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Laszlo Csatary, accused Nazi war criminal, dies awaiting trial

Laszlo Csatary, 98, was considered the "most wanted living Nazi" at the time of his arrest in July 2012.

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Laszlo Csatary, accused Nazi war criminal, died in hospital awaiting trial in Budapest. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary has died awaiting trial in a hospital in Hungary, his lawyer said Monday.

Csatary, 98, was considered the "most wanted living Nazi" at the time of his arrest in July 2012.

It is believed that he was a key figure in the deportation of 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz and other extermination camps as the police commander of the Kassa internment camp, in what is now Slovakia.

A Czech court sentenced Csatary to death in absentia for war crimes in 1948, but he had already fled to Canada.

He was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1997 and returned to his native Hungary, subsequently falling below the radar.

Csatary was charged with war crimes by Hungarian prosecutors in June and was awaiting trial when he died of pneumonia.

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Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, who works for the Simon Wiesenthal center, was responsible for tracking the former police commander down in a Budapest suburb.

After his arrest in Hungary, Zuroff told the Jerusalem Post he was overjoyed by the news of Csatary's capture.

"Hallelujah," he said. "You can’t understand what this means to me. It is a great victory and a very important one."

In response to Csatary's death, Zuroff expressed disappointment.

"The fact that a well-known war criminal whose Nazi past was exposed in Canada could live undisturbed for so long in the Hungarian capital raises serious questions as to the commitment of the Hungarian authorities to hold their own Holocaust criminals accountable," said Zuroff.

"It is a shame that Csatary, a convicted and totally unrepentant Holocaust perpetrator who was finally indicted in his homeland for his crimes, ultimately eluded justice and punishment at the very last minute."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130812/laszlo-csatary-accused-nazi-war-criminal-dies-budapest-hospital