Witness found in trial of Hungarian war criminal Csatary

(JTA) — Slovak police reportedly have found a witness to corroborate charges against Laszlo Csatary, a Hungarian war criminal.

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Csatary, 97, served during World War II as a Hungarian police commander in the Jewish ghetto of Kosice, then a part of Hungary and now in Slovakia.

The investigation in Kosice focuses on Csatary’s alleged involvement in the deportation of 15,000 Jews from the city. According to a recent report by Magyar Radio, the witness -– whose identity has not been revealed — survived the deportation and has “accurate” information about Csatary’s actions as police commander of the local ghetto.

The Budapest Public Prosecutor’s Office asked the Slovak authorities to question the witness, a spokeswoman for the Budapest prosecutor’s office, Bettina Bagoly, was quoted as saying.

At the end of the war, Csatary fled Hungary and settled in Canada, where he was granted Canadian citizenship in 1955. He was sentenced to death in absentia by the Czechoslovak authorities in 1948.

In October 1997, Csatary left Canada to avoid procedures of expulsion after it turned out that his application for citizenship had contained false data.

The 97-year-old suspect, who was put under house arrest in Budapest last July following research by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, denies the charge. 

In August, Csatary was cleared in Hungary of a separate set of charges pertaining to the deportation of 300 Jews from Kosice to their deaths at the Kamyanets-Podilsky camp in Ukraine in 1941.