Sándor Képíró

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Dr. iur.
Sándor Képíró
Sandor Kepiro.jpg
Sándor Képíró in a gendarmerie uniform
Born (1914-02-18)18 February 1914
Sarkad, Austria-Hungary
Died 3 September 2011(2011-09-03) (aged 97)
Budapest, Hungary
Resting place Sarkad, Hungary[1]
46°44′44.12″N 21°23′52.31″E / 46.7455889°N 21.3978639°E / 46.7455889; 21.3978639
Nationality Hungarian
Occupation Gendarmerie officer
Criminal charge Crimes committed against civilians during the Novi Sad Raid
Criminal status Found not guilty
Awards Hungarian Bravery Award
The native form of this personal name is Képíró Sándor. This article uses the Western name order.

Sándor Képíró (18 February 1914 – 3 September 2011)[2] was a gendarmerie captain during World War II accused of war crimes committed by Hungarian forces, and found not guilty.

In September 2006, Efraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal Center made public copies of a 1944 court verdict finding Képíró and 14 other Hungarian Army and police officers of taking part in 1942 raid in Novi Sad. In 1948, the government of Hungary retried him in absentia and sentenced him to 14 years. This verdict was based upon the testimony of János Nagy, a former Hungarian soldier of Képíró's platoon. However, the testimony was given after the communist secret service tortured Nagy. Képíró claimed that he had never ever heard of him. Képíró returned to Budapest in 1996 without being identified until that point.[3]

Responding to the Wiesenthal Center accusations, Képíró said he had been a junior police officer at the time who had been involved in the round up of civilians, but denied taking an active part in the executions, which were carried out by soldiers. Képíró also said he refused orders to take part in anything illegal. "I was the only one who asked for a written command. At the time of the massacre I was reluctant. Prove that I was a war criminal." The 1944 verdict provided by the Wiesenthal Center, however, states that despite Képíró's request for written orders, he participated in the massacre even though none were given.

Hungarian military prosecutors state that the previous verdicts are no longer valid and a new investigation would have to be reopened, which might take years. On 14 September 2009, he was taken in for questioning by Hungarian police. However, because of the lack of evidence, the charges against him were later dropped.

Képíró accused Efraim Zuroff of libel and initiated criminal proceedings in a Budapest court in 2007. The case, opened in October 2010, [4][5] was dismissed on two months later based on the 1944 verdict[6] and because of Képíró's failure to appear in court.[7]

On 14 February 2011 Hungarian prosecutors charged Képíró. On 18 July 2011, he was found not guilty by a Budapest court.[8]

After the verdict László Karsai, the leading Hungarian Holocaust historian and son of a Holocaust survivor, said: "Honestly, I wish Zuroff stopped doing what he's doing. I mean: with this kind of methods he uses, with so little evidence, he tries to drag people through the mire. This can't be done to anyone, can't be done even to a former gendarmerie officer either.” Karsai accused Zuroff of being a hysterical, narcissistic Nazi-hunter, working only to earn a good living, and claimed that the Wiesenthal Center made such a publicity to the case in order to justify its own existence before the sponsors.[9][10]

Képíró died in a hospital in Budapest at the age of 97. His death was reported by his family, and his lawyer, who said he believed the trial in the summer had contributed to his client's poor health.[11] Zuroff said on his Facebook page, "our only consolation is that the trial has negatively affected Képíró's health."[12]

Until 2011, Képíró was on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals.