New evidence has emerged suggesting that Hungarian Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary was sentenced to 20 years in jail after World War II in 1945 but then escaped, a historian said Sunday.
Historian Zoltan Balassa told the online version of the HVG weekly he has discovered documents showing that Csatary was captured in the Hungarian town of Veszprem and then sentenced in Pecs, but that he then fled the country.
The documents were found in Kosice, the town in present-day Slovakia where Csatary is accused of having committed war crimes as a senior police officer in Hungary's pro-Nazi regime with responsibility for the Jewish ghetto.
Balassa said that with the only other evidence being testimonies from a Czechoslovakian 1948 trial in absentia – which sentenced him to death – these new documents could support a new conviction if the 97-year-old is tried.
The archives of the Veszpem police and the Pecs court should contain some records of this, Balassa said. Earlier documents indicated that he left Kosice in 1944, travelling with German troops.
Csatary, full name Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary, tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center's dwindling list of surviving suspected Nazi war criminals, which accused him of deporting 15,700 Jews to their deaths from the Kosice ghetto.
Making it to Canada after the war, 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.