Hungary: War-crimes suspect Sandor Kepiro dies age 97

Kepiro was charged with complicity in 1942 Novi Sad massacre in northern Serbia in which as many as 1,000 Jews were murdered.

September 3, 2011 18:03
1 minute read.
Sandor Kepiro sits in a courtroom in Budapest.

Sandor Kepiro 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hungarian war crimes suspect Sandor Kepiro died in Hungary at age 97 on Saturday.

In July, he was charged with complicity in the Novi Sad massacre of January 1942 in northern Serbia, in which as many as 1,250 Jews, Serbs and Roma were murdered, and with direct responsibility for the deaths of 36 people.

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He was found not guilty by the Buda District Court in Budapest. The judge rejected evidence from a 1943 Hungarian trial of Kepiro and other gendarmerie officers, in which they were convicted of insubordination for carrying out the operation, supposedly without approval of their superiors. The conviction was quashed by the fascist government that took control of Hungary in March 1944.

“This is an outrageous verdict and an insult to the victims of the Novi Sad massacre,” said Ephraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter who exposed Kepiro’s presence in Budapest in 2006. “It is totally incomprehensible given the evidence against Kepiro, our knowledge of the incident, and of his role in the events of the massacre,” Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post last week.

Kepiro was an officer in the Hungarian gendarmerie during the war and admits to having been involved in the military operation in the Novi Sad region. But he denies he knew about the killings, saying he thought the mission was targeted at partisans fighting the Axis powers that included Hungary.

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