][8] In 1997, his Canadian citizenship was revoked by the federal Cabinet for not giving enough information on his citizenship application.[4][9] He left the country two months later but was never charged with war crimes in Canada. An extensive criminal reference check was done on him with no evidence of war crimes there.

In 2012, Csatáry was located in Budapest, Hungary, based on a tip received by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in September 2011.[10][11][12] His address was exposed by reporters from The Sun in July 2012.[11][12][13] He was reportedly taken into custody on 18 July 2012 by the Hungarian authorities for questioning.[14] On 30 July 2012, Slovak Justice Minister Tomáš Borec announced that Slovakia is ready to prosecute against Csatáry and asked Hungary to extradite him.[15]

A file that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had prepared on Csatáry implicated him in the deportation of 300 people from Kassa in 1941. In August 2012 the Budapest Prosecutor’s Office dropped these charges, saying Csatáry was not in Kassa at the time and lacked the rank to organize the transports. In January 2013 it was reported that Slovak police had found a witness to corroborate other charges relating to deportations of 15,700 Jews from Kassa from May 1944.[16]

Czechoslovakia had abolished death penalty in 1990. Accordingly, on 28 March 2013, Slovak County Court in Košice changed the 1948 verdict in Csatáry's case from death penalty to the life imprisonment in order to make it executable.[17]

War-crimes indictment

On 18 June 2013, prosecutors in Hungary indicted Csatáry with war crimes, saying he had abused Jews and helped to deport Jews to Auschwitz in World War II. A spokesperson for the Budapest Chief Prosecutor's Office said, "He is charged with the unlawful execution and torture of people, (thus) committing war crimes partly as a perpetrator, partly as an accomplice." His trial could start within three months.[18] The Budapest higher court suspended his case on 8 July 2013, however, because "Csatáry had already been sentenced for the crimes included in the proceedings, in former Czechoslovakia in 1948". The court also added that it is necessary to examine the 1948 death sentence how could be applied to the Hungarian legal practice.[19] A book has been published in September 2014 titled Kassa Arnyekaban: A Csatary - ugy a documentumok tukreben (In the Shadow of Kassa: The Csatary Case in the Mirror of Documentation) by Sandor Verbovszki, an experienced investigator with international investigative credentials. In this book, Laszlo Csatary is totally exonerated of all accusations on the basis of the fact that, among other things, he was stationed elsewhere when the said crimes he is accused of took place. Furthermore, the text produces documented proof that Laszlo Csatary was not a commander at all. He was an assistant to a commander and merely passed on the orders of his superior. Hungary, at the time, was an occupied country by Germany and was under the command of the Germany armed forces. They were responsible for the said crimes not the Hungarians living or working in the area.


Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said about his finding:[13]

"Now that The Sun has found this war criminal he must be put on trial in Hungary. Csatary was a police commander in the ghetto of Kassa and was responsible for sending 15,700 people to death camps. He was known to be a sadist, he had a determination to round all Jews up and forcibly deport them to Poland. To achieve justice against this man will bring a degree of closure for families of the victims, for the Jewish communities of Hungary and Slovakia."

Efraim Zuroff

Yishayahu Schachar, Jewish survivor who encountered Csatáry, said:[20]

"I worked outside the ghetto in the brick factory, cleaning. I remember Csatary loudly screaming orders at Jews. I didn’t work under him but heard the terrible things he did. I remember women digging a ditch with their hands on his orders. He was an evil man and I hope he is brought to justice."

Yishayahu Schachar (2012)

László Karsai, a Hungarian Holocaust historian and the son of a Holocaust survivor, said:[21]

"Csatáry was a small fish. I could name 2,000 people responsible for worse crimes than he was. The money spent hunting down people like him would be better spent fighting the propaganda of those who so energetically deny the Holocaust today."

László Karsai


Csatáry died on August 10, 2013 from pneumonia at a hospital in Budapest aged 98.[22] According to daily Bors, Csatáry had been hospitalized for a long time, where he caught pneumonia.[23]

Efraim Zuroff, director of the The Simon Wiesenthal Center stated that he was "deeply disappointed" that Csatáry had died before facing trial.[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Three new names on Wiesenthal Center’s most-wanted Nazi list have Canadian links". The Times of Israel. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Vienneau, David (1 November 1996). "Ottawa launches court bid to deport 2 new alleged Nazis". Toronto Star. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Csatáry a betegeket is felrugdosta a vagonba". Népszava. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Singer, David (1988). American Jewish Year Book 1998. American Jewish Committee. p. 199.  
  5. ^ SWC Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals. Simon Wiesenthal Centre. 2012. 
  6. ^ Szatmary, Michael (25 July 2017). "Csatáry judge in Slovakia". (in Slovak). Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary dies". BBC News. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  8. ^ Macivor, Carol (9 October 1997). "Hungary: Alleged Nazi Collaborator Leaves Canada". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NAMES NEW ALLEGED NAZI WAR CRIMINALS". B'nai Brith Canada (press release). 31 October 1996. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Zuroff, Efraim (June 2012). "Epilogue to Finnish edition". Operaatio viimeinen mahdollisuus [Operation Last Change] (in Finnish). Helsinki:  
  11. ^ a b Ashley Hayes (16 July 2012). "Officials: Alleged Nazi war criminal found in Hungary". CNN. 
  12. ^ a b Arne Lichtenberg (2012-07-16). Nazi' tracked down in Budapest"'".  
  13. ^ a b Flynn, Brian; Parry, Ryan (15 July 2012). "The Sun finds Nazi who sent 15,700 to die". The Sun (London). Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Laszlo Csatary detained". BBC News Europe. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Budapest court to rule on war crime suspect Csatáry’s extradition to Slovakia". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Liphshiz, Cnaan (2013-01-10). "Witness found in trial of Hungarian war criminal Csatary | Jewish Telegraphic Agency". Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Hungarian man, 98, charged with World War II crimes: prosecutors". Yahoo News. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Court suspends case of war crimes suspect Csatary". Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Parry, Ryan; Flynn, Brian (July 16, 2012). "Nail No1 Nazi". The Sun (London). Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Laszlo Csatary: Is Hungary's Nazi suspect worth pursuing?". BBC. July 17, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Laszlo Csatary, Hungarian man charged with Nazi-era war crimes, dies at 98". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  23. ^ "Nazi-era war-crimes suspect Csatáry dies aged 98". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary dies". BBC News. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
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