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Wiesenthal Center stokes Hungary fears, and Hungary is pretty much saying Get Over It!


News that the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s most-wanted Nazi war criminal is living freely in Hungary is the latest incident to spark fears that the country is veering alarmingly to the right.
In particular, there are concerns that anti-Semitism, largely dormant under Hungary’s communist era that ended two decades ago, is again rearing its ugly head under the rule of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The newest case involves 97-year-old
Laszlo Csatary, alias Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, leaves the court building of Budapest on July 18, 2012 as he is obligated for a 30-day home custody.
, accused by the Nazi-hunting Wiesenthal Center of organising the deportation to their deaths of some 16,000 Jews during World War II.
Since being forced to leave Canada, where he had escaped to after the war, in 1996, the former policeman’s whereabouts were uncertain until the Wiesenthal Center last September informed Hungarian authorities that he was in Budapest. MORE
 
Pressure was mounting on Hungary over an aged Nazi war criminalfound living there, as prosecutors said investigating him was difficult as his crimes happened so long ago and in another country.
Several dozen young demonstrators gathered outside Laszlo Csatary’s apartment in an upmarket district of Budapest late Monday, calling for his arrest in a protest organised by the European Union of Jewish Students.
“It’s our last chance to seek justice for the victims,” it said in a message posted on its website.
Some protesters carried placards denouncing Csatary’s crimes while others stuck swastikas on the entrance of the building where he has his two-room apartment.
The Wiesenthal Center says that as a senior policeman Csatary helped organise the deportation of some 15,700 Jews to the Auschwitz death camp.
The investigation “therefore has to explore an event remote in both time and place,” with “significant part” of the probe dedicated to finding possible witnesses, some of whom may live abroad, Budapest prosecutors said.
“It took place 68 years ago in an area that now falls under the jurisdiction of another country — which also with regard to the related international conventions raises several investigative and legal problems,” a statement said.
Zuroff told AFP on Sunday that he has been “very upset and very frustrated” about the lack of action byHungarian authorities.
“Something has to be done because he’s in good health at 97… but this could change very quickly.
“The passage of time in no way diminishes his guilt and old age should not afford protection for Holocaust perpetrators.”
But French Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld said on Monday he doubted the Hungarian authorities would prosecute Csatary, even as Paris urged Budapest to launch legal proceedings against him.
The Hungarian government of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban declined to comment on the case, saying it was a matter for the public prosecutor’s office.
“The Hungarian government has always supported the exhaustive exploration of past crimes and the prosecution of perpetrators,” said spokeswoman Judit Pach.
“Therefore, it calls for the exploration of the truth and the punishment of the guilty.”
But already this year, Hungary has been criticised for its attitude to its wartime history and over the issue of anti-Semitism.
In June, Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel returned the country’s highest honour, which he received in 2004.
He accused the authorities there of “encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past.”  
In recent months, parks have been renamed and statues erected in honour of Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s wartime leader and an ally of Adolf Hitler, while anti-Semitic writers have been reintroduced into school curriculums.  MORE

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