Hungarian officials have started
an investigation into an Australian alleged to have tortured
a Jew 60 years ago.
Charles Zentai, an 86-year-old Hungarian-born Australian now living in Perth,
is suspected of torturing and murdering an 18-year-old man
in Budapest in 1944 while serving in the army of Hitler's
wartime ally Hungary.
Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon
Wiesenthal Centre, which investigates Nazi crimes, today
submitted documents backing the allegations to Hungarian
Dr Zuroff told journalists in Budapest
that an investigation was under way.
"The military prosecutor's
office has begun an investigation into murder and other cases
of violence and torture of minors," he said.
It is alleged the victim was killed
because he was not wearing the yellow Star of David, which
the Nazis forced Jews to wear.
A spokesman for Justice Minister Chris
Ellison said Australian Federal Police were investigating
"As this matter is subject
to an ongoing investigation, we can't make any comment," he said.
Mr Zentai has denied the claim, saying
he was not in Hungary on the date the alleged offence took
Australia has an extradition treaty
with Hungary, as well as an agreement for mutual assistance
in investigating criminal matters.
Six million Jews across Europe were
killed in the Nazi genocide in World War II.
Mr Zentai was located during the Simon
Wiesenthal Centre's Operation Last Chance - a campaign aimed
at finding and prosecuting World War II war criminals.
The Age, February 4, 2005