Trial under way for suspected Nazi, 97

May 6, 2011 at 6:59 AM
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BUDAPEST, Hungary, May 6 (UPI) -- Accused Nazi war criminal Sandor Kepiro, 97, on trial in Hungary, says he is innocent of charges that he killed 36 Jews and Serbs in Novi Sad, Serbia, in 1942.

"I am not guilty, and I have always lived a decent life," Kepiro said in Budapest, where he went on trial Thursday.

Kepiro said in a CNN report Friday he didn't know Jews or Serbs were targets of a raid in which 3,000 people in the village were killed. He said he saved five lives there.

Kepiro was an officer in the Hungarian military. Hungary sided with the Nazis early in World War II and it annexed the Novi Sad territory during the war, the CNN report said.

"This is a show, Sandor," Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said at the trial, suggesting Kepiro was acting weaker than he actually was.

Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, tracked down Kepiro in Budapest in 2006. He said the case could be one of the final Holocaust-era trials.

"Time does not diminish the guilt of the killers and old age should not protect those who committed such heinous crimes," Zuroff said.

A Budapest court this week acquitted Zuroff of libel in a case filed by Kepiro.

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