Nazi-era war-crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary died at the age of 98, daily Bors reported on Monday quoting anonymous sources.
Csatary’s lawyer Gabor B. Horvath confirmed the information, the tabloid added.
The paper said Csatary had been treated in hospital for an extended period and recently contracted pneumonia, which was the direct cause of death.
Csatary, who was suspected of having been involved in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps, featured high on the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center’s wanted list of suspected war criminals.
A Budapest higher court ordered on August 7 that the Metropolitan Court should resume proceedings in his case after a lower court had suspended it a month ago. The lower court argued that Csatary had already been sentenced in one-time Czechoslovakia for the crimes he is now charged with. It should be established whether the 1948 ruling, a death sentence commuted to life imprisonment, is valid in Hungary, and under what circumstances the 98-year-old former police commander of the internment camp of Kassa (now Kosice in Slovakia) should serve the sentence, the court said.
The prosecutor’s office, however, appealed against the decision, saying that the earlier ruling should not hinder the start of the case.
According to the indictment, Csatary, as police commander of the internment camp of Kassa regularly beat and whipped interned Jews, irrespective of their gender, age and health.
From early May 1944 on, the nearly 12,000 internees were crammed into wagons and deported to concentration camps on Nazi-held territories, primarily Auschwitz, allegedly with Csatary’s active involvement.
Csatary was found guilty in absentia and sentenced to death in 1948. He lived on the run for several decades.
In July last year he was put under house arrest by the Hungarian authorities. He was interrogated by the prosecutor’s office several times but he consistently denied the charges.