Jewish delegation at Auschwitz
Jewish delegation at AuschwitzIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A British newspaper says it has tracked down the world's Number 1 most wanted Nazi. Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, who is now 97 years old, has been found in Budapest, Hungary, according to The Sun newspaper.

Csizsik-Csatary was a police commander in charge of a Jewish ghetto in the town of Kassa --- today, the town of Kosice in Slovakia. During World War II, he helped send 15,700 Jews to their deaths at the Auschwitz death camp. After the Allies won the war, he fled the town. In 1948, he was convicted in absentia of war crimes in Czechoslovakia and was sentenced to death.

Having disappeared and created a new identity, however, it took years for Nazi hunters to track him down. He became an art dealer, and began a new life in Canada, where he lived until he was discovered in 1997, at which time his citizenship was revoked. He fled as the Canadian government was beginning deportation proceedings against him.

Documents uncovered by Nazi hunters at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem showed he took pleasure in beating women with a whip he carried on his belt, and forced them to dig ditches in frozen ground with their bare hands. Csizsik-Csatary also forced Jews into stress positions for hours, hit them with a dog lead, and maintained a “shoot on sight” policy if they tried to escape.

Just recently, an investigative journalism team from The Sun tracked him down to Budapest in response to the Wiesenthal Center's "Operation Last Chance," aimed at bringing World War II Nazis to justice before they die.

Hungarian Jewish Community president Peter Feldmajer told The Sun, “Several thousand Jewish families have felt sorrow and hurt because of this man and it would be a disgrace, for the entire Hungarian nation, if Csatary were to escape justice.”

Hungarian prosecutors are currently studying dossiers of evidence handed over by the newspaper, and reporters are meeting with senior prosecutor Gabor Hetenyi.

"Now that The Sun has found this war criminal he must be put on trial in Hungary,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.  "He was known to be a sadist, he had a determination to round all Jews up and forcibly deport them to Poland. To achieve justice against this man will bring a degree of closure for families of the victims, for the Jewish communities of Hungary and Slovakia.”

There are still seven Nazis who remain at liberty being hunted on the Wiesenthal Center's Most Wanted list:

GERHARD SOMMER, 93, served in the Panzergrenadiers. VLADIMIR KATRIUK, 90, served in a Nazi police battalion. KAROLY ZENTAI, 90, helped hunt Jews in Budapest. SOEREN KAM, 90, served with a Panzer division. IVAN KALYMON, 91, served in the Nazi auxiliary police in the Ukraine. ALGIMANTAS DAILIDE, in the Lithuanian security police. HELMUT OBERLANDER, 88, served with a Nazi killing squad.