Slovak war criminal behind bars

GERMAN police have detained a German citizen of Slovak origin, Ladislav Nižnanský, a war criminal who is allegedly responsible for ordering the killing of 146 Slovak civilians during world war two, news wire TASR reported.

Nižnanský, 86, was arrested by the Munich police on January 16 and has been placed in pre-trial custody.

As a chief of Hlinka's Guard and Edelweiss, two special anti-partisan units, Nižňanský was actively involved in a massacre known in Slovakia as Bloody Sunday.

German SS units are said to have slaughtered nearly 150 people, including 70 women and 51 children, and burnt down houses in the central Slovak villages of Ostrý Grúň and Kľak on January 21, 1945.

"I don't wish anything else but that he be punished as he fairly deserves, though no one can bring the murdered back to life. His life is stained with the blood of innocent people," president of the Slovak Anti-Fascist Fighters' Union Koloman Vido said.

Nižňanský is also held responsible for ordering the execution of 18 civilians of Jewish origin in February 1945.

In 1948 Nižňanský emigrated to Austria, and later to Germany, where he worked for Radio Free Europe for almost 30 years. Though the communist media of the former Czechoslovakia repeatedly wrote about his controversial Nazi past, representatives of the radio dismissed these allegations as propaganda.

Nižňanský was granted German citizenship in 1996 and might be sentenced to life under German law if convicted.

In 1962, a district court in the central Slovak city of Banská Bystrica issued Nižňanský a death sentence en absentia. An international warrant for his arrest was issued in 2001 in cooperation with Slovak authorities.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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