BUDAPEST (Aug. 10)
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, concerned that the Israeli Supreme Court may decide not to retry John Demjanjuk for other war crimes, has asked the Hungarian government to request Demjanjuk’s extradition to Hungary.
The request is predicated on the fact that “many Hungarian Jews were killed in Flossenburg,” one of the concentration camps in which Demjanjuk is alleged to have served, said Efraim Zuroff, head of the center’s Israel office.
The request was confirmed Sunday in the Hungarian press by Janos Gorog, the Hungarian ambassador to Israel. He received another such petition from former deportees of Flossenburg and the Association of Hungarian Jews, headquartered in Jerusalem.
The Hungarian Foreign Ministry said it is now studying the situation and would make its decision public soon.
Jews from Hungary who were placed in slave labor battalions were marched through several countries to Germany, where they were imprisoned in Flossenburg. Many of them perished there.
Zuroff, in a telephone interview from Israel, said the request is part of an approach that was made by the Wiesenthal Center to “the ambassadors of all the countries whose citizens and/or residents were murdered in Sobibor.”
The Israeli Supreme Court was to hear arguments Wednesday about whether Demjanjuk should be tried for crimes committed in Sobibor, a death camp in Poland, and other camps such as Flossenburg.
The court acquitted Demjanjuk on July 29 of crimes committed at the Treblinka death camp as the brutal gas chamber operator known as “Ivan the Terrible.”
(Contributing to this report was JTA staff writer Susan Birnbaum in New York.)