JTA — Suspected war criminal Laszlo Csatary of Hungary will not be charged with the murder of 300 Jews in 1941, prosecutors in Budapest said.
Csatary’s alleged complicity in the murder of some 15,000 Jews in 1944 is still being investigated.
Accusations that Csatary, 97, helped send the 300 to their deaths at the Kamyanets-Podilsky camp in Ukraine were “groundless,” Bettina Bagoly of the Budapest municipal prosecutor’s office said Wednesday.
In an interview for Hungary’s Kossuth radio, she added that Csatary was not present at the site of the deportation and lacked the authority to be responsible for it.
The prosecution is following up on allegations that in 1944, Csatary, a senior police officer, was responsible for deporting 15,700 people to Nazi death camps from the Jewish ghetto in Kosice, Slovakia.
Hungarian police arrested Csatary last month based on the findings of an independent investigation by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, told JTA that he would check if the Hungarian prosecution had interviewed any witnesses before dropping the charges. Zuroff said an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor had accused Csatary of arranging for four of her brothers to be pulled out of a labor camp and murdered at Kamyanets-Podilsky, along with other family members.
Hungarian police placed arrested Csatary 15 years after his return to Hungary from Canada. He had worked as an art dealer before Canada stripped him of his citizenship.
Britain’s The Sun reported on Zuroff’s investigation last month. Budapest’s chief prosecutor said on July 17 that it “contains no new evidence.” Csatary was nonetheless arrested the next day.