Suspected Nazi Sues Australia for Deport Try

Hungarian Karoly Zentai Won Extradition Case

By JTA

Published October 28, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Alleged Nazi war criminal Karoly “Charles” Zentai has paved the way for a damages suit against the Australian government for wrongful imprisonment during its unsuccessful extradition case against him.

Zentai, a 91-year-old pensioner living in Perth, was imprisoned in Western Australia for almost two months in 2009.

He filed a writ last week for unspecified damages inflicted while he was in prison against the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, the Federal Attorney-General and the chief executive of the WA Department of Corrective Services.

Ernie Steiner, Zentai’s son, said that to keep the option of a lawsuit open, the writ had to be filed in the Supreme Court within three years of his father’s imprisonment.

Zentai was accused of committing a “war crime” when he allegedly killed an 18-year-old Jew in Hungary in 1944. He has vehemently denied the charges from the moment he was first arrested by the Australian Federal Police in 2005 after they were tipped off by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Zentai finally won the long-running legal case earlier this year when the High Court of Australia dismissed an appeal by the federal government. The judges in Canberra upheld an earlier ruling by the Federal Court, saying he could not be surrendered for an offense that did not exist under Hungarian law in 1944.

“My father was vilified, wrongfully arrested and imprisoned, was prevented from visiting his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and suffered enormous financial loss for nothing,” Steiner said.

But the Wiesenthal Center’s Dr. Efraim Zuroff said the fact Zentai was not extradited did not prove his innocence. “That issue has never been determined in a court of law,” he said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.