Accused Nazi war criminal arrested

Early this morning, Hungarian law enforcement detained accused Nazi war criminal Laszlo Csatary.  The judge in the case ordered him placed under house arrest.

Csatary was a commander for the Royal Hungarian police force in Kassa, in modern-day Slovakia, where he served as commander of the Jewish ghetto during the Second World War.  While in this capacity he was allegedly responsible for the deportation of 15,000 Jews to concentration camps. Csatary is also accused of assaulting prisoners.

In 1948, Csatary was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death in Czechoslovakia, but fled to Canada where he obtained citizenship. He remained there until 1997 when he escaped back to Hungary after his Canadian citizenship was revoked for providing false information to immigration authorities and deportation hearings were underway.

Csatary was identified and located by Hungarian authorities almost a year ago using information provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, but further investigation was required to make the arrest possible.  Csatary had been living in Budapest under his real name for 15 year.

The attention his identification drew forced Csatary to move apartments in the past year, according to his attorney, but authorities worried this might be an effort to evade capture.  During questioning, Csatary, who is now 97 years old, claimed innocence and insisted that he had only been carrying out orders.

In 2011, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported that there are over 800 investigations underway and 21 new indictments filed against suspected Nazi war criminals in 2010.  Csatary was one of the top-ten most wanted.  Last year, Hungary arrested the top name on the most-wanted list, Sandor Kapiro, for his role in a massacre in Serbia during the War, but later acquitted him of all charges shortly before his death in September.  

If he is indicted, Csatary's trial would take place in Hungary and could involve testimony from survivors, if they can be located.



Hamas runs summer camps for kids in Gaza

Now that the United Nations has run out of funding for children's summer camps in Gaza, Palestinian kids in the Strip have one alternative for entertainment during the summer months -- Hamas camp.

The U.N.'s Relief and Works agency had provided summer camps each year for over 250,000 children in Gaza, but at an annual cost of $12 million dollars, the agency said that there simply wasn't enough funding for summer games when people in Gaza still need food.

Gaza's governing body Hamas, on the other hand, runs several summer camps throughout the territory, which saw an enrollment of about 70,000 boys and 50,000 girls this year. Activities at Hamas camps include soccer, shooting and horseback riding for boys and baking and sewing for girls (According to one Hamas camp counselor, "girls don't like sports"). Both genders are taught and quizzed in Islamic doctrine.

Much more controversial are reports of political indoctrination and paramilitary training in the Hamas camp. In what appears to be a recruiting effort, a Hamas camp for boys 14 and older has campers scaling chain link fences, crossing water with their arms above their heads, and racing across monkey bars (check out the slideshow of these drills on Mother Jones).

A Hamas camp counselor told the AP, ‘‘Our camps are about education and play, but we can't divorce children from their surroundings.'' (The experience makes for an interesting comparison with the Israeli counterterrorism camp in Gush Etzion in which visitors can shoot virtual terrorists.)

Israeli online newspaper Ynet News reported that this year's theme at one of the Hamas summer camps is "the suffering of Palestinian prisoners." According to the article, children are led on tours of mock Israeli interrogation cells and torture chambers, and are taught to walk on rusty nails.