The renowned Nazi-hunting agency, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said it has new evidence against Laszlo Csatary, who is suspected to be living in Budapest at age 97. Csatary is accused of being complicit in the deaths of 15,700 Jews during World War II, according to the AP via Yahoo! News.
Csatary has been regarded as the group's chief suspect still at large because of the evidence related to Csatary's key role in the deportation of approximately 300 Jews from Kosice to Kamenetz-Podolsk, Ukraine, where almost all were murdered in the summer of 1941. A Czechoslovak court tried him in absentia, found him guilty and condemned him to death in 1948. By then he had fled to Canada.
During World War II Csatary served as a Hungarian police commander in the city of Kosice -- now in Slovakia, then under Hungarian rule -- where he terrorized women by whipping them and forcing them to dig holes in the frozen ground with their bare hands. The commander also oversaw a shoot-on-site policy if any Jews tried to get away.
He also helped to deport thousands of Jews in 1944 by train to Auschwitz concentration camp, where they were gassed by the Germans, according to News24.com. Csatary lived in Canada as an art dealer under an alias until he was found in in 1995 and fled to Hungary.
French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld expressed doubt Monday that the Hungarian government would bring charges against Csatary, however.
I am not sure there will be legal action taken with this conservative government, Klasfeld said. In my opinion he must have been a stooge. ... Thirty years ago he would have been 3,500th on the list.
Despite the confirmation of Csatary's identity, Hungarian officials have only stated they're conducting an investigation, as noted by IOL News. There's been a growing sense of anti-Semitism in Hungary with the news that several Holocaust memorial sites have been vandalized in recent weeks.
Statues have even been erected recently in honor of Hungarian ruler Miklos Horthy, who led the country into an alliance with Nazi Germany, reports BosNewsLife.com. Around 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Second World War.
There's also concern that Hungarians will drag their feet in the prosecution process because of the criminal's age. Csatary is 97, although the Wiesenthal Center points out that that doesn't absolve him of his crimes.
The passage of time in no way diminishes his guilt and old age should not afford protection for Holocaust perpetrators, they said.
Along with the famous Simon Wiesenthal Center, the notorious British tabloid The Sun is also being praised for its role in digging up Csatary's identity and location. Using the information made available by the Wiesenthal Center, investigators for The Sun tracked the man to a small, two-bedroom apartment in Budapest. The Sun writes that he slammed the door in the face of investigators after being asked about his past.