László Csatáry

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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 Pneumonia
Residence Budapest, Hungary
Occupation Art dealer
Known for Alleged war crimes

László Csatáry (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈlaːsloː ˈtʃɒtaːri]; 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 Mány in 1915.[2][3] In 1944 he was the Royal Hungarian Police[4] assistant to the commander in the city of Kassa in Hungary (now Košice in Slovakia). He was accused of organizing the deportation of approximately 15,700 Jews to 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in Montreal where he became an art dealer.[7] He became a citizen in 1955.[2][8] In 1997, his Canadian citizenship was revoked by the Dept. of Immigration.[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 was 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 the death penalty in 1990. Accordingly, on 28 March 2013, Slovak County Court in Košice changed the 1948 verdict in Csatáry's case from the death penalty to life imprisonment in order to make it executable.[17]

War-crimes indictment

On 18 June 2013, Hungarian prosecutors charged 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 how the 1948 death sentence could be applied to Hungarian legal practice.[19]

In 2014, a book was published by Sándor Verbovszki titled Kassa Árnyékában: A Csatáry-ügy a dokumentumok tükrében (English: "In the Shadow of Košice: The Csatáry Case In the Light of Documents"). The book states, based on records in the National Archives of Hungary, that Csatáry was stationed elsewhere when the crimes occurred, and thus should be exonerated of war crimes.[20]


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:[21]

"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:[22]

"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.[23] According to daily Bors, Csatáry had been hospitalized for a long time, where he caught pneumonia.[24]

Efraim Zuroff, director of the The Simon Wiesenthal Center stated that he was "deeply disappointed" that Csatáry had died before facing trial.[25]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vienneau, David (1 November 1996). "Ottawa launches court bid to deport 2 new alleged Nazis". Toronto Star. Retrieved 5 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Csatáry a betegeket is felrugdosta a vagonba". Népszava. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Singer, David (1988). American Jewish Year Book 1998. American Jewish Committee. p. 199. ISBN 0874951135.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. SWC Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals (PDF). Simon Wiesenthal Centre. 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Szatmary, Michael (25 July 2012). "Csatáry judge in Slovakia". delet.sk (in Slovak). Retrieved 26 July 2012. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary dies". BBC News. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Macivor, Carol (9 October 1997). "Hungary: Alleged Nazi Collaborator Leaves Canada". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 5 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NAMES NEW ALLEGED NAZI WAR CRIMINALS". B'nai Brith Canada (press release). 31 October 1996. Retrieved 5 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Zuroff, Efraim (June 2012). "Epilogue to Finnish edition". Operaatio viimeinen mahdollisuus (in Finnish). Helsinki: Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee. p. 268. ISBN 9789525412550. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ashley Hayes (16 July 2012). "Officials: Alleged Nazi war criminal found in Hungary". CNN.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Arne Lichtenberg (2012-07-16). "'Nazi' tracked down in Budapest". Deutsche Welle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 Flynn, Brian; Parry, Ryan (15 July 2012). "The Sun finds Nazi who sent 15,700 to die". The Sun. London. Retrieved 15 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Laszlo Csatary detained". BBC News Europe. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Budapest court to rule on war crime suspect Csatáry's extradition to Slovakia". Politics.hu. Retrieved 30 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Liphshiz, Cnaan (2013-01-10). "Witness found in trial of Hungarian war criminal Csatary | Jewish Telegraphic Agency". Jta.org. Retrieved 2013-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. http://kosice.korzar.sme.sk/c/6749156/csatarymu-zmenili-trest-smrti-na-dozivotie.html
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  20. Verbovszki, Sándor (2014). Kassa Árnyékában: A Csatáry-ügy a dokumentumok tükrében. Budapest, Hungary: Self-publishing. ISBN 978-615-5374-11-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Parry, Ryan; Flynn, Brian (July 16, 2012). "Nail No1 Nazi". The Sun. London. Retrieved July 16, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  23. "Laszlo Csatary, Hungarian man charged with Nazi-era war crimes, dies at 98". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
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