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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 16:11 GMT
Nazi massacres suspect arrested
German troops in 1939
Nazi forces spread across Europe during World War II
A former Nazi commander suspected of being involved in 1945 massacres in Slovakia has been arrested in Germany.

Slovakian-born Ladislav Niznansky, 86, is thought to have commanded a German unit fighting partisans in former Czechoslovakia, prosecutors said.

His unit is suspected of killing 146 people, including 70 women and 51 children, in the towns of Ostry Grun and Klak in January 1945.

He is also accused of ordering the execution of 18 Jews in Ksinna.

He was convicted over the killings in his absence in the former Czechoslovakia in 1962.

Mr Niznansky's unit is also said to have been responsible for capturing a group of US and British officers on a mission in Slovakia in 1944, although he is not being investigated for this incident.

The allied soldiers, as well as Associated Press war correspondent Joseph Morton who was with them, were executed at a concentration camp in Austria.

'Interpreter'

Prosecutors are reported to have started investigating Mr Niznanksy in 2001 after a request from the Slovak justice authorities.

The decision to move against him follows the reviewing of archives and court documents, and the questioning of witnesses.

Mr Niznanksy is said to have fled to Austria after the war and then moved to Munich.

He was granted German nationality in 1966 and worked for several decades at Radio Free Europe, a US-backed station in Munich that broadcast to the East Bloc during the Cold War.

Jozef Spetko, who worked with Mr Niznanksy, said the 1962 conviction was "no secret" around Radio Free Europe.

"He said he was innocent. He claimed he had only been an interpreter," he told the Associated Press.




SEE ALSO:
Village film relives Nazi horror
22 Oct 03  |  South West Wales
US arrests alleged Nazi guard
03 Jul 03  |  Americas
Timeline: Czechoslovakia
17 Mar 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Slovakia
13 Mar 02  |  Country profiles



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