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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 11:55 GMT
WWII Nazi murder suspect charged
German troops in 1939
Nazi forces recruited local auxiliaries across Europe
German prosecutors have charged a former Nazi commander with the murder of 164 Slovak civilians during the last months of World War II.

Slovakian-born Ladislav Niznansky, 86, is alleged to have headed the Slovak section of a Nazi unit which hunted down resistance fighters and Jews.

In one instance, in January 1945, prosecutors say the unit rounded up nearly 150 villagers, including women and children, and shot them dead.

Mr Niznansky denies the charges.

Mr Niznansky fled to West Germany following the war and lived unnoticed for years in Munich where he used to work for Radio Free Europe.

He was arrested at his home in January and is being held in a prison hospital.

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 allegedly gave the order before the shooting began that no-one be allowed to escape, and personally killed 20 people, prosecutors said.

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

He is accused of organising an execution squad and ordering them to shoot the Jews, who were hiding in underground bunkers.

In absentia conviction

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

Prosecutors are reported to have started investigating Mr Niznansky 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.

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Timeline: Czechoslovakia
17 Mar 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Slovakia
13 Mar 02  |  Country profiles


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