‘Most wanted Nazi’ on trial in Hungary

Sandor Kepiro charged with war crimes for alleged part in murder of 36 Jews during a 1942 raid by the Hungarian fascist police on city of Novi Sad.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
May 6, 2011 04:41
1 minute read.
Sandor Kepiro sits in a courtroom in Budapest.

Sandor Kepiro 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The trial of the man called the world’s most wanted living Nazi not yet brought to justice opened in Budapest on Thursday.

Sandor Kepiro was charged with war crimes for his alleged part in the murder of 36 Jews during a 1942 raid by the Hungarian fascist police on the city of Novi Sad, in present-day Serbia.

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“I have never been a murderer,” the 97-year-old man said at the beginning of the trial. “The accusations against me are based on a series of lies. I was there in the raid, but all we did was ask for papers. The murders happened in a completely separate location, by the Danube. I wasn’t anywhere near them.”

Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, welcomed the local authorities’ decision to try Kepiro and said it would help fight bigotry and hate in Hungary.

“This is a very important day for Hungary and will help the country face its Holocaust past, and at the same time has a very important message to contemporary Hungary that has seen the rise of the right and situation of the Roma,” Zuroff said.

“Anti-Semitism, racism, this leads to mass murder, so I’m happy it’s finally happened that they found the courage to prosecute Kepiro.”

Kepiro had been at the top of the Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted Nazi criminals not brought to justice until his trial opened.



The trial continues on Friday and the court is expected to issue a ruling on May 19.

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