War-crimes suspect Kepiro acquitted in Hungary

“This is an outrageous verdict and an insult to the victims of Novi Sad massacre,” says Ephraim Zuroff, Wiesenthal Center chief Nazi hunter.

By
July 18, 2011 14:57
2 minute read.
Sandor Kepiro sits in a courtroom in Budapest.

Sandor Kepiro 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Hungarian war-crimes suspect Sandor Kepiro was found not guilty by the Buda District Court in Budapest, Hungary, on Monday.

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 death of 36 people.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
'John Demjanjuk could face more death camp charges'
Wiesenthal Center: Austria should be ashamed

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 which took control of Hungary in March 1944.

“This is an outrageous verdict and an insult to the victims of Novi Sad massacre,” said Dr. 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 on Monday.

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 that he thought the mission was targeted at partisans fighting the German-led Axis powers who Hungary was allied with. 

“We will do everything we can to overturn the verdict and ensure Kepiro ends his life in jail rather than in peace and tranquility which he was awarded today,” Zuroff said, adding that the ruling would be appealed.

The New York based organization American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants also expressed its disappointment with the verdict calling it a “betrayal by Hungarian judicial authorities of the demands of justice and memory,” in a statement on Monday.

“Hungary has turned its back on history in failing to come to grips with its collaborationist policies with the Nazi regime during World War II,” said the group’s vice president Elan Steinberg in the statement. “At a time when extremist elements compromise present day Hungarian politics, this verdict is particularly unsettling.”

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


After the Second World War, Kepiro fled to Argentina and was tried in absentia by the Communist government in Hungary for his role in the atrocities. He was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, but was not arrested when he returned to Budapest in 1996.

Zuroff added that the verdict was “a sad day for Hungarian society. A judicial decision which brings joy to the ultra nationalists of Hungary and pain to the victims of fascist crimes is inherently flawed and the [Simon Wiesenthal] Center will do whatever it can to help to change it as quickly as possible.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF