BUDAPEST — Hungarian prosecutors cleared Tuesday a 97-year-old of organising the 1941 deportation of 300 Jews but were still probing more serious allegations about his later World War II activities.
Accusations that Laszlo Csatary sent the 300 to their deaths at the Kamyanets-Podilsky camp in Ukraine were “groundless” since he was neither present nor had sufficient rank at the time, Budapest prosecutors said.
“Based on our information, Laszlo Csatary was not implicated in the Kamyanets-Podilsky deportations and was not able in any way to play a role,” spokeswoman Bettina Bagoly told AFP.
She added however that allegations that in 1944 as a senior policeman Csatary had a major part in deporting 15,700 people to Nazi death camps from the Jewish ghetto in Kosice in present-day Slovakia were still being studied.
Both accusations were levelled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which lists Csatary, full name Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary, at the top of its dwindling list of suspected Nazi war criminals.
Csatary was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Czechoslovakia in 1948 but he fled to Canada where he worked as an art dealer before being stripped of his citizenship and returning to Hungary 15 years ago.
Last September prosecutors began an investigation and he was put under house arrest on July 18. On July 31 he rejected all accusations against him, denying being the commander of the Kosice ghetto or signing documents in that capacity.
Slovakian Justice Minister Tomas Borec said last month he wanted Csatary to be tried in his country, echoing a similar call by Slovakia’s Jewish community.